BREAKING: NSW Government orders shutdown of greyhound racing

The NSW government has announced it will ban greyhound racing in the state in response to the “mass slaughtering of tens of thousands of healthy dogs”.

A Special Commission of Inquiry into the greyhound industry was established more than a year ago after disturbing reports emerged of animal cruelty and other illegal activities.

New South Wales Premier Mike Baird released a statement on Thursday, confirming the industry would be shutdown from 1 July 2017.


“In response to widespread illegal and unconscionable activity, including the slaughtering of tens of thousands of dogs, I can today announce that NSW is putting an end to greyhound racing,” Mr Baird said.

“We have now received the report of the Commission, conducted by former High Court Judge Michael McHugh, and the findings are damning.”

Greyhound racing has been banned in a number of countries and states in the U.S. and is legal in only eight countries around the world.

New South Wales will be the first state in Australia to ban it.

The Commission of Inquiry found somewhere between 48,891 and 68,448 dogs had been killed in NSW in the last 12 years because they were either considered too slow to pay their way or were deemed unsuitable for racing.

“In the industry, they call this “wastage”,” Mr Baird said. “It’s not wastage: it is the unnecessary slaughtering of tens of thousands of healthy dogs.”

The report also highlighted the widespread practice of live baiting, where live animals, particularly rabbits, are used as bait and chased by dogs in training sessions.

“One of the issues we have had to wrestle with is the positive impact of the greyhound racing industry,” Mr Baird said.

“There are over 1000 direct jobs in the industry and nearly 6000 registered owners of greyhounds.

“Dog racing can be an important part of the social fabric of regional towns. And, of course, having a punt on the dogs over a few beers is good fun for many people.

“So, as Mr McHugh asked, do such benefits of the dog racing industry outweigh the shortcomings? Based on this report, the Government believes they do not.”

Mr Baird said the state government would consult with the industry over the coming months to help “minimise the pain for the innocent industry participants”.

“I feel much empathy for innocent trainers and those who will lose their job or hobby as a result of this and I understand the disappointment of people who enjoy having a punt on the dogs,” Mr Baird said.

“But we simply cannot and will not stand-by and allow the widespread and systemic mistreatment of animals.”

Mr Baird said the government would develop a strategy to work with the RSPCA to manage the welfare of existing greyhounds as it works towards an orderly shutdown of the industry.

Greyhound Racing NSW assets, like greyhound racing tracks, will be used as open public space and alternative sports facilities.

To view the full Special Commission of Inquiry report, click here.