Greyhound racing ban to hit Northern Rivers

5 September 2016
Credit: Rainer Hungershausen/ Flickr (CC License)
Credit: Rainer Hungershausen/ Flickr (CC License)

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird’s decision to ban greyhound racing from July 2017 will have detrimental consequences to the Northern Rivers. 

The decision to end greyhound racing was made by the premier and a new law was introduced into parliament that bans the greyhound racing  in NSW from July 1. 

The NSW ban had its origins in a report from a special commission which found evidence of widespread animal cruelty and live baiting.

Graham Dodds of Lismore was brought up with greyhound racing in the '60s and was involved until 2006 when his father died.

Dodds is annoyed about the ban as it was such a major part of his life for so long. 

"To a lot of people it's their way of life to support their families a lot of trainers make it their only income', he said. 

Across NSW, almost 1500 people were registered as trainers in 2015, and almost 6000 as racing greyhound owners. 

The statewide prize pool last year topped $23 million, with $1.3 million of that filtering through the 65 meetings at the Lismore racetrack, according to data from Greyhounds Australasia and the Greyhound Breeders, Trainers and Owners Assocation.

But the effect on this ban is more than just the people that race greyhounds. 

Maddie Dransfield’s mother owns Richmond Valley Pet Supplies in Casino, and is concerned about the loss of sales and the possiblity they might go out of business.

“If the ban goes ahead we will lose 50 percent of sales and are now selling our business and I’m effectively put out of a job,” Dransfield said.

Trainers and breeders across NSW have also started their own campaigns to overturn the ban and highlight what they believe are the facts of their industry. This campaign has included print media and online media.

Australian Racing Greyhound say one of those facts is that the industry has a zero tolerance for crulety, with life bans for live baiting. 

This is contrary to the government's report that found that piglets, possums and rabbits were used in live baiting. 

The ban was put into place to stop the widespread and systematic abuse of these animals, however Dodds feels that there are double standards at play.

“Greyhound trainers have started to dump greyhounds at the RSPCA because they can’t put the dogs down because they can’t earn their keep," said Dodds.

"If a racing greyhound can’t win races and pay for itself, you can’t afford to feed it especially when you might have 50 or more dogs to feed. So you put them down," he said.

"What does the RSPCA do when they can’t find dogs or cats a home?"

"They put them down because they can’t afford to feed them. So they can do it when they don’t own the animals, but the person that owns there greyhounds can’t,” he said.

The RSPCA welcomes the ban on greyhound racing in NSW and has said there are extensive animal welfare problems inherent in the Australian greyhound racing industry.