Andrea Dawkins MP | Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson
The majority Report of the Joint Select Committee on Greyhound Racing tabled today will disappoint many concerned Tasmanians. People who care about the welfare of animals will be upset not to see a ban on greyhound racing among the recommendations.
The Greens' Dissenting Statement recommends a ban on greyhound racing in Tasmania, as it is unjustifiable, taxpayer-funded cruelty towards animals. *
Only eight countries globally still allow greyhound racing. This industry has been rejected across the world because it is irredeemably cruel and no longer has a social license.
The majority Report makes it clear the industry in Tasmania is no different. It is responsible for massive over breeding, the killing of dogs due to illness and injury, and hundreds of dogs being killed because of their unsuitability for racing and alleged inability to rehome.
Tasmania's greyhound racing industry is an industry of animal cruelty and often brutal early death for dogs, paid for by the taxpayer.
Following the explosive revelations of widespread live baiting and cruelty nationally and bans in New South Wales and ACT, this industry's days in Tasmania are numbered.
Despite the Committee's failure to recommend a ban, eyes will be on this cruel industry in Tasmania and the day will come when it is legislated out of existence as it has been in just about every country in the world.
Tasracing has committed to rehoming all ex-greyhounds mid-2019, but the Greyhound Adoption Program have nowhere near the funding needed to achieve that.
In order for an industry with zero wastage to be attained all dogs born in the industry would have to be rehomed, including the puppies which are currently inaccurately accounted for in the Tasmanian statistics. This will come at a considerable cost to the Tasmanian public.
A ban would mean extra funds available for vital services which benefit all, not just those who chose to race dogs for profit and gambling. It's the right thing by the dogs, and by the public purse.
Greens Leader and the initiator of the Joint House Inquiry, Cassy O'Connor MP, has prepared a Dissenting Statement, recommending the following:
1. Due to the unfeasibility and unwillingness of the industry to address animal welfare issues to any acceptable standard, the Tasmanian Government has an ethical imperative to legislate a ban on greyhound racing in Tasmania.
2. The Tasmanian Government has a financial imperative to cease funding to the industry. Cessation of public funding to the industry needs to be included in the 2017-18 State Budget in order to give the industry time to transition.
3. Some of the millions of dollars saved can be allocated to the re-homing of all ex-racing greyhounds through organisations such as GAP, Brightside, the RSPCA and the Dogs Home to ensure the industry’s termination does not lead to more adverse outcomes for greyhounds.
4. Private bullrings and trial tracks must be prohibited structures under the Animal Welfare Act 1993.
5. The Dog Control Act 2000 must be amended to allow greyhounds that were either not born into the industry, or have been appropriately rehabilitated and socialised through GAP, Brightside, or other qualified organisation, to be unmuzzled in public.
6. The Animal Welfare Act 1993 must be amended to include an acknowledgement that pain and suffering includes (but is not limited to) distress and mental suffering as well as physical suffering as per the recommendation of the Animal Welfare Advisory Committee (AWAC) in response to the 2012 review of the Act.
* Ms. O'Connor's Dissenting Report is attached.