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Call for dog racing ban infuriates greyhound trainers

COMMENTS made by Animal Justice Party member Mark Pearson have floored members of the greyhound racing industry, with the member of the legislative council stating we need to "knock it on the head".

On a visit to Happy Paws Haven this week Mr Pearson said live baiting was "systemic" in the greyhound racing industry and that he believes it will not change soon.

"Within two days of the first report it was clear that live baiting was systemic," Mr Pearson said. "They tried saying it was one bad apple in the cart but it is more a case of the whole cart.

"The problem is even if they stop live baiting - which they wont, they will just go further underground -the number of animals being killed because they don't make the grade is staggering.

With a special commission of inquiry investigating the greyhound racing industry, Mr Pearson believes an amendment to the Exhibited Animals Protection Act to outlaw greyhound racing will be soon eventuate.

"My view is and when it comes to the vote, and it will come before parliament to amend the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Exhibited Animals Protection Act, it will be an offence to race a greyhound in a greyhound race," he said.

"When that comes through I will be supporting that.

"It is a bit like cock fighting and dog fighting, it used to be legal. I think the greyhound racing industry is falling into that same category.

"I think we are going to have to knock it on the head and make it a prohibition to race greyhounds. All the screaming and crying will be over by morning tea and we would have saved a lot of animals."

A local greyhound trainer has called Mr Pearson's comments preposterous and harmful towards industry participants.

"These people they over-exaggerate the issue," the trainer, who did not want to be named, said. "We don't know people who do all this live baiting up here. There are a few bad apples but they are blaming the whole industry. These people are radical. They are talking about closing an industry that is worth probably millions of dollars. It just makes me so mad."

If the greyhound industry is closed and it becomes prohibited to race dogs many trainers could lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in investments in property, kennels and training facilities.

"These people are pushing for it, they just want to close the industry down," the trainer said.

"If they do we would be shattered, we have thousands of dollars invested in racing.

"Listening to these people it does hurt. We don't have a champion like them who will stand up and speak for us."

Grafton Greyhound Club president John Corrigan chose to not make a comment on the issue when The Daily Examiner contacted him.

"I would rather not comment on anything that has been said until the real facts come out at the conclusion of the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in March," Mr Corrigan said.

A Greyhound NSW spokesperson has labelled Mr Pearson's claims as "short-sighted" and "premature".

"In February 2015, decisive intervention by the NSW Deputy Premier, the Hon. Troy Grant MP, reset the leadership of GRNSW and has enabled a complete overhaul of its strategic direction and regulatory approach," he said.

"GRNSW has made remarkable progress in repositioning itself as a modern and capable regulator and driving industry reform.

"While GRNSW acknowledges there is much work to do, its early policy initiatives are already achieving results."

"GRNSW is committed to evidence-based decision making and is investing significant funds into independent research to inform future policy development to ensure it can draw on contemporary thinking and introduce innovative approaches to improve animal welfare and integrity outcomes across the industry.

"The greyhound racing industry is a vital part of the Northern Rivers community and economy."

Topics:  animal justice party, mark pearson



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