Follow live updates as more than 100 Hunter greyhound owners and trainers protest the impending closure of their industry.
Hunter greyhound racing trainers join Sydney rally
More than 100 greyhound owners and trainers from the Hunter Valley will rally in Sydney on Tuesday to protest the impending closure of their industry.
Hunter director of the Greyhound Breeders and Owners Association, Gary Minter, said busloads of trainers, breeders, supporters and officials would depart from Newcastle, Muswellbrook, Casino, Gunnedah and Taree on Tuesday morning to join the protest at Hyde Park.
A petition bearing more than 32,000 signatures collected over the past two weeks will be presented to NSW Labor leader Luke Foley to take to government.
Aberdeen trainer John Lawson will join the protest. He said the state government didn’t realise the extent of its decision to outlaw greyhound racing from July 1 next year.
“Not only is it a devastating blow to the industry, local businesses will shut down as a result of the ban,” he said. “The Muswellbrook Greyhound Racing Club also employs people and pays wages – that money stays in the community. And, in a small town, it’s crucial.”
Mr Minter and Mr Lawson disputed the findings of the inquiry into greyhound racing by former High Court judge Michael McHugh.
“There are errors in the McHugh report that are hurting lots of people,” Mr Minter said.
“It said 20 per cent were live-baiting but why were there only two prosecutions?
“It’s the same with [reports of drugging dogs] – why no convictions? It doesn’t exist.”
Mr Minter described the Baird government’s move to ban the sport as a “witch-hunt” that punished a reforming industry for the crimes of a few.
On Friday, a greyhound industry alliance filed proceedings in the Supreme Court seeking to invalidate the inquiry’s report and overturn the decision to ban the sport.