Fears greyhound ban would embolden animal welfare extremists
A STATEWIDE ban on greyhound racing has been rushed through the NSW Parliament's Upper House despite opposition from some of the government's own members.
This week we had People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals calling for Eggs and Bacon Bay in Tasmania to be renamed. These are the sorts of people we are dealing with.
The bill was passed just before midnight on Wednesday, with the Opposition complaining it had only received a copy of the legislation 10 minutes before parliament sat.
Liberal MP Peter Phelps spoke against his party's stance, suggesting the ban would embolden animal welfare extremists who wanted to stop all forms of racing.
"Think for a moment: Does this bill encourage or discourage them?" he said.
"Are they going to roll up their swags and go home and say, 'That is it; we have fixed all the problems we have', or are they going to take this as yet another step on their path to ideological purity?
"This week we had People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals calling for Eggs and Bacon Bay in Tasmania to be renamed.
"These are the sorts of people we are dealing with."
The government refused to amend the bill to include a clause guaranteeing compensation to industry participants left out of pocket.
Christian Democrats leader Fred Nile was voted down yesterday when he called for an inquiry into the McHugh Report whose revelations of animal cruelty prompted the ban.
Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi called the proposal a delay tactic; an "inquiry into an inquiry into another inquiry".
The government did agree to allow an inquiry into its advertising campaign calling for the greyhound industry's end, which included ads tagged as coming from the Department of Justice.
Upper House Leader Duncan Gay said there was "nothing to hide".
If the bill passes through the Lower House, which now seems inevitable, anyone caught conducting a greyhound race after July next year will face up to a year in jail and an $11,000 fine.
Keeping greyhounds for racing interstate will be outlawed, although a yet to be determined grace period will be put in place for currently registered racing dogs.
The government may also authorise a temporary "trial track" to be kept open so existing greyhounds can still be trained during the interstate racing transition period.
Greyhound breeding will be illegal except for companion animals, punishable by up to six months jail and an $11,000 fine. -ARM NEWSDESK