Select Committee on Animal Cruelty Laws in NSW

Opening statement by Dennis Anderson, National President, Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds

This committee was established on 8 August 2019 to inquire and report on the effectiveness of arrangements for the administration and enforcement of the laws of New South Wales for the protection of animals from cruelty. The committee began its inquiry in the third week of October 2019 and will report by 2 April 2020. 

The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds made a submission to the Select Committee. Read more

On 13 February 2020, Dennis Anderson, National President, CPG presented to the Committee and responded to the Committee’s questions.

Below is a transcript of the opening statement delivered by Mr Anderson.

The POCTAA [Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act] states that the Objects of the Act are to prevent cruelty to an animal by being unreasonably, unnecessarily or unjustifiably killed or inflicted with pain.

Figures issued by NSW Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission show that in the 15 months between 1 July 18 and 30 Sept 19 109 greyhounds died on the track and another 3,245 were injured. So far in 2020 there have been 34 greyhounds killed and hundreds injured [as at 13 February 2020] on NSW tracks.

Greyhound industry spokespeople admit that death and injury on the track are inevitable.

Mr Geoff Rose a regional director of NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association and the president of the Gunnedah Greyhound Racing Club was quoted in the Northern Daily Leader newspaper on 6 December 19. “You’re never ever gonna eliminate injuries, the same as you can’t eliminate injuries in football.” He continued: “I can’t see why they’re [the CPG] complaining.”

GRNSW [Greyhound Racing NSW] paid the UTS [University of Technology Sydney] to investigate how to make tracks safer. The UTS report was given to GRNSW in June 2017.

The report stated:
Para 6.15 It is strongly recommended that GRNSW consider developing purpose-built straight tracks.
Para 6.64 UTS strongly recommends trialing reducing the number of starts per race from 8 to 6.

We understand that GRNSW conducted a six dog trial at Tamworth.

We sought a meeting with the CEO of GRNSW to discuss these matters. Despite numerous follow up requests by email and phone no meeting occurred.

Two and a half years after GRNSW received the UTS report greyhounds are still being killed and injured on oval tracks and in 8 dog races. By any measure this is a massive failure of preventing cruelty to greyhounds.

We estimate that in FY 18/19 3,560 greyhounds were unaccounted for. The Greyhound Industry Reform Panel reported to the Government in February 2017. 

Recommendation 73 stated ‘A new greyhound racing register should be established and managed by the integrity commission to capture the identity and whereabouts of all greyhounds throughout their lifecycle’. The Government accepted this recommendation.

The Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission is restricted to tracking only those greyhounds owned by registered racing industry participants despite this recommendation.

More greyhounds are rescued by private rescues which are dependent on public donation than by the industry funded Greyhounds as Pets program.

Whole of life tracking and monitoring, and government funded rescues and sanctuaries are the only way to ensure that greyhounds do not disappear.

The law has failed to protect greyhounds and the organisations with responsibility to protect them have also failed.

The charitable organisations charged with enforcing the POCTAA are vastly under resourced to achieve the Objects of the Act in respect to greyhounds. Why are organisations which are dependent on public donation enforcing NSW legislation?

The CPG wants the Government to either establish an Independent Office of Animal Welfare to oversee, monitor, investigate and prosecute offences against the POCTAA or if that is not possible, the Government must fully fund the approved charitable organisations to undertake these functions.

The CPG wants the Government to change legislation and regulation to establish and operate the following for greyhounds:

Implement whole of life tracking and monitoring.
Fund rescues and sanctuaries and recoup this money from the gambling industry.
Increase penalties for breaching the law and the regulations.
Reduce breeding
Make tracks safer.

I do not know if the members of the Inquiry have pet dogs, but if you do, would you like your pet literally running for its life.

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