Greyhound Racing

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS (15:55:20): I rise to make some remarks on the greyhound racing industry. In February this year, Four Corners aired the program 'Making a Killing', and it certainly made a splash. The sickening footage showed the illegal practice of live baiting at trial tracks in New South Wales. The footage showed possums, rabbits and even a piglet being mauled to death at greyhound training facilities.

Since then, in South Australia, the government has taken some steps to address community concerns about this industry. The bill that the government has introduced, and that passed the upper house earlier this year, sat on the Notice Paper in the other place from May to September before being finally passed last month in the other place.

Despite this, the RSPCA have expressed their disappointment with that legislation, saying these reforms do not go far enough to protect the welfare of animals involved in the greyhound racing industry in this state. I note that, for their advocacy, the Minister for Racing, Mr Leon Bignell, accused them of grandstanding. They were simply doing their job and raising concerns, quite legitimate concerns, I believe.

Certainly, the Greens also raised concerns when the Animal Welfare (Live Baiting) Amendment Bill passed this place that the Bill did not go far enough to address other serious issues that continue to taint this industry, including overbreeding, wastage and the fact that self-regulation has limited transparency and accountability.

We have seen in recent weeks, through the New South Wales inquiry, a document, which I will seek leave to table at the end of this MOI, that reveals the true nature of this industry. The document is marked 'Strictly Confidential' and is headed by Greyhounds Australasia and Greyhound Racing SA and is authored by Scott Parker and Matthew Corby and is dated 23 April 2015.

That strictly confidential document is titled 'Crisis to Recovery Program—Framework for Achieving Zero Euthanasia'. That document was only made available through the Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Industry in New South Wales because this state did not have such a commission of inquiry. It reveals that the industry is responsible for the unnecessary deaths of between 13,000 and 17,000 healthy greyhounds every year. Of this number, 7,000 greyhounds a year do not make it to the track and are never raced. That is highlighting the immediate wastage that occurs in this industry.

It is revealed in this document that the Greyhound Adoption Program only re-homes about 6 per cent of all pre-raced and retired greyhounds. In the industry's own words, from this strictly confidential report:

Assuming the industry survives the current inquiries in four states, its greatest challenge to short, medium and long term sustainability remains this disturbing reality .

This is in reference to these obviously high destruction rates.

We have seen government act on this industry interstate in Queensland, Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania. We have seen here in South Australia, the racing minister, Mr Bignell, accuse the RSPCA of grandstanding on the issue. I have to say that minister Hunter, who has responsibility for the animal welfare provisions, needs to find his voice on this issue and certainly pay heed to this document, which shows that not only are there unacceptably high wastage rates in this industry but that they are planned into the future. While there is a strategy outlined here to reduce those rates, they are an accepted part of the business that is fundamental to a racing industry which makes an enormous profit from the gambling that is associated with it. It has a responsibility and a duty of care to ensure that these animals are not unnecessarily euthanased. Healthy animals should be living good lives.

It is noted in the document as well that any moves to regulate breeding and ensure a reduction in the kill rates of pets will not, in fact, affect greyhounds. So a specific strategy is needed here. Urgent action is needed by minister Hunter and, if Minister Bignell continues to accuse the RSPCA of grandstanding, Ian Hunter, as the Minister responsible needs to perhaps—

The Hon. R.L. Brokenshire: Pull him into line.

The Hon. T.A. FRANKS: —pull him into line, as the Hon. Rob Brokenshire says. With that, I table this document by Greyhounds Australasia and Greyhound Racing SA.

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