Racing ban will not be the end of Greyhound industry, Owner Trainer Association chair says

A STEADFAST Geoff Rose remains adamant this is not the end for NSW greyhound racing.

The Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association chair and Gunnedah Greyhound Racing Club president, has vowed to fight tooth-and-nail last week’s decision to ban the state’s greyhound racing industry.

“We’re not going to take this lying down,” Rose told the Namoi Valley Independent on Monday.

“GBOTA and other clubs have engaged a high profile barrister. And if we need to take this higher, we will.”

A GBOTA steering committee has been formed to lead the fightback. Its focus will be on communication and mobilisation strategies, political engagement and legal strategy.

One of its first tasks will be to stage a public meeting in Gunnedah on Saturday morning.

Rose called on all parties affected to attend and voice their concerns.

“We’re talking about people’s livelihoods here,” he said.

He recently returned from two special meetings at the weekend –  one at Wentworth Park, the other at Warners Bay, which attracted a frustrated crowd of 400 industry representatives.

The state-wide racing ban effective July 2017, followed reports by a Special Commission of Inquiry, which found overwhelming evidence of widespread animal cruelty.

Rose said much had been done to improve animal welfare in recent years, but banning the entire sector was not the way forward.

“There were 80 recommendations but [the government] chose to take one,” he said. 

“The industry has spent millions on [greyhound] welfare, it has spent millions on integrity…. we should be given the chance to reform.”

He estimated greyhound racing contributed at least $1 million to the Gunnedah economy alone, every year. 

Further investment of up to $1 million on improvements had also been spent on the Gunnedah track in the last five to six years.

GBOTA executive officer, Brenton Scott, assured its representatives they would fight the ban. 

“It is simply an unfair and unreasonable decision,” Scott said.

“Our industry involves 15,000 participants and employs thousands more. 

“The vast majority of participants, past and present, are decent people who have and will continue to put their greyhounds first. 

“While nobody could condone any of the animal cruelty revelations exposed by Four Corners in early 2015, it is impossible to suggest that the NSW Greyhound industry has not committed itself to reform in the period since.”

Saturday’s meeting at Gunnedah will be held at the track from 10am.