Below, please see the Coalition’s letter sent to Premier Mike Baird and to deputy premier Troy Grant. Please use it as a guide for the contents of your own letter sent to both the premier and deputy premier.
Dear Hon. premier, [insert Troy Grant for alternate letter]
we have read with concern news reports claiming that the Greyhounds Transition Taskforce led by Dr John Keniry plans to recommend the continuation of greyhound training until 2022 and breeding until 2019. We, the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, strongly disagree with these recommendations.
Do Not Permit the Continuation of Breeding
Given the concerns around large numbers of greyhounds being surrendered and overwhelming animal welfare agencies when commercial racing is banned in July 2017, the proposal to continue breeding even more dogs for another 3 years is illogical and serves no purpose whatsoever to address the challenge. There are already anywhere between 6,000 – 19,000 greyhounds to rehome right now in NSW. What is the point in breeding a few more thousand dogs to add to the problem?
Every year that breeding continues merely increases the number of greyhounds who are killed once the racing industry no longer needs them. Even 2015, which most greyhound rescue organisations count as their most successful rehoming year following heightened awareness of the breed due to the live baiting expose, saw only around 585 greyhounds rehomed in NSW (Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry, Vol.2). Meanwhile, the industry bred 1,590 puppies between Jan – Apr 2016.
As long as greyhounds are bred on an industrial scale, they will continue to be culled on an industrial scale because there are not enough homes for all of them.
The unacceptably high level of wastage on an ongoing, annual basis was the main reason for the ban on greyhound racing in the first place. Allowing the continuation of breeding merely makes a mockery of your courageous and foresighted decision to end the cycle of breeding and killing.
Do Not Permit the Continuation of Training
The proposal to allow greyhound training to continue until 2022 also goes expressly against the purpose of banning greyhound racing. One of the chief concerns put forward by the Special Commission of Inquiry was the difficulty of regulating trainers and breakers, who are the most likely people to live bait.
If training is allowed to continue for another 6 years so that NSW greyhounds can race interstate, what is stopping industry participants from going back to their ‘bad old ways’ once the media spotlight has been removed and the threat of a complete shut-down is off the table?
Furthermore, we assume taxpayer dollars will be used to fund the policing of industry participants, as betting revenue from NSW greyhound racing will presumably end in 2017 along with commercial races – however, surely that money is better spent on rehoming the greyhounds currently in existence instead of supporting the industry?
Lastly, given Dr John Keniry’s reassurance to the greyhound racing industry that a transition package will be available to participants, what is the purpose of allowing the continuation of training and breeding for years after commercial racing is banned? It will exacerbate the problem of breeding more greyhounds than there are homes, encourage the continuation of cruel practices like live baiting (unless the public foots the bill for the expensive policing of numerous rural properties) and discourages industry participants from moving to other occupations and re-skilling themselves in preparation to find new hobbies or jobs.
Appropriate Transition Measures
We propose that the transition stop the breeding of greyhounds now instead of in the future. Any greyhounds bred in NSW right now will not be used for racing until they are roughly 18 – 24 months of age, which will be well past July 2017 – as such, allowing breeding to continue is pointless commercially and only adds to the burden for rehoming groups.
The number of industry participants who truly rely on greyhound racing as their source of income must be determined and a fair transition package made available for them. Opportunities for them to re-skill themselves and help with finding new jobs should be provided. Hobby trainers who make a living with other jobs should not be compensated, as their income is not affected.
We also propose that greyhound racing tracks on Crown land be converted into temporary shelters after July 2017 for all the greyhounds in need of rehoming. There are kennels on these tracks that can be used to house greyhounds until foster homes are available. Greyhound rescue groups and charities like the RSPCA or AWL who are experienced at running shelters can provide guidelines on best practice care for these dogs while they are in these temporary accommodations.
The continued breeding and training of more dogs will only compound problems of trying to find homes for the dogs. It will also allow NSW Labor, should they manage to somehow win the next election, to easily reverse the ban.
Please don’t allow your good work to be undone.
Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds [insert your name]