The same rationale behind the NSW government’s plan to end the greyhound racing industry could be applied to other animal-related sectors – and that’s “absolutely” worrying for farmers, Roderick Wyllie says.
The former dairyman, now a Boer goat farmer and stock and station agent, said not only would banning the industry lead to a “colossal slaughter” of dogs, it also sets a dangerous precedent for meat, egg and dairy producers.
He said the ban was a ludicrous plan, “all us to do with farming and animals think it’s terrible” and he hadn’t spoken to anyone who disagreed.
Shooters Fishers and Farmers Party MLC Robert Borsak asked a question without notice in the Upper House: How do the “social licence” and “animal wastage” arguments used by the government to ban greyhound racing affect animal-related primary industries?
Both terms have been used as justification for banning greyhound racing – social licence being the community’s acceptance or approval, and animal wastage referring to the dogs put down due to unsuitability for racing.
Mr Wyllie said he felt the push for a ban had come mostly from city quarters.
“I have a horrible suspicion that if they ban greyhounds, what’s next?
“I just think it’s a greenie thing or a city thing – people in the city are so far removed from the country and country occupations, they have no idea what’s going on.
“They see one television program – it was the same as live export.
“All us to do with farming and animals think it’s terrible … surely common sense will prevail and a party like the National Party can put enough pressure on them to look after country pursuits and the production of the milk, meat, eggs - it’s essential.”
Mr Wyllie said farmers were the best people to trust with the welfare of animals, as they made their living from them, but any bad eggs could be policed rather than banning the entire industry.
“If you're making your living looking after livestock, if they’re ill or not producing you’re not making any money,” he said.
“No matter which level of farming - chickens, cows or whatever, you will always find some idiot who mistreats animals, but you don’t ban the whole industry, you police it.”
Mr Borsak has demanded The Nationals outline their protections for farmers from attacks on their livelihoods.
"Ever since the words 'social licence' and 'animal wastage' were first issued from the mouth of the Premier and the leader of The Nationals, it's been my fear that farmers will be next in the sights for campaigns against their industries," he said.
“Animal Justice MP Mark Pearson [has] fired the first shot against chicken farmers using the loaded term 'animal wastage' - and the ammunition for it came directly from The Nationals' argument against greyhound racing.”