Dog racing’s final chance to clean up its act

AS NSW Premier Mike Baird conceded the government got it wrong when it announced plans in July to outlaw the sport by mid-next year, local industry insiders rejoiced at the news this week. 

The greyhound industry has been given “one final chance” to clean up its act. 

Even those in the sport have conceded it needed to reform in the wake of an inquiry revealing between 480,000 and 68,000 greyhounds – or at least half of all the greyhound bred to race – were killed in the last 12 years because they were deemed uncompetitive.

The government is now set to impose “the strictest regulations that exist anywhere in the country”.

Local trainers, breeders and owners have welcomed the news and should accept that this is the final straw. 

The sport has been plagued by controversy since the ABC aired an explosive investigation into the sport in February last year. 

We can’t deny the sport – like many others – had a problem and needed to address it. 

The greyhound industry should take this as a warning to stick to incoming regulations if the sport wants a future. 

They must adhere to the rules and play fair. The backflip divided the country, with animal welfare groups condemning the decision to allow a cruel sport to continue, while those whose lives revolve around greyhounds were cheering. 

It’s a double-edged sword to go back on public plans. 

But whichever side of the fence you sit, one thing is clear – this is the greyhound industry’s chance to prove itself, to prove that it has learned from its dark past. 

A panel tasked with reforming the industry will consider regulations like mandatory life bans and increased jail-terms for live baiting, registering all dogs for their entire lives, an independent regulator and increased resources for enforcement and persecution.

Other conditions include legislating a $1500 bond for every dog bred, with a breeding cap of 2000 dogs a year.

There are also plans to reduce the number of tracks, reduce the number of race events and introduce a whole-of-life management plan. 

The panel will report back to the government before the end of the year. 

The industry has fought so hard to keep the sport alive, so now they must work with the government to ensure it does the right thing in return.