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Greyhound Racing - Lifetime Ban of Anthony Bullock

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP

Dr Rosalie Woodruff MP  -  Thursday, 2 November 2023

Tags: Greyhound Racing, TasRacing, Office of Racing Integrity

Dr WOODRUFF (Franklin - Leader of the Greens) - Mr Speaker, I want to read into the House the testimony of Ann Montague, who wrote on the back of the lifetime ban last week of the infamous greyhound trainer, Anthony Bullock, from training and owning racing greyhounds. Ann has owned the property across the road from Anthony Bullock since 2008.

Bullock was finally brought to heel after footage published by Animal Liberation Tasmania advocates. Ann welcomes the lifetime ban imposed on Mr Bullock for using an animal or animal part as a lure in the context of all the other animal abuses he has perpetrated over the years. Ann has had firsthand experience with the horrors of living next to Anthony Bullock. She and her partner expected an idyllic, rural lifestyle change, but

Members interjecting.

Dr WOODRUFF - Mr Speaker I cannot hear myself speak. Maybe the members could be a bit quieter?

Mr SPEAKER - Order.

Dr WOODRUFF - They can all go to bed.

They did not realise they had moved to live opposite an open-air abattoir and a greyhound industry factory. As his neighbour, she has seen slaughtered horses hanging from trees and watched as horses were chased down with vehicles, then shot and butchered using chainsaws for dog meat metres from the road, which is a popular tourist driving route and school bus stop. She has heard howling and barking, day and night, of anxious and distressed greyhounds housed in cold, tiny enclosures. She has smelled the stench from open offal pits that contained the putrefying remains of slaughtered horses and dead greyhounds. She has gagged from the common nauseating stink of horse offal being cooked.

Despite being warned not to 'aggravate Bullock', Ann has made dozens of complaints about his animal cruelty, probable live baiting practices, offensive odours and excessive noise over the years. All of these were effectively ignored by the regulatory bodies she made complaints to: Tasracing; the Office of Racing Integrity; the West Tamar Council; and the Department of Primary Industries; Parks, Water and the Environment all gave the crickets.

In 2012 13, West Tamar mayor, Barry Easther, at the time told Ann this is how things are in the country and if you do not like it, you should consider moving. The other option he gave her was to plan to screen her trees if she did not like the view of what she saw. On 9 January, 2013, minister for primary industries, then Bryan Green, sent an email to Ann saying it is a sad fact that horses no longer profitable need to be slaughtered.

On 6 February, 2013, Ann met with the Director of Tasracing, Tony Murray. After an inspection of Anthony Bullock's facility, he told her the stewards had concluded he had not breached any rules of racing and that animal welfare requirements were being met. That decision was based largely on the verbal evidence provided by Anthony Bullock himself.

Often disillusioned, but never deterred, Ann has continued to liaise with politicians and animal welfare advocates to work to abolish greyhound racing. She became, what she calls, an accidental activist. It was not her aim to get involved in the animal welfare issues of greyhounds, but like the goodhearted citizen she is, she spoke out because of what she saw. In 2015, ABC's Four Corners televised Making a Killing, that exposed the abhorrent practice of live baiting. Following this, in 2015, the Greens moved to hold a joint select committee inquiry into greyhound racing. Ann gave in camera evidence to the committee against Anthony Bullock. She has told me she produced photos of the contents of his trailer containing a horse's head, animal intestines and a dead marsupial, his greyhounds peering out of under sized kennels in cages with their faces covered in large plastic muzzles, a slaughtered horse hanging from a tree being skinned and gutted, several terrified horses corralled together being shot in front of each other and of horses languishing in bare paddocks often injured, sick and old.

Nothing happened to Bullock on the back of the evidence she gave which included, essentially, identical material to the recent evidence that led to Bullock's lifetime ban. There were no sanctions or consequences of any kind. Bullock has continued to abuse, exploit, bully, slaughter, pollute and live bait for years. He was unchecked, unregulated and without a kennel licence or planning approvals for the shed he had erected over years.

Bullock's nefarious activities were well known and widely ignored by regulatory authorities. A whistleblower informed neighbouring residents and the West Tamar Council that Bullock had been operating his kennel facility for more than a decade without a kennel licence. At that time, there were more than 90 dogs on his property.

In April or May 2022, despite vehement objections from concerned members of the public and animal welfare advocates, Kristie Johnston, MP, and Ann Montague lost their appeal to have Anthony Bullock's retrospective planning permit rejected. In May this year, the West Tamar Council were ordered to issue Anthony Bullock with his permit. Later in May, Ann was informed the CEO of West Tamar Council had granted Bullock a kennel licence permitting him to keep 94 dogs for the purpose of boarding, training and breeding.

Mr Speaker, the show must go on. In September 2023, Animal Liberation Tasmania released their damning drone footage of Anthony Bullock's property. The vision is disturbing, but Ann is clear that the emaciated horse, dead pademelons, squalid kennels, small animal cages and traps and the desperate sadness of Anthony Bullock's animals that existed in that footage finally corroborated her evidence and complaints of what she had seen and observed over the years.

What is clear from her sad and sorry story is the general manager of the Office of Racing Integrity, Justin Helmich; the Minister for Racing, Felix Ellis; Tasracing CEO, Andrew Jenkins and the Premier cannot hide behind their glib mantra any more that animal welfare has always been their top priority. Ann felt enormous relief when she heard the news that Anthony Bullock's kennel licence had been cancelled for life. It has been a protracted, emotionally exhausting and relentless fight for all the animal advocates that give their time, expertise, passion and unconditional love for greyhounds. It is a win that has been a massive team effort and it will not end with Anthony Bullock.

I want to acknowledge and thank Ann and the community of greyhound lovers that have been behind this win. They include Kristy, Fran, Deborah, Annie, Rosie, John, Margie and Jan. They, and many others, will continue to advocate to end greyhound racing. The racing industry has been given countless opportunities to clean up its act but animal cruelty, dishonesty, cheating and corruption are ingrained.

The Office of Racing Integrity or Tasracing will not change this unless kind hearted people keep working together and the Greens stand in solidarity with them.