TRACK FEARS: Greyhounds and their handlers walk the Lismore track, which has now been close by Greyhound Racing NSW.
TRACK FEARS: Greyhounds and their handlers walk the Lismore track, which has now been close by Greyhound Racing NSW. Contributed

Greyhound association hopeful racing will resume next week

GREYHOUND Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association operations manager Ellen Harris has hit back at claims surrounding the sudden track closure at Lismore.

The Northern Star published an article yesterday regarding a report compiled over 12 months which indicated a high injury toll at the Lismore track, which resulted in Greyhound Racing NSW closing the course.

Harris said that there were a range of statements within the article which were not reflective of the facts.

"The NSW GBOTA believes that racing could resume as early as next week," she said.

"While the association saw the relevance of a review including the provision of the safest possible racing, it does not believe that current track management practices were contributing to the injury outcomes.

"The NSW GBOTA has been open in the assessment of any factor which has led to injuries.

"This includes working towards optimum track design approach across all venues.

"The association, however, refutes strongly that the track preparation or design is solely responsible for an injury."

Yesterday's article quoted Angela Pollard, from the Animal Justice Party in the NSW Legislative Council, as saying the Lismore track had a "difficult camber" and was circular, "and those are two great risk factors for greyhounds".

Responding to these comments, Harris said: "In response to these comments, the NSW GBOTA believes that the general statements have no scientific support, given many canine breeds run in circular motions across a variety of terrain.

"In addition, references to over breeding were again not accurate, with a sharp decline in breeding reported by controlling authorities and publicly available."

The Northern Star quoted Australian Greens Senator and animal welfare spokeswoman Dr Mehreen Faruqi.

She said the industry was reliant on taxpayers' funds and an RSCPA study showed two in every three people wanted greyhound racing banned.

"In response, the NSW GBOTA advises that the RSPCA study from 2016 surveyed just 836 people and found that a higher response rate to the survey question existed in the metropolitan area than regional areas such as Lismore," Harris said.

"In addition, the poll was done after significant advertising against the industry.

"Funding for the NSW greyhound industry currently flows from a range of revenue streams, primarily connected to wagering on the racing industry.

"The development of taxes, such as Point of Consumption Tax, implemented this year, have in fact raised additional revenue for NSW residents.

"In addition to those economic contributions, the Lismore track has been responsible for hundreds of thousands of dollars being raised over the years for local community groups.

"The venue remains strongly connected to the Lismore community and will be driven in continuing those relationships for the betterment of the region.

"The Lismore track looks forward to finalising the report with Greyhound Racing NSW and resuming racing as quickly as possible."

Racing tonight has been transferred to Casino where they will run until the Lismore track re-opens.

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