Opinion

'Clean up the mess and get on with the show'

INDUSTRY SHOCK: RSPCA officers raid a greyhound trainer's property and seize a piglet that was used for live baiting. Photo Contributed
INDUSTRY SHOCK: RSPCA officers raid a greyhound trainer's property and seize a piglet that was used for live baiting. Photo Contributed Contributed

IS the Lance Armstrong comparison a fair one?

The recent revelations of illegal practises involving live baiting by some greyhound trainers in Queensland, NSW and Victoria caused the suggestion from some quarters that greyhound racing should be shut down completely.

An argument against that line of thinking is - just because Armstrong and others have been found to be flaunting the rules, do you shut down the sport of cycling?

Or does rugby league get cancelled altogether because of the Melbourne Storm and Cronulla Sharks activities of recent years?

Or the illegal practises or erratic behaviour of some players?

Clearly the answer is "no'' and I think any fair-minded person would say the same with greyhound racing.

Clean up the mess and get on with the show.

Is this the biggest scandal or crisis in Australian greyhound racing?

In my involvement which spans 42 years, I'd have to say that it is.

For the three principal states of greyhound racing to be engulfed in the one issue, that's unprecedented as far as I can recall.

Like the vast majority of people, I detest animal cruelty.

What I can't work out is how much cruelty is allowed to occur by governments and bodies such as the RSPCA.

You can go duck shooting in Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory during designated seasons. You have to get a license.

In Victoria alone, there are around 26,000 people who have a license to hunt game ducks.

A person must pass a waterfowl identification test to demonstrate that they can correctly identify which species are allowed to be hunted. Bizarre but true.

It would be reasonable to assume that a lot of hunted ducks are wounded and traumatised by the shooters. But it's allowed.

Get Four Corners onto that one please.

In Queensland, you can shoot feral pigs, hares and rabbits on the property of someone who gives you permission.

This state does not have any species classified as game which can be taken by a recreational hunter, as with duck hunting for example. But get permission from a landowner and off you go, blasting away at whatever ferals you can find.

I once spent a weekend on a property on the Darling Downs and was invited to a shooting session at night. I couldn't think of anything worse and declined.

It was allegedly fun to chase, terrorise and shoot kangaroos, pigs and other animals deemed to be pests and is allowable.

What about fishermen? They thread a live worm onto a hook. Then if they catch a small fish, they thread it onto a hook to catch a larger fish.

Which when caught, is usually put into a bucket or kreel where it suffers a painful death. That would be thousands upon thousands of fish every day.

Another scoop for Four Corners.

The words "killing fields'' have been used, referring to greyhound racing. This is meant to describe greyhounds which are put down when their racing days are over.

Yes, that does happen. But the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) has been expanded year by year and is finding homes for an increasing number of retired racers.

Realistically though, GAP, even with more recently announced funding, can only do so much.

The RSPCA puts down lots of animals.

Around one in three dogs and one in two cats which come into their care are put down for various reasons, including lack of people prepared to adopt and those animals being unsuitable as pets.

That's sad and no doubt the RSPCA would rather that didn't happen. But it does.

They put down literally thousands of animals every year. The greyhound fraternity are entitled to be appalled at those figures.

In the 2013-14 financial year, $3.1 billion was wagered on greyhound racing in Australia.

We are a big business and largely a good one.

Topics:  dogwatch greyhounds live baiting paul dolan



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