By Taylor Martin
Almost a year after the NSW Government backflip on the Greyhound Racing Ban, a special event will be held at Darling Walk on Harbour Street in the city this Friday, September 29.
‘Meet a Grey Day’ gives people the opportunity to see and interact with rescue greyhounds while raising awareness about the inhumane treatment of the animals involved in the sport of greyhound racing. The event is being hosted by Greyhound Rescue, a foundation dedicated to finding homes for retired greyhounds that would otherwise have been euthanized for no longer being able to race.
The ‘Meet a Grey Day’ event occurs almost a year after the government’s refusal to ban greyhound racing as a sport, despite evidence of piglets, possums, and rabbits being tied up to machines and used as live bait for training the greyhounds – a practice that is illegal in Australia.
As part of an on-going investigation into greyhound racing, animal activists also found evidence of mass culling and euthanizing of greyhounds that trainers deemed unfit for racing – normally due to age, injury from the sport, or because the animal was not deemed fast enough to race.
Following an in-depth report issued by a Special Commission of Inquiry, Former NSW Premier Mike Baird declared in a July 2016 Facebook post that, “In response to widespread illegal and unconscionable activity, including the slaughtering of tens of thousands of dogs… NSW is putting an end to greyhound racing.”
Within months of that statement, and following the NSW Parliament’s contentious approval of an industry ban, Baird announced in October of 2016 that he “got it all wrong,” and abolished the ban on greyhound racing, in support of the industry.
The NSW Greyhound Breeders, Owners & Trainers Association responded positively, saying they were, “Completely committed to making the people of NSW proud of their greyhound industry.”
Following the reversal of the ban, the GBOTA made a commitment to the government to implement practical ways to repair the industry and prevent future misconduct. A reform panel, known as the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel (GIRP), was formed. Former Premier Morris Iemma was named the head of the panel, and in early 2017, the panel proposed a list of reforms. The government implemented all but one of the 122 proposed reforms, and the panel continues to work through changes for the industry.
Those who participate in the Greyhound racing industry are also required to undergo training to maintain their licenses, and the government also implemented much stronger penalties to those who use live baiting as a training tactic.
While organizations like Greyhound Rescue continue to challenge the legality of the sport, they hope that events like ‘Meet a Grey Day’ will bring more awareness to the cause, and break any stereotypes about the hounds in order to find them loving homes.
The foundations emphasizes, “Greyhounds, contrary to popular belief, do not need huge expanses of living area. A suburban backyard is fine, and they can live in units as long as they are exercised daily.”
To meet the hounds and learn more about Greyhound Rescue and their stance on the issue, visit the ‘Meet a Grey Day’ stall at the forecourt of the Commonwealth Bank Darling Walk at C4/1 Harbour Street, Sydney from 11am-2pm on Friday 29th of September.