Broken Hill club not involved in cruel practice: former president
Tuesday, 17th February, 2015
By Andrew Robertson
The illegal practice of live baiting within the national greyhound racing industry does not extend to Broken Hill, according to a former long-serving club president.
Allegations of widespread live baiting - where small live animals are used in the training of greyhounds - were aired on the ABC Four Corner’s program last night following a months’ long investigation.
The claims have rocked the racing industry and already led to Greyhound Racing NSW standing down six people for alleged live baiting offences following property raids by the RSPCA NSW.
Victoria’s and Queensland’s racing bodies also have taken similar action.
While the allegations threaten to severely damage the industry’s reputation, former BH greyhound racing club president Fred Sweet believes live baiting is not used in Broken Hill.
Mr Sweet, who served as the club’s president for 18 years, said while it may have been used in the past, the threat of heavy fines and suspension meant people were “now not game”.
Besides, trainers and owners could take their chargers for a walk “out bush” where they would encounter all manner of animals to give them the “urge to chase”, he said.
“Out here there’s not really the reason (to use live baiting).”
Mr Sweet, who spent 49 years in the industry, said he wasn’t really surprised by the allegations and suggested city-based trainers and owners were most likely behind them.
“There are two types of people in the racing industry - the needy and the greedy.”
The 76-year-old said he would tune into the ABC program out of interest.
“It will be interesting to watch.”
The Broken Hill Greyhound Racing Club yesterday said it could not comment on the issue as it had been told to direct all media enquiries to Greyhound Racing NSW.
“We’ve been advised to say nothing,” club secretary Sharyn Gray said.
“You speak with them if you want anything.”
In a statement, Greyhound Racing NSW described live baiting as a cruel, abhorrent and archaic practice, and anyone found engaging in the act needed 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,” the statement said.
“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.”