The state MP for Clarence, Mr Chris Gulaptis, has provided the following defence of greyhound racing, 'the sport of the battler'.
The greyhound racing industry is much maligned and misunderstood. It has dirty washing like every other industry and it’s this that has captured the headlines and cast a dark shadow over what is a sport for the common punter.
Not every cop is a Roger Rogerson and not every politician is an Eddy Obeid. And similarly not every greyhound owner or trainer is a live baiter or cruelly disposes of their dogs whether they are past champions or just plain dish lickers.
The owners and trainers that I know love their dogs with a passion. They treat them as one of the family and the dogs respond accordingly. They make wonderful pets. They are gentle and affectionate and love nothing more than lazing on a lounge and nuzzling a friend.
The race meetings are family outings with mum and dad, the kids and sometimes grandma and grandpa all out socialising with their friends. They hold fruit and vegie raffles, swap a few lines, have a drink and maybe a wager. There’s always the tantalising smell of onions frying on the BBQ and there’s a sausage sandwich to feed the hungry.
Owners spend a small fortune on feed, vet fees, a trainer if they can afford one and they travel for miles to compete for more than often a paltry purse. But that’s not their focus. They know their dogs love to race, are bred to race and they crave bragging rights more so than monetary reward.
This is not the sport of Kings but the sport of the battler. The sport of regional Australia. It’s a part of our heritage, it brings people together and it’s an integral part of the social fabric of the country towns we love.
In NSW greyhound racing certainly got a shakeup and the industry has responded very positively. The NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commission has developed a Code of Practice that relates to breeding, rearing and education and the keeping of greyhounds in training.
The Code sets out standards for the keeping, treatment, handling and care of greyhounds. It also includes standards for the facilities, equipment and conditions at premises where greyhounds are kept, trialled, trained or raced. In addition, the Code sets out standards for the procedures and practices to be adopted for keeping, trialling, training and racing greyhounds.
A whole-of-life monitoring and tracking program has been implemented so greyhounds can be tracked from the day they’re born. This is a very transparent program to dispel any myths about cruel mass euthanasia of greyhounds.
Greyhound Welfare includes a rehoming program which outlines the steps owners should take when rehoming a greyhound. And this is a requirement of the NSW Greyhound Racing Integrity Commission.
The code will, without doubt, maintain the highest standards of welfare and care in Australia and help to change the denigrated image that has unfairly plagued the industry.
Greyhound Racing in NSW definitely has a future and it deserves a future if we are to maintain the character and flavour of regional NSW.