Page 5149 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 28 November 2017

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I am very pleased that the ACT has been a leader in animal welfare. This started with banning the exploitation of exotic animals in circuses in 1992. We have come a long way since then, and quite a lot of it has been due to my colleagues. We do not let people dock dogs’ tails or de-beak hens. We do not let people put spurs on cocks for fighting. We do not have any battery cage egg production in the ACT. We do not force sows into stalls. And we do not let people overbreed with puppy and kitten farms.

I accept that for those in our community who are passionate about greyhound racing this is clearly a very difficult time and a very difficult transition. I reiterate the comments of Mr Rattenbury and Minister Ramsay that there is a transition task force; please contact them. But I think the time has come to acknowledge the toll on the animals used in this commercial operation and say, “Enough is enough.”

MS CHEYNE (Ginninderra) (4.28): I stand today to support these two bills that represent a balanced and justified response to examples of animal cruelty and violence so extreme they nearly defy belief. Unlike Mr Parton’s hyperbolic speech, what I will present today are the facts. In 2015 Four Corners exposed the brutal reality of the New South Wales greyhound industry. Live baiting, blooding and mass killing of greyhounds were all uncovered, these heinous acts done in the name of making money from a sport; a sport involving animals.

In the wake of the Four Corners bombshell broadcast on the New South Wales greyhound industry, the McHugh report was commissioned as an independent investigation into that industry in that jurisdiction. What was uncovered was an industry rife with illegal behaviour and with inadequate regulatory safeguards to bring itself into line.

We in the ACT must look at what that means for us. We are located completely within New South Wales. We are at the centre of a regional network. That means that those in the New South Wales greyhound industry who are torturing animals may very well be participating in and benefiting from the greyhound industry here in the ACT.

The relationship between the greyhound industries in the ACT and New South Wales was confirmed in the Durkin report which looked into the industry in the ACT and how we can successfully transition away from greyhound racing in this jurisdiction.

The Durkin report found that the industry in the ACT is in fact relatively small with only 70 active owners, breeders and trainers in the ACT. Around 309 dogs are owned by ACT residents but only 52 of those dogs are based in the ACT. It is in fact New South Wales participants who represent a significant majority of the greyhound industry in the ACT.

Let us be clear, Mr Assistant Speaker. I know there will be many people involved in the industry who have followed all of the rules and always cared for their dogs and other animals. But the New South Wales greyhound industry and its participants also always had the option to operate legally and humanly. It failed and it failed miserably.

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