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Gone to the dogs: Greyhound racing ban necessary

By John Hargreaves - 18 July 2016 37

greyhound 2
It seems as though the community out there is a bit divided about the banning of greyhound racing in Canberra.

The weird thing is that the ACT Labor Government is taking the lead from the NSW Liberal Government and the NSW Labor Opposition is opposing that ban. I’m still waiting to find out what the local Libs position is. Maybe I missed something.

How we all reeled back in horror at the thought of live baiting to train the dogs to chase in a circle! The outrage was genuine and sustained. Then it kind of petered out.

I’m the pollie who was behind the banning of fireworks in Canberra, for those who don’t know. The reasons were that the fireworks were not the gunpowder of old but significant explosives, some in the industry here were involved in criminal activity, there was significant damage to persons and property and real time damage and death to animals, both domestic and native.

So, from that perspective, I was always going to be a supporter of banning any sport which has any element of animal cruelty attached to it. And yes, I have problems with horse racing, be it the gallops or harness racing. I am also a big supporter of banning circus animals, exotic or otherwise.

But I do try to have an objective look at the developments when something like this arises. Hard as it is.

On the one hand we have the ‘cruelty to animals’ perspective. These animals are bred to entertain us. We all go soft and mushy when entertained by animals, be they elephants doing tricks, or little cute furry things being cute. But we recoil from the reminder of the old days when human freaks populated the travelling shows around the country. The dwarfs, the bearded ladies, the conjoined twins. We don’t see this stuff anymore so why should we let the exploitation of defenceless animals continue? We have banned exotic animals in circuses in the ACT, so why stop there?

On the other hand, racing is a big business enterprise with many people earning a living off its back. As an aside though, I was told (and you have to be able to check these things and I couldn’t verify it) that most of the trainers whose dogs run around the track in the ACT come from elsewhere. I would imagine that horse racing is much the same though, so the impact of banning the sports here would have a greater impact in NSW than here.

I do wonder, and if anyone has information on this out there I’d be glad of it, just how many people in the ACT are reliant on the dog racing industry for their bread and butter as against those whose involvement is part-time and any ban would be transient.

So any decision to support or not the ban should rest on the competition between animal welfare and the acquisition of profit. For mine, it is an easy choice.

On the political level, I am white hot angry at the NSW Labor Party for even thinking of opposing the ban. Foley and Dastyari should hang their heads in shame. And Andrew Barr should go it alone if the NSW Parliament knocks it back.

Incidentally, I have two cats and they are not entertainment media. Firstly, they are as entertaining as my kids were but secondly, they run the place here. My child bride and I are merely servants to their wants and needs.

My cat Andy had fireworks strapped to him and he was set on fire. He awoke in me the need to do something. The thought that he or Susie could be strapped to a revolving fence to entice a dog to chase them is abhorrent. To replace them with a rabbit is not on either.

greyhound 1

I am a carnivore an intend to stay that way, but I am opposed to anything which brings pain to animals, such as fireworks, live export, circus animal entertainment and dog and horse-racing.

Call me a sook if you want but there it is!

What’s Your opinion?


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37 Responses to
Gone to the dogs: Greyhound racing ban necessary
John Hargreaves 4:55 pm 19 Jul 16

JC said :

Charlotte Harper said :

Hi John,

I agree with your comments about Greyhound racing. It is shocking that it has been able to continue for so long in this manner.

However I wish to comment on Andy your cat regarding the fireworks incident. I feel sorry for what happened to poor Andy. Whilst I do not condone the action that was done to your cat, have you ever considered other people/animals than your own and your influence that lead to the banning of fireworks.

Have you ever considered the other animals that are hurt from your cat Andy being outside? Like the wildlife or other cats?

Have you ever considered your neighbours – they may have put up with Andy defecating or urinating on their property?

I’m sure you can say, my cat Andy would never do any of these things, he is such a nice cat. But are you sure? And what about the other cat owners that would say the same thing about their cat?

How would you have felt, if we made a law banning all cat ownership from the ACT? A law made with little consideration for the wider public, only because of a few owners that believe that it is their cat’s right to be outside and do what they like at the peril of others. Does this sound similar to the ban on fireworks John?

(P.S. I own a cat, but I keep him indoors where he cannot harm/affect others.)

Andy spends most of his time in the sun inside. He’s 17 1/2 and would not be here if those thugs had a say.

And I did take advice from the RSPCA and Domestic Animal Services as well as horse owners and animal welfare advocates around the damage to domestic and native animals. All applauded the move.

So no answers to the actual questions raised above John? Why should you, or other cat owners, be able to have a cat wandering outside when they cause suffering to other animals, particularly native animals?

A minority of owners cause these problems, the government can’t possibly regulate, surely a ban is the only way?

And it’s hardly surprising that those advocates supported your move, did you think about the wider community, perhaps the 300k+ people who aren’t members of those groups or supporters of their beliefs? Seems like your care is very selective, mainly rotating around your own personal interests. The main problem with any authoritarian.

The answers are that the Govt of which I was a part introduced laws insisting on the de-sexing of cats, the microchipping of cats, and the cat containment regulations in suburbs bordering nature parks.

In relation to the discussion with the 300k population, I held discussions widely over a period of about 5 years, took advice form around the country, and investigated the claims of damage to humans, animals and property. I took advice on the constitution of the fireworks and the illegal activities around their manufacture and sales.

I am not going to engage in a discussion around fireworks any more because the reason for this OP was to stimulate a discussion around greyhound racing, greyhound welfare, and the horrors of what happens to so many dogs when they have outlived their usefulness. My reference to the fireworks was merely to show that I have been concerned about animal welfare for decades. Nothing more.

I take it that since you are vehemently opposed to my view that you support greyhound racing. As to horse racing or racing pigs, for that matter, I would be quite happy to see them all phased out.

chewy14 11:55 am 19 Jul 16

JC said :

Charlotte Harper said :

Hi John,

I agree with your comments about Greyhound racing. It is shocking that it has been able to continue for so long in this manner.

However I wish to comment on Andy your cat regarding the fireworks incident. I feel sorry for what happened to poor Andy. Whilst I do not condone the action that was done to your cat, have you ever considered other people/animals than your own and your influence that lead to the banning of fireworks.

Have you ever considered the other animals that are hurt from your cat Andy being outside? Like the wildlife or other cats?

Have you ever considered your neighbours – they may have put up with Andy defecating or urinating on their property?

I’m sure you can say, my cat Andy would never do any of these things, he is such a nice cat. But are you sure? And what about the other cat owners that would say the same thing about their cat?

How would you have felt, if we made a law banning all cat ownership from the ACT? A law made with little consideration for the wider public, only because of a few owners that believe that it is their cat’s right to be outside and do what they like at the peril of others. Does this sound similar to the ban on fireworks John?

(P.S. I own a cat, but I keep him indoors where he cannot harm/affect others.)

Andy spends most of his time in the sun inside. He’s 17 1/2 and would not be here if those thugs had a say.

And I did take advice from the RSPCA and Domestic Animal Services as well as horse owners and animal welfare advocates around the damage to domestic and native animals. All applauded the move.

So no answers to the actual questions raised above John? Why should you, or other cat owners, be able to have a cat wandering outside when they cause suffering to other animals, particularly native animals?

A minority of owners cause these problems, the government can’t possibly regulate, surely a ban is the only way?

And it’s hardly surprising that those advocates supported your move, did you think about the wider community, perhaps the 300k+ people who aren’t members of those groups or supporters of their beliefs? Seems like your care is very selective, mainly rotating around your own personal interests. The main problem with any authoritarian.

funbutalsoserious 11:53 am 19 Jul 16

Hi John,

Any comments on the other questions that I raised?

John Hargreaves 10:04 am 19 Jul 16

Charlotte Harper said :

Hi John,

I agree with your comments about Greyhound racing. It is shocking that it has been able to continue for so long in this manner.

However I wish to comment on Andy your cat regarding the fireworks incident. I feel sorry for what happened to poor Andy. Whilst I do not condone the action that was done to your cat, have you ever considered other people/animals than your own and your influence that lead to the banning of fireworks.

Have you ever considered the other animals that are hurt from your cat Andy being outside? Like the wildlife or other cats?

Have you ever considered your neighbours – they may have put up with Andy defecating or urinating on their property?

I’m sure you can say, my cat Andy would never do any of these things, he is such a nice cat. But are you sure? And what about the other cat owners that would say the same thing about their cat?

How would you have felt, if we made a law banning all cat ownership from the ACT? A law made with little consideration for the wider public, only because of a few owners that believe that it is their cat’s right to be outside and do what they like at the peril of others. Does this sound similar to the ban on fireworks John?

(P.S. I own a cat, but I keep him indoors where he cannot harm/affect others.)

Charlotte Harper said :

Hi John,

I agree with your comments about Greyhound racing. It is shocking that it has been able to continue for so long in this manner.

However I wish to comment on Andy your cat regarding the fireworks incident. I feel sorry for what happened to poor Andy. Whilst I do not condone the action that was done to your cat, have you ever considered other people/animals than your own and your influence that lead to the banning of fireworks.

Have you ever considered the other animals that are hurt from your cat Andy being outside? Like the wildlife or other cats?

Have you ever considered your neighbours – they may have put up with Andy defecating or urinating on their property?

I’m sure you can say, my cat Andy would never do any of these things, he is such a nice cat. But are you sure? And what about the other cat owners that would say the same thing about their cat?

How would you have felt, if we made a law banning all cat ownership from the ACT? A law made with little consideration for the wider public, only because of a few owners that believe that it is their cat’s right to be outside and do what they like at the peril of others. Does this sound similar to the ban on fireworks John?

(P.S. I own a cat, but I keep him indoors where he cannot harm/affect others.)

Charlotte Harper said :

Hi John,

I agree with your comments about Greyhound racing. It is shocking that it has been able to continue for so long in this manner.

However I wish to comment on Andy your cat regarding the fireworks incident. I feel sorry for what happened to poor Andy. Whilst I do not condone the action that was done to your cat, have you ever considered other people/animals than your own and your influence that lead to the banning of fireworks.

Have you ever considered the other animals that are hurt from your cat Andy being outside? Like the wildlife or other cats?

Have you ever considered your neighbours – they may have put up with Andy defecating or urinating on their property?

I’m sure you can say, my cat Andy would never do any of these things, he is such a nice cat. But are you sure? And what about the other cat owners that would say the same thing about their cat?

How would you have felt, if we made a law banning all cat ownership from the ACT? A law made with little consideration for the wider public, only because of a few owners that believe that it is their cat’s right to be outside and do what they like at the peril of others. Does this sound similar to the ban on fireworks John?

(P.S. I own a cat, but I keep him indoors where he cannot harm/affect others.)

Andy spends most of his time in the sun inside. He’s 17 1/2 and would not be here if those thugs had a say.

And I did take advice from the RSPCA and Domestic Animal Services as well as horse owners and animal welfare advocates around the damage to domestic and native animals. All applauded the move.

funbutalsoserious 8:37 am 19 Jul 16

Hi John,

I agree with your comments about Greyhound racing. It is shocking that it has been able to continue for so long in this manner.

However I wish to comment on Andy your cat regarding the fireworks incident. I feel sorry for what happened to poor Andy. Whilst I do not condone the action that was done to your cat, have you ever considered other people/animals than your own and your influence that lead to the banning of fireworks.

Have you ever considered the other animals that are hurt from your cat Andy being outside? Like the wildlife or other cats?

Have you ever considered your neighbours – they may have put up with Andy defecating or urinating on their property?

I’m sure you can say, my cat Andy would never do any of these things, he is such a nice cat. But are you sure? And what about the other cat owners that would say the same thing about their cat?

How would you have felt, if we made a law banning all cat ownership from the ACT? A law made with little consideration for the wider public, only because of a few owners that believe that it is their cat’s right to be outside and do what they like at the peril of others. Does this sound similar to the ban on fireworks John?

(P.S. I own a cat, but I keep him indoors where he cannot harm/affect others.)

Perrin 10:08 pm 18 Jul 16

Good article. The report that the Baird government acted on shows comprehensively that greyhound racing is based on animal cruelty, to the animals they use in live baiting and the dogs themselves. it’s a sport run entirely for gambling. It’s rotten to the core.

It is realy disappointing the NSW Labor party wants to score some cheap points by opposing the ban, but it might blow up in their face. People were sickened by what they learned about this horrible industry.

Kimm 8:57 pm 18 Jul 16

Some people following this issue might be interested in joining the March for the Murdered Million on Sunday to honour the greyhounds who have been bred, exploited and then discarded by the racing industry. 11:00-12:15 Sunday, meet at the Nara Peace Park on Flynn Drive. This is one of many marches being held around Australia and the world.

http://www.facebook.com/events/203014956767487

chewy14 5:38 pm 18 Jul 16

rommeldog56 said :

irritable said :

John,
the question you should be asking is: is there anything inherently related to animals racing that could be classified as cruelty as opposed to relating from already illegal actions from people involved in the industry.

Have a read of this from an on-track greyhound racing vet about injuries and cruelty happening in the racing: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-14/the-tail-was-torn-off-former-greyhound-vet-reveals-cruelty/7629906

Or go and read the NSW report. Systematic cruelty and abuse. No short or medium term option that would fix the mess. So shut it down.

Already read the report, it outlined 79 recommendations to “fix the mess” as you have described it. But by far the easiest option for the government is the one they’ve chosen, which seems to be the common reaction from government’s these days.

HenryBG 2:48 pm 18 Jul 16

irritable said :

John,
the question you should be asking is: is there anything inherently related to animals racing that could be classified as cruelty …

The answer to that one is clearly “no”.

What we have here is class-based discrimination. Horse-racing is clearly a much greater threat to animal welfare than dog racing, but horse-racing is what rich people do, so they pick on the poor people who race dogs, on the assumption that this poor underclass will be a much safer target for their compulsive need to assert their arbitrary authority over people.

It’s nothing more than an authoritarian power trip.

Dilandach 2:23 pm 18 Jul 16

irritable said :

John,
the question you should be asking is: is there anything inherently related to animals racing that could be classified as cruelty as opposed to relating from already illegal actions from people involved in the industry.

The problem isn’t the racing of animals but rather the problems that crop up because people are racing animals.

irritable said :

If you believe dogs running around a track is inherently cruel, I’d suggest you’d have to hand your cats back and turn completely vegan lest you look like a massive hypocrite.

You’re completely missing the motivation behind the ban. It wasn’t because running dogs around a track was cruel (the blooding issue aside) it was down to what happened to those dogs if they didn’t make the cut, were injured and unsuitable for racing but otherwise were healthy. There was a large turn over of dogs that were euthanized when they were no longer winning races or were old. That is one of the primary issues people had with the industry.

irritable said :

If it’s the second, surely any government that supports freedom and liberty should look at better regulation and actually doing their job rather than taking the kneejerk nanny state reaction of banning something.

Oh yes yes, the gubberment will be breaking down your door any moment now to install a slippery slope in your house any day now.

pajs 2:13 pm 18 Jul 16

irritable said :

John,
the question you should be asking is: is there anything inherently related to animals racing that could be classified as cruelty as opposed to relating from already illegal actions from people involved in the industry.

Have a read of this from an on-track greyhound racing vet about injuries and cruelty happening in the racing: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-14/the-tail-was-torn-off-former-greyhound-vet-reveals-cruelty/7629906

Or go and read the NSW report. Systematic cruelty and abuse. No short or medium term option that would fix the mess. So shut it down.

rosscoact 2:05 pm 18 Jul 16

irritable said :

John,
the question you should be asking is: is there anything inherently related to animals racing that could be classified as cruelty as opposed to relating from already illegal actions from people involved in the industry.

If you believe dogs running around a track is inherently cruel, I’d suggest you’d have to hand your cats back and turn completely vegan lest you look like a massive hypocrite.

If it’s the second, surely any government that supports freedom and liberty should look at better regulation and actually doing their job rather than taking the kneejerk nanny state reaction of banning something.

And thanks for bringing up the fireworks ban so we didn’t have to. A perfect example of a government ruining the fun and freedom of tens of thousands of people because of a tiny minority of people who did the right thing. All because it was too hard to do the job you were being paid for.

The exact same arguments as the NRA use in the US. Mix it with some completely made up ‘facts’ and you have the whole playbook.

chewy14 12:53 pm 18 Jul 16

John,
the question you should be asking is: is there anything inherently related to animals racing that could be classified as cruelty as opposed to relating from already illegal actions from people involved in the industry.

If you believe dogs running around a track is inherently cruel, I’d suggest you’d have to hand your cats back and turn completely vegan lest you look like a massive hypocrite.

If it’s the second, surely any government that supports freedom and liberty should look at better regulation and actually doing their job rather than taking the kneejerk nanny state reaction of banning something.

And thanks for bringing up the fireworks ban so we didn’t have to. A perfect example of a government ruining the fun and freedom of tens of thousands of people because of a tiny minority of people who did the right thing. All because it was too hard to do the job you were being paid for.

pajs 10:56 am 18 Jul 16

No need for greyhound racing in this day and age. Animal cruelty for entertainment and gambling. It’s an anachronism. Not to mention the $1m a year ACT Government subsidy that could be spent on better things (the RSCPA and animal welfare, for example).

Jumps racing next.

gooterz 7:47 am 18 Jul 16

Why does no one focus on the gambling aspect? Surely we should also ban poker machines too?

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