The NSW government’s “backflip” on greyhound racing has been condemned by owners, trainers and animal rights’ lobbyists.
Premier Michael Baird’s decision to reverse the ban has caused financial loss to trainers who had sold dogs and facilities in anticipation of the industry’s closure.
Animal lobbyists, such as Humane Society International, dismiss claims the industry will be cleaned-up and greyhound welfare improved.
Georgie Stewart, manager of the society, said: “An industry so steeped in lies and corruption cannot change.”
The greyhound industry, which last year generated about $156 million in revenues, has been saved by a “last chance” reprieve following intense lobbying by the industry.
A trainer who declined to be named claims he lost about $80,000 after selling his dogs and training complex in rural NSW.
“The decision is great for the industry but it has left me out in the cold,” said the trainer, who is considering legal action to compensate his loss.
The New England Highway property, was originally valued at $640,000 in February this year before selling for $555,000 in September after the ban was announced.
The trainer said he recently spent about $80,000 renovating the property in anticipation the industry had a future.
The eight-acre property is council approved to house 50 adult dogs, and includes two greyhound training 550-metre tracks.
It includes a fully equipped ‘dog kitchen’ to prepare meals and 35 kennels and dog yards.
The estate is located two hours from Sydney, and produced many elite greyhounds for owners around Australia.
The trainer, who spent 15 years on his NSW property, relocated to Victoria to continue his training and breeding career, after he saw the “impending demise” of the racing industry in NSW.
He said his racing and breeding operation have had to be scaled back from about 40 dogs to 25.
His story is not an anomaly in the fallout of Premier Baird’s backflip on the greyhound racing reform.
A spokesman for Greyhound Racing NSW, an industry body representing traines and dog owners, said: “While it’s good to have our great sport reinstated it has caused great inconvenience, (the trainer) is not alone”
Animal lobbyists are angry that the ban was reversed because they believe the industry will not be able to effectively self-regulate.
“No level of monitoring will stamp out live baiting when it is taking place on private properties. Those who know about it either do not care or are too scared to report it,” Mr Stewart said.
An industry spokesman dismissed the claim. He said it had increased staff for monitoring the treatment of dogs and increased penalties for violations.