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Pressure on government to end greyhound racing in ACT

by Brent Ford

The heat is on the ACT Government to end greyhound racing in Canberra, following the announcement that NSW would stop greyhound racing in the state from July 1, 2017.

It follows a Parliamentary inquiry found overwhelming evidence of systemic animal cruelty. which revealed between 48,000 and 68,000 greyhounds were killed in the last 12 years because they were deemed uncompetitive. NSW Premier Mike Baird posted the announcement to his Facebook this afternoon.

"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," Baird wrote.

"More than a year ago, we established a Special Commission of Inquiry into the greyhound industry after very disturbing reports emerged of cruelty to animals and other illegal activities."

RSPCA ACT has put continued pressure on the government, following a recent report found that live baiting was rampant in the industry across NSW, and that the majority of competitors in the ACT come from across the border. RSPCA ACT CEO Tammy Ven Dange has called for some time for racing to be banned here, and was happy with the announcement made by the NSW Premier, and believes the pressure is mounting on our government.

"An amazing day for greyhounds everywhere, it's something we've been hoping and trying to persuade our government to do for some time," Ven Dange said.

"It was something we thought was highly unlikely in NSW, so we thought perhaps we might be able to get the ACT government to ban it here first.

"For NSW to take this huge step for greyhounds is such a great story in itself, for everything that we've seen happen in the last few years with what's been brought to the public with how nasty this government is.

"It gives us hope the ACT government will follow suit too."

Greens MLA Shane Rattenbury has also welcomed the announcement, earlier this year the ACT Greens joined the RSPCA ACT's call for an end to the greyhound racing industry in the ACT. He's now calling for the government's $1 million contribution to the industry here in Canberra to cease.

“Greyhound racing is an outdated industry that promotes the exploitation of dogs, endorses cruelty to animals and encourages problem gambling,” said Mr Rattenbury.

“This is huge news from the NSW Government and a step that the ACT must immediately follow.  We don’t need to wait for NSW to commence its wind down; the ACT should move to shut this industry down now.

“The ACT Government supports the greyhound racing industry to the tune of $1million per year.  This funding should cease immediately.

“Today’s announcement from the NSW Government means that the ACT industry is now even less viable given that the NSW regulator also oversees elements of the local industry. 

“The ACT has a proud history of progressive animal welfare reform and it is time we lived up to this standard and banned greyhound racing in the ACT now,” concluded Mr Rattenbury.

The ACT government is expected to release a statement on the matter this afternoon, with Chief Minister Andrew Barr currently overseas in Wellington.

image source - Canberra Times

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