Greyhound Racing Marred by Talks of Bans
There was plenty of greyhound racing held throughout 2016, and more than enough news actually related to racing to go around. For example, the Summer Cup run at Sydney’s Wentworth Park in December saw Victorian hopeful Ring the Bell finish in a dead heat with NSW local Melissa’s Pride: the first time judges haven’t been able to separate a winner from the first two over the line in 52 years.
But whatever big bets were won on outsiders, whatever records were broken, and whichever owners and trainers had the most successful season, there is only one issue dominating any round up of 2016 greyhound races: the banning furore. Here’s how it played out:
Banning Leads to Outcry
In June, NSW premier Mike Baird announced that the sport would be banned outright in NSW from July 1, 2017, citing concerns about animal cruelty. The ACT announced an identical ban shortly thereafter. A massive backlash followed, from punters and industry workers alike.
A rally in Sydney gathered thousands of supporters, and the greyhound racing fraternity launched legal challenges. Although a proposed ban was passed in the lower house of the NSW Legislative Assembly in August, Baird announced in August that the ban would be reversed, subject to the greyhound racing industry complying with severe conditions.
Where Reforms are Needed
The areas in which the greyhound racing industry needs the most reform all relate to the animal welfare. Using live bait during dog training is a practice that appals both racing punters and animal welfare bodies. Properly air-conditioned kennels and tracks are a must, in the harsh summer heat. Issues like mass greyhound killings, and the welfare of animals after they are injured or grow too old to race, need to be addressed.
With states like Tasmania already following the NSW lead and investigating greyhound racing with an eye to making the industry more humane, it is hoped that all Australia’s states and territories will follow suit. The sport provides entertainment to millions of punters in New Zealand and across the globe, and a livelihood to thousands, so it is important that we learn how to preserve it, while stamping out animal cruelty at the same time.
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