The topic of greyhound racing was suggested by the RSPCA, who agreed to share this article on their social media channels if we wrote a guide-to on this issue. Polity did not receive any form of payment, nor did the RSPCA have any editorial input in the writing of this article.
Greyhound racing is a sport in which greyhound dogs are bred & raced around a track for betting. Australia is 1 of 8 countries in the world where the greyhound racing industry is significant. In 2015, there were over 300,000 dogs, 40,000 races & around $4 billion gambled on results yearly.
In 2015, an independent inquiry found that between 48,000 & 68,000 greyhounds were killed in NSW in the past 12 years as they were not considered suitable (competitive) for racing. Moreover, it was found that 10% – 20% of all trainers in NSW engaged in live-baiting. Live baiting is the practice of attaching live animals to a lure for greyhounds to chase & maim.
These revelations led to widespread government inquiries, suspensions, & bans, & was widely touted to be illustrative of the ineffectiveness of self-regulatory frameworks. Following, it was proposed that the sport of greyhound racing would be banned in NSW from 2017.
The proposed NSW ban was reversed on October 11 2016, despite an independent survey commission by the RSPCA which found that 64% of people supported the ban. After this decision, both the NSW & QLD governments chose to give $40 & $120 million in funding respectively over a 5 year period to reform the greyhound industry. These reforms will include:
The establishment of an independent commission separate to the industry's commercial arm to oversee the sport
A requirement for the ‘whole of life management’ for each dog,
A bond for each dog, the amount for which is yet to be decided.
Fewer tracks & races
Life bans & increased jail terms for live baiting
On a contrasting note, greyhound racing is set to be banned next year in the ACT after the government won re-election, with the ban consisting as a part of their policy platform. This policy was enacted after an independent report highlighted concerns over animal welfare — but found no direct evidence of live baiting.
These vastly different stances taken by Australia's states has raised questions regarding what the best route is for the regulation of the greyhound industry.
IS the banning of greyhound
racing necessary to ensure
Josh Harrison, opinion in ABC, 'Greyhound racing: Queensland Government criticised for spending millions on new infrastructure'
Gladys Berejiklian, opinion in SMH, 'The $41 million bill for Mike Baird's greyhound backdown'
Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW, 'Report of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW, parts 1.84 & 25.9, & footnotes 279 & 25.10'; The Conversation, 'What other industries can learn from the failures of greyhound racing'
The Daily Telegraph, 'Greyhound racing: Dog racing ban could see up to 10,000 NSW jobs in jeopardy'
The Conversation, 'Greyhound ban shows need for joined-up thinking across all animal industries'
Australian Racing Greyhound, ''CANBERRA GREYHOUND CLUB LIVID WITH GOVERNMENT’S BAN ANNOUNCEMENT'; news.com.au, 'Baird hits back at greyhound ban critics'
Kel Watt, quoted in The Australian, 'Greyhound racing to be banned in Canberra despite NSW backflip, no evidence of live baiting'; NOTE: the ACT Govt won the last election on a widely publicised platform that included the promise that greyhound racing would be banned.
Zed Seselja, quoted in The Australian, 'ACT to ban greyhound racing by end of June 2018'