NSW Premier Mike Baird has reversed the ban on greyhound racing after a cabinet meeting on Tuesday morning.
The unprecedented backflip comes after heavy criticism on the ban from The Daily Telegraph, radio shock jock Alan Jones, NSW Labor, and of course the NSW greyhound racing industry. Political analysts are reporting the reversal could be an attempt by Baird to win back his waning popularity which has dropped to 39% according to the latest Newspoll figures.
There have been suggestions that NSW National MPs were also threatening to drop their party leader, Deputy Premier Troy Grant, if the Baird government didn’t reverse the ban. Several National MPs have already stated a total ban would “devastate” their electorates.
Replacing a full ban, the NSW government’s new policy will focus on reducing animal cruelty in the greyhound racing industry. The new policy includes measures such as increased funding for re-homing dogs, reducing the number of racing tracks and tougher penalties for those found in breach of regulations.
The new policy includes:
- breeding capped at 2,000
- the number of tracks reduced
- the number of races reduced
- increased funding for greyhound re-homing services
- $1,500 bond for each dog bred
Mike Baird originally introduced the ban on greyhound racing in July this year after a special commission revealed nearly 70,000 greyhounds had been killed and buried in mass graves over the last 12 years for ‘not being competitive enough’. The commission followed an expose by the ABC’s Four Corners program in February which revealed how the illegal practice of ‘live-baiting’ was rife in the greyhound racing industry.
Mike Baird has yet to address the media.