GREYHOUNDS: The start of race four at Thabeban Park.
Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail
GREYHOUNDS: The start of race four at Thabeban Park. Photo: Mike Knott / NewsMail Mike Knott BUN130216GREYHOUNDS6

'It's wrong' Bundaberg greyhound trainers worried by NSW ban

UPDATE: Queensland Minister for Racing, Grace Grace, has said greyhound racing will continue here "with continued vigiliance on animal welfare and integrity".

"Queensland was the first State to act in response to greyhound live baiting cases last year," the Minister said.

"We acted immediately to stop the sickening abuse that was exposed, and put the greyhound industry on notice that it had to clean up its act.

"Clearly, the greyhound industry is aware that it's on its last chance.

"That's why we've established a new Queensland Racing Integrity Commission to oversee animal welfare across all three codes of racing.

"This is the best-resourced racing integrity body in the country and it will not hesitate to punish anyone involved in animal cruelty.

"The MacSporran Commission of Inquiry did not recommend a total ban on greyhound racing.

"Instead, it recommended a stronger integrity regime to ensure animal welfare is front and centre across all three racing codes.

"We're in the process of implementing all of MacSporran's recommendations, including a consistent program of monitoring dogs from birth to maturity to ensure that no animal will be able to disappear off the map.

"I want to warn any racing industry participants that do the wrong thing that you will be caught, and you will be dealt with.

"We'll continue to monitor the welfare of all racing animals, and take any appropriate action as required." 


THE NSW Government's move to ban greyhound racing, announced today, has Bundaberg trainers worried that Queensland could be next.

Premier Mike Baird issued an official statement stating, "In response to widespread illegal and unconscionable activity, including the slaughtering of tens of thousands of dogs, I can today announce that NSW is putting an end to greyhound racing."

While animal welfare activists are rejoicing across Australia after cruelty in the industry was exposed last year, trainers say they are "under more scrutiny than ever" with an Integrity Commission brought in to clean up the sport, and say they are devastated by the potential consequences.

Bundaberg trainer Paul Burgess said the ban was bad news for the industry across Australia.

"I really think it's wrong what they've done," Mr Burgess said.

"If one state goes, it will ruin every state eventually.

"It will just be a follow on from what happened with...all the rule changes after (cruelty cases last year) - one state got on board, then another, then another."

Mr Burgess, who has had greyhounds for nearly 40 years, says the ban would have a flow on effect to everyone who plays a role in the greyhound industry.

"It won't just affect trainers it will be all kinds of people involved," he said.

"We spend $300 a week feeding our dogs - that's the producers, the butchers who sell the meat, the vets; they're all going to miss out in the end."

"Where do we buy or leads, kennels, vitamin supplements, fencing and posts?" an upset Ron Brook asked.

"We all have motor vehicles that cater for our animals. Some have custom built dog trailers.

"This list just keeps going on and on.

"There are all these little associated industries I don't think the NSW government is thinking about.

"Then there are all the people employed at tracks in NSW.

"There would be 8, 10, 12 casual staff for every greyhound meeting everywhere in Australia, every day of the week."

Mr Brook has raced dogs for 45 years. He asked if it could also be a "death knell" for horse racing as well.

"I don't' know how they can do it," Mr Brook said.

"What a lot of people forget is - I know there was all the scandal last year, but the racing industry itself through the gambling dollar gives money to hospitals, roads and a lot of things people don't realise.

"It wasn't many years ago the racing industry was the fourth biggest employer in the state."

He said 80% of his retired dogs were rehomed, as part of a growing greyhound adoption network.

"There are thousands of greyhounds in NSW right now - what will happen to them?

"Is the government going to dig the biggest hole in the world to bury all the dogs that would be euthanised?"

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