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Live baiting finding could damage local greyhound industry

NORTH Coast greyhound racing authorities say a live baiting finding in the region could severely damage the industry.

Grafton Greyhound Racing Club president John Corrigan said a Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) welfare officer was checking trainers in the region, but would be surprised if there were any adverse findings.

"He has been through the trainers at Grafton and on Wednesday will be visiting another four trainers," Mr Corrigan said.

"They are going through freezers and housing to check how the dogs are being fed and housed."

Last night on ABC TV the program Four Corners found multiple examples around Australia of greyhound trainers using live animals to give their dogs the experience of a kill.

Mr Corrigan said in 35 years of training and racing dogs in the area he had no experience of any of these activities.

He said the trainers caught in the crackdown would be a minority of people in the sport, which was making good progress on its animal rights record.

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"GRNSW are moving with the times on animal welfare.

"It's not just live animal baiting. They're also improving how dogs are treated. You have the GAPS program finding dogs homes after they've retired."

Mr Corrigan said any adverse local findings would hurt the local industry.

"We're just getting back onto our feet on the Northern Rivers," he said.

"If they find trainers here using these methods it will set us back."

Mr Corrigan said he would have no sympathy for anyone caught live animal baiting here or elsewhere.

"I think it's a $20,000 fine and two years in jail if you're caught," he said. "And in my opinion you've got off lightly."

Mr Corrigan said the ABC has a track record of sensationalising animal rights stories.

"They like to sensationalise these stories. They did it with the live cattle exports, the horse jumps and drivers flogging trotters," he said.

"Now it's the greyhounds' turn."

He was also sceptical about claims these people represented a "dark underbelly" of the sport.

"Five people have been caught in Western Sydney," he said. "It would only be a small percentage of people involved."

Yesterday GRNSW said it would not comment on a compliance investigation but the media spotlight on the industry meant some information had to be released.

"Greyhound Racing NSW is aware allegations of live baiting within the national greyhound racing industry will be aired on (last night's) Four Corners program," a source said.

"Live baiting is a cruel, abhorrent and archaic practice and anyone found engaging in this act needs to be punished to the full extent of the law.

"It is illegal under the Greyhound Racing Rules as well as the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, with anyone found guilty facing up to five years in jail and a $22,000 fine under the Act.

"GRNSW has already stood down six registered participants for alleged live baiting offences under the Greyhound Racing Rules and the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act."

Topics:  greyhound racing


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