Greyhound injuries, deaths persist after ban announced
PREMIER Mike Baird's announcement of an impending greyhound ban did nothing to reduce major and fatal injuries at North Coast racing tracks.
Greyhound Racing NSW's latest racing injury report reveals Tweed Heads and Grafton racetracks had the region's highest serious injury rate between July 1 and September 30, with 10 incidents per 1000 race starts where dogs were euthanised or incapacitated for more than three weeks.
Between January 1 and September 30, Grafton had a rate of just eight such incidents, while Tweed Heads tallied up seven.
The Casino greyhound track remained steady at a rate of six major or fatal injuries per 1000 starts.
Only Lismore's figures dropped - from five down to zero - because the racecourse did not hold any meetings between July and the end of September.
The report reveals there were 252 meetings across NSW over the same post-July period, with 5034 dogs racing in 21,004 race starts.
There were 549 injuries of any severity to 526 dogs, a rate of 26.1 injuries per 1000 race starts.
It meant 10.4% of all greyhounds incurred at least one injury over the three months.
Twenty-four dogs across NSW had to be put down and one died from its injuries.
Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi slammed the industry for failing to stem the flow of animal deaths and injuries.
"Every three days a dog dies or is put down on track after suffering an injury like severe skull or spinal trauma and this is the industry Premier Baird wants to keep open,” she said.
"Thirty-one out of 33 tracks have recorded deaths or major injuries this year.”
A GRNSW spokesman said acknowledge much work remained to prevent injuries.
"Research commissioned by GRNSW and undertaken by the University of Technology Sydney on identifying optimal greyhound race track design for canine safety and welfare continues,” he said.
"In addition, GRNSW is introducing a mortality review process to examine any possible contributing factors to racing incidents which result in the euthanasia of a greyhound.
"The objective of the mortality review is to identify any trends and address any risk factors that are identified.
"A hoop arm lure introduced at Richmond to reduce racing interference has also been in effect since 1 July 2016.
"Since the introduction of the hoop arm lure at Richmond, the rate of major and catastrophic injuries recorded at the track has reduced.
"GRNSW is progressing work on introducing hoop arm lures to all tracks in NSW.”
Mr Baird has pledged to overturn the ban after a backlash from the community and media.