Parliament in New South Wales will be voting on legislation for the ban on greyhound racing soon – it is more important now than ever to show politicians that you support the ban and that greyhound racing supporters are just a noisy minority of people. Please help the greyhounds by contacting MPs in NSW!
We have published an email template that to send to MPs who oppose the ban and a list of email addresses for them in another blog.
Here is an email template that you can copy and paste to send to MPs and other politicians who support the ban if you don’t live in NSW. Please customise it as you see fit. If you do live in NSW, please call your MP and set up a meeting with them to talk about the greyhound racing ban – they may not be able to meet you before voting in Parliament but you can reaffirm your support for the ban on the phone and then meet them in person later on.
Dear (MP’s name),
I don’t live in your constituency but I would like to congratulate you for continuing to stand up for greyhounds in spite of the unfounded claims being thrown around by greyhound racing participants and unfortunately circulated in some news publications.
For all that greyhound racing industry supporters claim to know how many ‘holes’ the Inquiry report has in them, they don’t seem to have actually read the report themselves but are relying on sensationalist news articles to inform themselves.
As someone who has been following the greyhound inquiry keenly, I just wanted to make sure you have the following responses in hand so you can counter fiction with fact and to show you that the report is actually thorough, fair and reliable.
Claim 1: The Royal Commission did not allow evidence from people involved in NSW greyhound industry to be heard.
Response: The commission heard evidence from 43 witnesses. 26 had public hearings and their names are available here (Appendix I: http://www.greyhoundracinginquiry.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/Report-SCI-Greyhound-Racing-Industry-NSW-Volume-4b.pdf). There are many greyhound racing people on the list, including GRNSW staff (past and present), former industry vets and greyhound trainers. Greyhound racing participants were also invited to contact Commission staff if they had information on greyhound welfare or live baiting when Mr McHugh gave his opening address (p.61 in the document linked above). He even went as far as to give them a phone number to call if they wished to make contact. If they chose not to do so while the Inquiry was in progress, that is not something the Commission can be blamed for.
Claim 2: The Commission only asked for submissions from animal rights groups.
Response: The Commission made several open call for submissions on various matters while it was in session – by open, I mean that anyone including greyhound racing participants could have made a submission. Using the example of the call for submissions on the social impacts of the industry, the report stated that it received 498 submissions and 472 of these said that the social impact of greyhound racing is negative. It would seem that greyhound racing participants simply failed to take action while the inquiry was ongoing despite the commission welcoming input from all and are now trying to cover up the fact that only 26 groups or individuals bothered to write in. (See p.171: http://www.greyhoundracinginquiry.justice.nsw.gov.au/Documents/Report-SCI-Greyhound-Racing-Industry-NSW-Volume-3.pdf)
Claim 3: Read the evidence in the news and have a good rethink about whether the report is damning.
Response: A lot of the so-called evidence in the news is no more than the copying and pasting of Daily Telegraph opinion pieces – as such, the term ‘evidence’ is clearly used very loosely.
Rebecca Wilson’s article is completely unreliable as she states that evidence came from only one vet – a blatantly false statement, as I can name at least 5 vets who testified off the top of my head: Dr. Jade Norris of RSPCA NSW, Dr. Leonie Finster (a vet who also used to race greyhounds), Dr. Karen Dawson (a former Racing Queensland employee and behaviourist specialist vet), Dr. Greg Bryant (an ex-track vet for GRNSW) and Dr. Elizabeth Arnott (currently chief vet officer at GRNSW). It is obvious that Ms Wilson knows very little about the inquiry if she thinks there was only evidence from one vet. Miranda Devine also published an article claiming that wastage cannot be as high as McHugh estimates. Her claim is based solely on the word of a trainer from Dubbo, who allowed 4 out of his 8 pups to die of parvovirus – a disease easily preventable by vaccination – and as such the credibility of her opinion is seriously suspect.
The claim that a Canadian academic or an American named ‘Ernie’ is at the centre of the inquiry report is fallacious – anyone who has read the report or followed the inquiry would know that the real centre of the inquiry’s findings were around wastage, the welfare issues surrounding the dogs’ day to day lives (the lack of socialisation, living in a kennel instead of a home to prepare them for life as a pet, barking muzzles) and the track injuries and deaths (GRNSW’s first injury report showed that 1 dog was killed every 2 days at a NSW track) – not just live baiting or puppy drowning.
Another piece of ‘evidence’ is from Brenton Scott, NSW Greyhound Breeders chief, claiming that greyhounds would normally only live until 9 years old. He clearly needs to update GRNSW, whose Greenhounds website states an average lifespan of 10 – 12 years. (http://www.greenhounds.com.au/about-greyhounds/greyhound-breed-profile.html) But regardless of the grey’s natural lifespan, the fact remains that a grey can only race for a certain number of years before it retires due to non-competitiveness or injury – and then where do these dogs go? GRNSW’s own submissions to the inquiry show that even if they cut the number of races down drastically, it will still need to breed more dogs than it can rehome in order to fill the starting boxes and stay profitable.
Claim 4: You didn’t even take the time to read the other 79 recommendations on the report.
Response: Regarding the 79 other recommendations, I have read them but I doubt the racing industry has. The 79 recommendations for the industry if it stays open would require significant changes including the formation of a new integrity body, a complete ban on barking muzzles, extremely regular inspections and more – many of these are things that GRNSW was implementing in small ways, only to be criticised by industry participants as being in bed with the greenies, treating participants like criminals or not sticking up for the ‘sport’. It’s unlikely that participants would have supported Baird even if he had decided to go with the 79 other recommendations. Please find attached a sample of reactions from industry participants when GRNSW introduced a ban on barking muzzles at race tracks (attach this jpeg to your email).
Claim 5: The industry has reformed in the last 18 months and should be given another chance.
Response: Exiting GRNSW CEO Paul Newson said in a formal media release, “…we often had to deal with the outright denial of the significant animal welfare issues in the industry. On many occasions proposed reforms were dismissed and resisted by industry participants and while some participants courageously championed reform, overall there was little appetite to demonstrate the significant change was in place before the inquiry had made its recommendation to government.” This indicates that industry participants were on the whole unwilling to reform and fought GRNSW at every attempt to make improvements for animal welfare.
I would like to draw your attention to a recent article by a prominent race dog owner who is described by the industry as a ‘top vet’, where he claims that mass euthanasia of healthy dogs is not an animal welfare issue nor evidence of cruelty (http://www.australianracinggreyhound.com/australian-greyhound-racing/new-south-wales-greyhound-racing/anti-racing-crowd-are-the-most-dangerous-predators-of-all/79535). This article has been widely shared and lauded by industry participants, which indicates a culture of entitlement when it comes to destroying healthy dogs for their own convenience.
There have also been reports on how all the greyhounds will be killed because their owners and trainers cannot keep them once racing is banned – for example, the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club’s spokesperson recently told the Canberra Times that there are people who have over a hundred dogs and cannot keep them all for financial reasons. And yet the industry has also claimed they have ‘tens of millions of dollars’ to fight the ban. Given that they have been able to hire lobbyists, lawyers and so on to fight the ban, it would seem that there is money – they are just unwilling to channel it to the welfare of the dogs they claim to love. It is not the dogs that they care about, but their ability to race them for their own financial gain. If racing continues, all that will happen is that the cycle of breeding, exploiting and discarding greyhounds in their thousands on an annual basis will continue – dogs will still die, only with no end to the slaughter in sight.
Lastly, here is an article from 1945 on live baiting (http://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/64173734) – not much has changed in 70 years.
Culture change within the industry is impossible because participants do not believe they are doing anything wrong. There have been enough ‘second chances’ and it is time for them to face the consequences of their actions.
Claim 6: The report has only just come out so the industry hasn’t had a chance to reform.
Response: There was an inquiry two years ago led by the late Dr. John Kaye and yet people were still live baiting in 2015. The industry is clearly not interested in reform unless threatened with closure and that McHugh is correct in his summary that once the media spotlight is removed from the industry (as is inevitable if it continues), the industry will go back to its old ways.
On my part, I am (please detail your own story here – if you have a greyhound, if you rescue greyhounds, if you are simply a member of the public who doesn’t see the need for dogs to die just for a minority group’s entertainment and for gambling).
I urge you to remain steadfast in your support of the greyhound racing ban and stand your ground! The ‘holes’ in the inquiry’s report are not real ‘holes’ – they are either incorrect assumptions or ill-informed speculation. Please remember that 82% of Australians support an end to greyhound racing. You are on the right side of history with this one.
The following is a list of politicians who support the ban on greyhound racing that you can email (thanks Greyhound Equality Society):
*** Liberal ***
*** Australian Labor Party ***