Tasmania Residents Call To End Public Funding For Greyhound Racing

More than 13,000 Tasmania residents have called for the givernment to stop funding the greyhound racing industry in the state.

Tasmania residents have upped the ante in their quest to get the government to pull public funding for greyhound racing. An e-petition gained 13,519 signatures last week, a record number in Tasmania. Some 11,699 Tasmania people signed the previous largest e-petition; it supported end-of-life choice.

It is clear the people of Tasmania strongly oppose greyhound racing. A similar petition in Western Australia in May 22 gained plenty of support. A second petition opened in March 22; it is gaining a lot of support from WA residents.

Greyhound racing is out of touch with the community values of some states and territories. However, greyhound racing remains legal across Australia, except the ACT. In addition, governments continue funding the industry from the public purse.

Support For Greyhound Racing Continues Despite Damning Report

Governments continue providing financial support to the greyhound racing industry despite a damning report seven years ago. ABC Four Seasons revealed some true horrors, including using live baits to train greyhounds. These included possums and piglets.

Live baiting has been banned and criminalised for decades, but ABC video footage showed it continues in the greyhound racing industry. Dog owners believe bloodthirsty training methods improve their dogs’ performance.

Greyhound Racing Victoria’s chief executive Adam Wallish said, at the time of the 2015 report, that incidents of live baiting were few and far between.

“Make no mistake, this story will be explosive, emotive, and extremely damaging to the future of this sport in Australia. As a group of people that love the greyhound breed, we should all be shocked and outraged by the allegations in the story and be prepared to fight the small minority that continue to partake in such practices jeopardising the future of the sport and indeed the future of the breed itself.”

“You will be emotional, you might be angry. Don’t be angry at those that attack us, regardless of their position. Be angry at those within the sport that are doing the wrong thing and undermining the values for which we stand. This time is a testing one for all of us in the industry, and we need to stay resolute in our desire to exceed social standards and public expectations.”

Government Support Even After Reports of Dog Culling

The ABC report triggered public protests and led to a New South Wales Special Commission of Inquiry launching in 2016. That inquiry discovered 68,448 of the 97,783 greyhounds bred in NSW over 12 years were killed.

Only two years later, the NSW government contributed $500,000 in prize money to the inaugural Million Dollar Chase. Furthermore, the Queensland government pledged an extra $4.1 million to the state’s greyhound racing industry in prize money for 2019-20.

Does The Sport Contribute to the Economy? Will Governments Ban the Sport?

Tasracing chief executive Paul Eriksson states greyhound racing benefits Tasmania to the tune of $53.2 million annually. In addition to employing 433 people full-time. This sounds plenty, but it is 0.19% of the Tasmanian workforce.

The ACT successfully banned greyhound racing in April 2018. However, the industry in the ACT was tiny in comparison to other states. Only 70 Canberra residents were owners, breeders, or trainers. Also, ACT was the home to a meagre 52 racing greyhounds.

The industry remains popular across Australia and in several other countries. Greyhound racing remains popular throughout the United Kingdom, although the industry there is held to the highest standards of anywhere globally.

It is a slightly different story in the United States. Horse racing in the U.S. is immensely popular, however, only two dog tracks remain. Southland Casino Racing Track in West Memphis, Arkansas, and Iowa Greyhound Park in Dubuque closed in May 22. Their closures left only two dog tracks in the U.S. both in West Virginia.