April 11th marks the first anniversary of the law that quashed the ban on greyhound racing in New South Wales. A day that bitterly disappointed us. It is also World Pet Day and what a bitter irony that is.
In the history of back flips this was a doozy. Former NSW Premier Mike Baird certainly knew how to raise our hopes only to crush them. And by ‘us’ I mean the animal loving community. Let’s face it, that’s most of Australia. People who confuse pets with bets are by far the minority.
A vocal, nasty and bullying minority and not the most law abiding. When the government announced the ban death threats ensued. The industry and their mates in shock jock radio, bullied the former Premier into that backflip.
So the backflip was done.
And then came the promises to clean up the industry.
But the NSW Government was kidding themselves then, and they are kidding themselves now if they think the animal welfare problems in the greyhound racing industry can be regulated away.
Greyhound racing is inherently cruel and profit will always override the welfare of the dogs involved.
This Monday the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission launched its roadshow to tour the greyhound racing industry and sell them the reforms for their ill-deserved second chance. They are meeting resistance.
Nothing has changed. Greens MLC Mehreen Faruqi told the crowd that gathered outside NSW Parliament to lament the anniversary, that more than 700 animals have been killed since the backflip. Three a day. And that is the ones we know about. The re-homing and rescue organisations told us that injuries and drugging remains commonplace.
The pressure placed on the rescue groups to find homes for the discarded dogs is intense. Thank god for them, but why should they provide this service for an industry they despise? Today the stories they told of the suffering experienced by the greyhounds they now care for was very moving – and motivating.
Humane Society International has always campaigned against this industry and we always will. As I told the crowd outside parliament, when cruelty abounds we will not make it easy for government. We will not let it be swept under the carpet.
The scandals from greyhound racing will inevitably continue. As those scandals mount and repeat themselves, this government and the next will come to regret that backflip. They will know that the first decision Premier Baird made was the right one and should have been the one that stuck.
We look forward to a future Premier that is brave enough to make that decision again.