The ACT Government will officially ban all greyhound racing from next year, despite the NSW‘s government’s spectacular backflip on the issue and despite an independent report into the industry in the ACT that found no evidence of live baiting.
The report, conducted by former Health Services Commissioner Mary Durkin, found that some 27,000 dogs raced in Canberra between 2012 and 2016, and that in that time 26 animals were put down due to injuries suffered on the track. A further 302 dogs received minor to major injuries.
The report did not return any evidence of live baiting, a controversial and unethical practise that lead to the NSW Government initially banning the sport outright last year. Despite this, the Government still voted to end the sport in Canberra, with the full ban coming into effect at the start of the 2018-19 financial year.
The ban, in large part, stems from an inability to separate the NSW and ACT industries, meaning dogs that race in Canberra are often sourced from NSW, where much of the industry’s controversy is centred. ACT Attorney-General Gordon Ramsay said that this posed an unacceptable risk to animal welfare.
“We can’t turn a blind eye to the demonstrated cruelty and the behaviour that has been occurring and documented in NSW. The risk is not worth taking.”
The ACT has approximately 300 racing dogs owned and kept in the territory, from around 70 local owners and trainers. Today’s decision is expected to impact 26 jobs. The law will not prevent racing greyhounds from being owned in the ACT, nor will it prevent owners from training the dogs. The ACT Government also announced a $1million package to reskill workers and rehome any greyhounds impacted by the ban.
Critics of the move, including the opposition Liberal Party and Canberra Racing Greyhound Club have asserted it’s a mere political move aimed at appeasing the territory’s Labor-Green Government alliance, and is a swipe at an industry that, they say, has an unblemished record in the territory.
They assert that any claim of animal welfare is fruitless, as the dogs in the ACT will continue to race in NSW once the ban comes into effect.
Regardless, the sport’s days in the ACT are now officially numbered.
Greyhound Racing will officially become illegal in the ACT on June 30, 2018.
Source: ABC News.
Photo: Brook Mitchell/Getty.