Greyhound racing wins reprieve

AUSTRALIA’S most populous state made an embarrassing backflip on its plan to ban greyhound racing. The reversal followed months of industry and public pressure.

New South Wales (新南威爾士州) had decided earlier to ban greyhound races next July after a series of disturbing and horrific animal cruelty scandals.

But last week, premier Mike Baird announced that the ban would not be imposed. “It’s clear in hindsight, as we reflect on this, we got it wrong,” he said in Sydney. “I got it wrong, the cabinet got it wrong, the government got it wrong.” Instead, he would give the greyhound industry “one last chance” to reform.

Just four months ago, Baird said the findings of a commission of inquiry had left the government with “no acceptable course of action except to close the industry down”. The inquiry found evidence of systemic animal cruelty, including live baiting – using small animals like rabbits and piglets to lure dogs to run around the tracks, and then letting the dogs maul them to death.

It also found up to 68,000 greyhounds bred in the last 12 years had been destroyed because they were considered uncompetitive. The ban decision triggered a backlash from the public, with fears that communities which rely on the industry could be devastated. It was blamed for causing the approval ratings of the premier to plummet.

Animal rights groups questioned how governments and sponsors could “continue to support an industry that has been exposed for such abhorrent widespread illegal activity”.

(This article is published on Junior Standard on 18 October 2016)

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