AUGUST 2 2016 – 9:10AM
More than one hundred Canberrans are expected to join a protest in Sydney on Tuesday in an outcry against NSW Premier Mike Baird’s decision to shut down the NSW greyhound racing industry.
A spokesperson from the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club said speakers will point to “the many errors in the McHugh Report” referring to the damning report of the Special Commission of Inquiry in NSW Greyhound Racing by former High Court judge Michael McHugh.
The report found as many as 68,000 greyhounds were slaughtered as “wastage” in the past 12 years “because they were considered too slow to pay their way or were unsuitable for racing”.
The Canberra Greyhound Racing Club spokesperson said the rally would allege that many supposed ‘expert witnesses’ falsified qualifications to present misleading evidence.
The ‘Fair Go Rally’ at Hyde Park, organised by the NSW Greyhound Racing Industry Alliance, will coincide with the joint Liberal-National Party room meeting considering the proposed ban.
More than 1000 people from Canberra and regional NSW were set to attend the protest, the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club said.
It comes after Liberal and Nationals MPs thrashed out Baird’s decision during marathon party room meetings.
Queanbeyan-based Liberal MP Peter Phelps drew parallels with banning the greyhound industry to banning rugby league due to the scandals that have surrounded the sport.
He said it was unfair to ban an entire industry without first enforcing stronger regulation.
“The argument that there is an industry that is so irredeemable that there is not a single person on the earth, or group of people on the earth, who could be appointed to administrative positions with a regular regime enforced by the government which wouldn’t clean it up, strikes me as quite ridiculous,” Mr Phelps said on ABC radio.
“My view would be to give them two years or three years or whatever interim period to prove that they can change, and if they can’t, well then so be it. But to ban an industry outright is a rather illiberal thing to do.”
Mr Phelps said many greyhound racing trainers had not been sufficiently educated on how to use scientific methods for their control and training.
Racing industry representatives, expert veterinarians, animal welfare specialists and greyhound racing enthusiasts will likely share a similar view when they defend the industry at the rally on Tuesday.
The Canberra Greyhound Racing Club spokesperson said speakers would present a petition with 25,000 signatures to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley at Parliament House.
“The petition recognises the significant reform in greyhound racing industry that has already delivered large amounts of positive change in the sport,” they said.
“It calls for the reform process to continue with government support, and for the implementation of recommendations from the Special Commission of Inquiry that would see greyhound racing continue under a new regulatory regime.”
Source : The Canberra Times