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Anthony Bullock - Greyhound Training Licence

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Tuesday, 18 October 2022

Tags: Greyhound Racing, Animal Welfare

Ms O'CONNOR (Clark - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, today the West Tamar Council voted to approve a retrospective development application for so-called leading greyhound trainer Anthony Bullock's kennel licence, which he has operated without for years. For those members not familiar with the name Anthony Bullock, he is Tasmania's largest greyhound trainer. Without Bullock and his industrial-scale greyhound misery operation I think the industry would just about fall over. Mr Bullock's business model revolves around entering enough dogs in every race to be almost guaranteed a number of wins and winnings every meet. He has almost a third of the racing greyhounds in Tasmania and his infamous history speaks for itself.

In 2017 he was fined for giving a greyhound arsenic. Between August 2019 and October 2020, Mr Bullock was issued with 20 steward penalties and fines by the Office of Racing Integrity, three of which related to presenting dogs to race with serious injuries or illness. In September 2020, Mr Bullock pleaded guilty to bullying another trainer and then of course, there is his involvement in the untimely death of greyhound, Tah Bernard.

We agree with the organisation Grey2k USA and their submission to West Tamar Council, where they said Mr Bullock does not possess the moral character necessary to be a responsible caretaker of dogs. In her submission to West Tamar Council, Mr Bullock's neighbour cited the noise of the 100 dogs at the property, saying:

I have been and continue to be exposed to the excessive barking and whining. The excessive whining is most distressing and sounds like the dogs are seeking attention which is not forthcoming or experiencing anxiety which is not respected or alleviated.

As we understand it, the noise assessment that was carried out at Mr Bullock's property over four days. For three of those days, Mr Bullock and many of his dogs were away. Mr Bullock's neighbour also noted the smell coming from his property, saying:

I have and continue to suffer from the stench that emanates from the property arising from the applicant's practice of slaughtering horses and cattle to provide meat for the dogs and disposing of waste offal in a pit on a northern end of the property, along with dog faeces and dog mortalities.

Despite Mr Bullock's assurances in his development application the neighbour continues:

From my experience and observations, I am not convinced that the practices have ceased. I believe they are and will continue.

We also found Mr Bullock's assertions about killing animals at his property in his discretionary DA made a number of admissions we found disturbing. As such, we referred it to the Office of Racing Integrity. We referred the size of his kennels. I have some images here. We referred his claims about not being a breeder and then his admission that he is a breeder. We referred to his admission of killing and burying animals on his property. We have pictures here of horse guts and a horse head, a horse strung up from a tree. They are very distressing images.

As the RSCPA say in their submission to the council, the application refers to the fact that the RSCPA and the Office of Racing Integrity have both inspected this facility. That is correct, however, the inference that inspection equates to an approval is certainly not correct.

Anthony Bullock is the celebrated face of this repugnant industry. An industry built on cruelty. He has been courted and applauded by successive Liberal and Labor ministers for racing. Perhaps, that is why he has got away with not having a kennel licence for so long.

Mr Speaker, 13 519 people signed the petition to end the public subsidies to greyhound racing. They do not want to pay for animal abuse. The Greens stand with those Tasmanians, just as we stand with the RSCPA, Great, Let Greyhounds Run Free, the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, GREY2K USA and the many compassionate individuals who put in submissions against Mr Bullock's application. The Liberal and Labor parties in government celebrate this industry and this so-called leading trainer but we do not and we never will. The majority parties might be happy to slap on a fascinator or their ministers might and mince around the track, sipping champagne or mindlessly putting a bet on, but we will not leave our compassion for these animals at the door.

The Greens will not stop fighting for the gentle greyhounds under Mr Bullock's control, the ones sleeping on wooden planks in tiny cages, with their gentle faces poking out between the bars. We will always be a voice in this place for those beautiful, sweet natured dogs who are amongst the most exploited animals in this country because they were born to run. In this country and in Tasmania, they are not born free. They are units of profit and loss for people like Anthony Bullock, a trainer, who the Greens agree is simply not fit to keep these dogs.

Regrettably, West Tamar councillors did not agree. Despite his application being a discretionary development application, they have given Mr Bullock the kennel licence he has operated without to date. It does not make it right, because it is not. Those of us who love and respect these dogs will fight on. In time, we will win. As animal welfare advocates campaigning have won in most places on earth, including in nearly every US state where the industry is rightly outlawed.

I condem the discussion of the West Tamar Council.