The NSW Government will give in principle support for greyhound racing to have one final chance in NSW, subject to industry agreeing to the strictest regulations that exist anywhere in the country to clamp down on animal cruelty.
Premier Mike Baird and Deputy Premier Troy Grant today announced former Premier Morris Iemma will chair a Greyhound Industry Reform Panel that will determine the new regime and ensure NSW Greyhound Racing is the cleanest in the country, including:
- Mandatory life bans as well as increased jail terms for live baiting;
- Registering all greyhounds for their entire lives;
- An independent regulator with strong new powers to ensure transparency and accountability; and
- Substantially increased resources for enforcement and prosecution as well as animal welfare.
The RSPCA, industry and government representatives have been invited to join the five person Panel. The greyhound industry’s own commitments to having total lifecycle management, controlled breeding, zero tolerance for animal cruelty and eliminating avoidable injury will be the starting point for the Panel’s work.
Mr Baird said the government had listened to community concerns about the racing ban and the way it was implemented.
“We firmly believed the government’s decisive response to the animal cruelty outlined in Justice McHugh’s report was the right one - but we misjudged the community’s response to that report,” Mr Baird said.
“It’s clear the community agrees that the cruelty must end, but we underestimated the community’s desire to give the greyhound industry one last chance to reform and conform to the highest standards of animal welfare.
“The industry can’t return to the status quo – the barbaric practices of live baiting, cruel wastage and high rates of injury must end.”
Mr Grant said the government has listened to the strong views of regional communities involved in greyhound racing.
“Regional communities value the greyhound industry and we’ve heard loud and clear that they believe it deserves another chance.”
Subject to the Panel’s recommendations, legislation would be introduced early in 2017 to repeal the ban and deliver the new regime under which racing would operate.