Greyhound racing is back in the headlines following the closure of the track in Lismore. The Baird Government announced it was banning the sport in New South Wales before backing down.
Greyhound racing is back in the headlines following the closure of the track in Lismore. The Baird Government announced it was banning the sport in New South Wales before backing down. Craig Golding

Investigations under way after greyhound track closure

AN injury report compiled over 12 months led to the sudden suspension of greyhound racing at Lismore.

Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association operations manager Ellen Harris confirmed the club had returned a high injury rate compared with other NSW tracks.

"There have been some minor injuries all the way through to some more sizeable ones," Harris said.

"The closure has come off the back of the high injury rate.

"Safety and welfare is a major focus for us and the governing body (Greyhound Racing NSW) had some concerns.

"We have to ask questions when we get this sort of information and there is a formal report being done this week.

"We want to see the club back up and racing but we can't rush these things until we have some answers."

Harris said flood damage in 2017 had not contributed to the injury rate, however track design may have been a contributing factor.

She said racing could return as early as Tuesday next week.

"We have confidence in the staff at Lismore," Harris said.

"They've trained other staff in and out of our network."

Harris was running a training session on track preparation in Sydney yesterday with Lismore greyhounds operations manager John Zorzo in attendance.

Racing tomorrow night has been transferred to Casino.

A candidate for the Animal Justice Party in the NSW Legislative Council, Angela Pollard, said she fully supported the closure.

"It's wonderful news the racetrack has been closed down, it is something the Greyhound Action Group in Lismore has been wanting ever since the Baird Government flipped (on its decision to ban greyhound racing)," she said.

"We know the track is cruel, it's been cruel for 50 years, not five months, and we do not want it to re-open.

"The track has a difficult camber and it's circular, and those are two great risk factors for greyhounds.

"They are lightweight and they are moving at a fast pace.

"They either collide or they collect on the turns and dogs are injured, whether it is their hips or backs.

"It's very common that the hock is also injured, which is near their ankle and is quite fragile in a greyhound, so if you combine all of those things you are going to have an injury.

"It's become an embarrassment.

"A hock injury is not a fatal injury, dogs can recover very easily and can be fixed very easily.

"They are not dying from the hock injury - they are being shot or being given a lethal injection by the vet on the track because their owners don't want to pay the vet fees to fix them.

"They know they can't clean the industry up. It's impossible.

"The industry only operates if the dogs are worthless. You breed more dogs than you need, pick out the few that show some chance of winning, then you clear out the ones that aren't winning and then you clear out the ones that have injuries."

Australian Greens Senator and Animal Welfare spokeswoman Dr Mehreen Faruqi said:

"This is an industry that has well and truly lost its social licence and is highly dependent on tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to even exist.

"The RSPCA has found that two in three people want to see greyhound racing banned.

"Neither the Labor nor Liberal/National parties have the courage to take on the industry even though they know the truth.

"They are absolute cowards."



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