NSW and ACT government to ban greyhound racing

The NSW government has become the first Australian state to announce a ban on greyhound racing following an inquiry which found overwhelming evidence of animal cruelty.

This shocking news was followed later in the day by a similar announcement from ACT, Australia’s capital state – for similar reasonings.

On Thursday morning, NSW Premier Mike Baird said the “widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals” would not be tolerated and that the government was left with “no acceptable course of action except to close this industry down.”

According to Baird, the inquiry found evidence of mass killings of greyhounds, live baiting and mistreatment of greyhounds, with little or no capability of the industry to reform over the short or medium term.

Last year’ ABC’s Four Corners program exposed widespread and extreme animal cruelty and cheating through the use of live baiting to entice and train greyhounds, which led to the special commission inquiry.

Baird said the NSW government would work with the industry throughout the process of the shutdown.

Greyhound Racing NSW said it was devastated by the decision, and emphasized its work over the last year to improve the industry.

“GRNSW had taken decisive action as it strived to recover community trust and believed that its reforms and strategic direction could have transformed the sport into a stronger, sustainable one in which animal welfare and integrity were fundamental to a vibrant future. The NSW Government, after receiving the report of the special commission of inquiry, has come to a different conclusion, one that will rock industry participants and associated communities around our state, as well as the hardworking GRNSW team and its partners who have been working tirelessly to improve the industry.”

Hours after the announcement from Baird, ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr announced the ACT will follow the lead of NSW’s ban on greyhound racing.

“There is no future for this industry in the ACT,” Mr Barr wrote on Facebook from New Zealand this afternoon.

“It is untenable for the ACT Government to continue allowing, and financially supporting the practice of greyhound racing.”

Barr said he will consider the findings of the NSW report before announcing a process to end the practice of greyhound racing in ACT. While it is not clear when the sport will be banned, it is likely to follow the NSW deadline of July 2017.