NSW premier Mike Baird has announced the state will "put an end to greyhound racing" after an inquiry found "illegal and unconscionable activity, including the slaughtering of tens of thousands of dogs."
NSW would be the first state in Australia to ban the practice but Baird stressed greyhound racing was "legal in only eight countries around the world".
"We will develop a strategy to work with the RSPCA to manage the welfare of existing greyhounds," Baird said on Thursday.
Here's what the report found.
1. The mass killing of greyhounds.
“In NSW in the last 12 years… somewhere between 48,891 and 68,448 dogs were killed because they were considered too slow to pay their way or were unsuitable for racing," the report found.
"Apart from about 6% of the greyhounds [born] who have breeding value, the remaining dogs have no commercial value for the industry after their racing careers are over. Unless they are rehomed, they will probably be killed."
2. The widespread practice of “live baiting”.
Few Australians can forget the secretly filmed footage of greyhound trainers "blooding" their dogs with live piglets, possums and rabbits, a practice which has been criminalised for decades.
Police charged 37 people with animal cruelty last year after the ABC aired the confronting tapes including footage of a possum which was flung around a track 26 times at high speed until it had been split in half, barely held together by its spinal chord.
But the report shows this practice is widespread.
"A trainer, who admitted to engaging in live baiting, testified that about 10-20% of trainers engaged in live baiting," the report found.
3. The public has been deceived.
“Greyhound Racing NSW had adopted a policy of deliberately misreporting the extent of injuries suffered by greyhounds at racetracks," the report found.
"The commission’s investigations uncovered evidence that Greyhound Racing
NSW has engaged in the deliberate misreporting to the public of the extent of
injuries suffered by greyhounds at race tracks," the report said.
"Further, GRNSW has also deliberately failed to make available to the public – and thus, in effect, concealed – information about deaths of greyhounds at race tracks, both as to fatalities during races and dogs that have needed to be put down by the on-track veterinarian as a result of catastrophic injuries suffered during a race."
4. Rehoming efforts can't keep up with the number of greyhounds who need to be adopted.
"NSW presently needs and, without a dramatic reduction of the race meetings that it holds, will probably continue to need, 6,000 or more greyhounds to be [born)] each year to maintain its racing schedules," the report noted.
"However, the industry cannot, and will not be able to, find homes for somewhere between 50% and 70% of these dogs."
5. The greyhound industry only cares about the greyhound industry.
"Sanitising the information concerning injuries and omitting information concerning the deaths of greyhounds was bad enough," the report said.
"It constituted a deception of the public on matters that the public
was entitled to know."
The report agreed with this statement by the Working Dog Alliance:
“GRNSW has only acknowledged its members and industry participants as stakeholders.”
6. Trainers had been employing so-called "muscle men" instead of qualified veterinarians.
"The commission’s investigations revealed that ‘muscle men’ – unqualified persons who hold themselves out as being able to treat injuries and illnesses of greyhounds – play an increasingly significant role in the greyhound racing industry in NSW," the report said.
"A muscle man will manipulate a dog, crack its back and there's nothing wrong with the dog," one trainer, who used muscle men, testified to the commission.
7. The industry is not capable of reforming.
"It appears unlikely the issue of the large scale killing of healthy greyhounds by the industry can be addressed successfully in the future," the report noted.
"I feel much empathy for innocent trainers and those who will lose their job or hobby as a result of this," Baird said on Thursday. "But we simply cannot and will not stand-by and allow the widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals.
NOTE: The author of this report is the daughter of Stephen Rushton, SC, counsel assisting the Commission.
Gina Rushton is a breaking news reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Sydney.
Contact Gina Rushton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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