Mike Baird to announce reversal of greyhound ban

NSW Premier Mike Baird is expected to reverse his decision to ban greyhound racing in the state following increasing internal pressure and a public backlash, local media reports.

The Premier had previously continually insisted the ban would come into effect as planned in July 2017.

But after a dramatic slump in opinion polls, an upcoming by-election in the regional seat of Orange and an internal revolt from some Nationals MPs, he has reversed his decision, reports ABC.

Instead, it is expected the cabinet will consider a range of options that include tough penalties on breaches of animal welfare, more funding to RSPCA and other animal welfare groups, and increased funding for re-homing capabilities in NSW.

Other changes, as proposed by the greyhound industry include a lowered cap on breeding, reducing the number of tracks, reducing the number of race events, and other measures to help ensure the animal’s welfare.

Quoted by Sydney Morning Herald, chief executive of the NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers’ Association, Brenton Scott, said the industry had “always believed that the issues in the industry could be fixed in an alternative way and have communicated this clearly since the proposed ban was announced.”

Baird’s reversal however, has earned the ire of animal welfare groups, who continues to support the ban.

“It was so good to see a political party do something because it was the right position not just because it was politically advantageous,” HSI Australia director Verna Simpson told Fairfax Media.

“To turn his back on it now would show him to be the man he is, not the man we thought he was”.