The NSW greyhound racing ban

Tim Blair blogs:

An extract from the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in New South Wales, the report that convinced Mike Baird to ban greyhound racing:

“The evidence shows that 40% of those greyhounds whelped never make it to the race track. As one breeder stated, “Dogs who don’t have the instinct [to chase] or the tools to be a consistent winner – well a good handler can spot it a mile away … Most of the time I’d drown the pups.” In the greyhound industry, this mass slaughter of young and older greyhounds bred for the purpose of greyhound racing, and which are subsequently destroyed either prior to being named or raced, or upon retirement from racing, is euphemistically called “wastage” or euthanasia.”

That breeder’s comment is credited to a 2008 study subsequently cited last year by the Australian Working Dog Alliance in their “Review & Assessment of Best Practice, Rearing, Socialisation, Education & Training Methods for Greyhounds in a Racing Context.” So it’s relatively recent and applies to Australia, right?


The comment comes from a 2005 report by Canadian academics Michael Atkinson and Kevin Young, and is from anAmerican breeder identified only as Ernie. His full remarks reveal that he was discussing practices undertaken some years prior to the report’s decade-old publication:

“Culling happens, it really does. As a breeder, one of the skills you acquire is the ability to look at a pup and watch its gait for potential. Dogs who don’t have the instinct [to chase] or the tools to be a consistent winner, well, a good handler can spot it a mile away. From time to time, a pup might have poor eyesight or be born blind, and that’s the worst … When a dog has no place in the business at all, you face an ugly task. We won’t risk letting the puppy go to a pet store or family, because they might breed it and get a champion from one of the litters. So, to save time and money on a dog, it, and any of its siblings in a similar condition, are culled … Most of the time, I’d drown the pups or, towards my last few years breeding them, I’d go to a local vet. No one I know tortures the dogs or neglects them, though. There’s no need for it.”

Baird’s ban relied, at least in part, on abbreviated testimony from an unknown man somewhere in the US who was talking about something that happened before he stopped breeding greyhounds. Seems a flimsy basis upon which to outlaw an entire industry.

I agree. This is not evidence based decision making and fairly shocking that it is referenced in a report implying it is a view and practice in Australia.

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