NFP Reacts to NSW Greyhound Industry Funding Injection
29 March 2017 at 1:26 pm
The animal protection lobby has reacted strongly to news that the New South Wales government will inject $41 million into the greyhound racing industry as part of the decision to repeal its original ban on the industry.
The government, under new premier Gladys Berejiklian, announced that the NSW greyhound racing industry would receive $41 million in funding over the next five years to implement the recommendations put forward by the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel.
The panel, led by former premier Morris Iemma, made 122 recommendations which would see sweeping changes for the greyhound racing industry.
The inquiry followed the fall out from former premier Mike Baird’s decision in July 2016 to be the first state to shut down the greyhound racing industry from 1 July 2017 and his back flip four months later.
Legislation to repeal the greyhound racing ban was introduced into the NSW Parliament on Tuesday.
NSW Minister for Racing Paul Toole said the government would adopt all but one of the 122 recommendations by the review panel.
“The government is absolutely committed to a sustainable future for the greyhound industry and these reforms will help ensure confidence and integrity is restored,” Toole said.
The government said it would also oversee the establishment of an Independent Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission in addition to implementing the new industry structure.
Other key recommendations included an enforceable code of practice for greyhound welfare, CCTV cameras at all public and certain private training tracks, whole of life registration and tracking of greyhounds, tougher penalties for animal welfare issues, an accreditation scheme for industry participants and stricter controls on euthanasia.
“$11 million will go towards the establishment of the integrity commission and $30 million to improve animal welfare standards that lower the risk of injury,” Toole said.
He said the reforms would focus on stronger penalties and lifetime bans for those who did the wrong thing, while developing a sustainable and ethical industry.
“The reforms give the greyhound industry very clear direction about the standards expected from now on,” Toole said.
A statutory review of the new legislation will take place after three years.
However senior campaign manager for World Animal Protection Ben Pearson said: “The people of NSW shouldn’t have to fork out millions to clean up the cruelty the greyhound industry has created.
“The greyhound industry which has had the opportunity to reform in the past and failed miserably to do so.
“If the only way the industry can improve animal welfare standards for the dogs is through multimillion dollar public funding then this is just another reason why the government’s ban should be re-introduced.
“We mustn’t forget the special commission of inquiry report highlighted brutal animal welfare practices including high rates of injury, widespread live baiting and mass killing of healthy dogs.”