We can’t say we’re surprised, but that doesn’t stem the sick feeling of disappointment. And anger (there’s lots of that too).
Less than four months after announcing a statewide ban on greyhound racing, NSW Premier Mike Baird has done an unconscionable – not to mention embarrassing – backflip.
Rumours he was poised to reverse the decision started to circulate yesterday and Cabinet met to discuss dumping the plan this morning, arriving at the decision shortly before 10.30am.
The confirmed backdown – a result of a sustained pressure campaign from both the greyhound industry, particularly in rural areas, and the Opposition – comes despite Baird’s repeated assurances that the decision was a matter of principle and that the industry shutdown on July 1, 2017 was “locked in”.
The man even wrote a blow-by-blow rebuttal to pretty much every argument against the ban, least of which are the hugely disturbing findings from last year’s Special Commission of Inquiryanimal cruelty, live-baiting and the shipping of greyhounds deemed too slow for Australian racing to gambling hotspot Macau to race until they die.
It found “in NSW in the last 12 years… somewhere between 48,891 and 68,448 dogs were killed because they were considered too slow to pay their way or were unsuitable for racing.” In the greyhound racing industry, they actually call this “wastage”.
Baird is yet to face the media over the backflip, but it’s expected he’ll try to ease the blow by announcing tough new penalties for animal cruelty; a proposal from industry group Greyhound Alliance – which was tendered just before the ban was put in place – will most likely be the core of his revised approach.
Between this and the lockout laws, one thing is clear: this city has gone to the dogs.
Photo: Brendon Thorne / Stringer / Getty.