RSPCA NSW Responds to Greyhound Reforms

After what can only be described as a tumultuous ride from the Greyhound industry ban through to repeal, establishment of the Panel and now to the implementation stage – the NSW State Government has announced it will implement 121 of the 122 recommendations of the Greyhound Reform Panel’s recommendations. The only recommendation not adopted relates to how the new Greyhound Racing NSW organisation will be set up, and in this regard will not affect animal welfare outcomes.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride of different decisions and emotions and grueling work by many involved in advocating what really matters in this process – the welfare of Greyhounds,” comments RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman.

“It’s a little bittersweet, but I trust that the future of Greyhounds and other species in this industry will be in a better place than what they were prior to the 7th July last year when the then Premier announced the ban.”

RSPCA NSW was publically supportive of the original ban and were also publically disappointed with the backflip. However, RSPCA NSW works with government decisions including agreeing to their invitation to sit on the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel, only after due diligence and amendments to the Government’s Terms of Reference were sought.

“This has been another example of how crucial it is for an organisation like ours to stay at decision making tables, even when confronted with enormous challenges both physically and emotionally,” comments Coleman.

“Our members, supporters and the community expect us to be at the table advocating for the welfare of Greyhounds in the industry, and having no animal welfare representative at these negotiations was never going to be an option.”

RSPCA NSW welcomes the establishment of an independent Integrity Commission to watch over the industry and uphold animal welfare. The previous model of the industry being responsible for its own welfare integrity was clearly unacceptable.

RSPCA NSW have long said that if this independent Commission is to be effective moving forward, it must have sufficient resources, sufficiently funded by someone, and can only work with the information that it receives directly from those within the industry that claim that they are law-abiding.

The NSW Government’s announcement of $41 million over five years, includes $30 million to be spent on upgrading tracks to decrease injury rates, and $11 million over five years, which equates to $2.2 million to run the Integrity Commission is a good start.

In comparison, RSPCA NSW spends $6 million per annum running 32 inspectors to attend approximately 15,000 animal welfare complaints

“This is not about propping up the industry, this is about putting the welfare of Greyhounds front and centre in an industry that the NSW Government has decided will continue to operate,” concludes Coleman.

For more information, or an interview with a RSPCA NSW spokesperson, please contact Stefania Kubowicz
Mobile: 0488 905 353 | Email: skubowicz@rspcansw.org.au.