A group committed to banning greyhound racing is calling on the NSW Government to end racing on the oval track in Goulburn when the city’s new straight track opens in 2022.
The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (GPG) advocacy is calling for action ahead of the Greyhound Welfare Integrity Commission (GWIC) hearing in Goulburn on Thursday, 3 June.
CPG president Dennis Anderson said it would be “obscene” for the NSW Government to keep Goulburn’s curved track open when University of Technology Sydney research has proven straight tracks halve deaths and injuries for racing greyhounds.
“When the new straight track opens in Goulburn next year, a decent government would close the curved track,” he said.
“If they keep it going, they will have blood on their hands every time a dog dies or is injured there.
“While there is no safe track for dogs, at least straight tracks are better and the public knows it.”
According to CPG research, three greyhounds died at Goulburn in 2020, and there have been 56 injuries this year.
However, Goulburn Greyhound Racing Club secretary Patrick Day said CPG doesn’t acknowledge that safety improvements will be made to both the straight and oval track.
He said the club has partnered with the university to introduce technology that tracks a dog’s heart rate, speed and stress through a microchip placed under its rug.
“We are confident we can build two safe tracks,” said Mr Day.
He also said there will be demand for the oval track once the straight track opens, and that the straight track provides an alternative for trainers and owners of dogs who can’t race on oval tracks.
CPG has released a five-point plan to reform the racing industry. As well as safer tracks, the plan includes whole-of-life tracking of each dog, reduced breeding, sanctuaries and increased penalties for mistreatment.
Mr Day said Goulburn is already improving the safety of its track, tracking dogs for life and looking to build a veterinary clinic that will provide greyhound welfare, rehoming and desexing services.
Members of the public are invited to attend and directly speak to the Upper House committee examining the effectiveness of GWIC at the Goulburn Greyhound Racing Club on 3 June.
“This inquiry is looking at the functioning of the GWIC, which was set up in 2017 as the independent regulator of the greyhound industry in NSW,” said committee chair Robert Borsak.
“Its role is to promote and protect the welfare of greyhounds; safeguard the integrity of greyhound racing and betting; and to maintain public confidence in the greyhound racing industry.
“It is important for the committee to hear directly from those in regional areas who are part of the racing community, or who have views about the regulation of the greyhound industry at present.”
Proceedings will be broadcast live on the NSW Parliament website.
The committee has visited Newcastle, Bathurst and Temora, and will visit Sydney after Goulburn.