Greyhounds: Rattenbury’s response offers no new cruelty evidence

GREENS leader and ACT government minister Shane Rattenbury appears to have none of the confirmed reports of issues regarding the mistreatment of greyhounds in the ACT that he told 2CC he had in an interview with presenter Chris Coleman yesterday.

Shane Rattenbury.

During the radio interview Mr Rattenbury said he was personally in possession of confirmed reports of animal cruelty, which this morning prompted the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club (CGRC) to report the minister to ACT police and the ACT Gambling & Racing Commission.

Greyhound Club lobbyist Kel Watt said Mr Rattenbury failed in his legal and moral responsibility to pass formation on to any relevant authority, including the RSPCA, the ACT police, the CGRC or the Gambling & Racing Commission.

“If Rattenbury has information, it is desperately concerning that at a time of the greatest scrutiny and pressure on the industry, he has chosen to withhold it. Revelations of even a single incident would have greatly damaged the industry he says he wishes to shut down. If an investigation by the police and commission finds he lied about holding information on animal cruelty, the CGRC will direct its lawyers to immediately commence legal action for his defamatory remarks.”

In a response to an earlier story on citynews.com.au, Mr Rattenbury appears to sidestep his earlier accusations of  abuse and cruelty of greyhounds and instead focuses on racing incidents listed in the recent Durkin report, the majority of which were minor injuries.

“The Greens do have a view that greyhound racing is an outdated industry that promotes animal exploitation. The ACT Greens have long argued for an end to this exploitative industry – by focusing on the welfare of the dogs and supporting the ACT workers to transition,” he says.

“That these advocates would try to suggest that there aren’t serious concerns associated with this exploitative industry is at best, naive—at worst, outright deceptive.

“The publicly available Durkin report outlined a range of concerning outcomes in relation to the greyhound industry the ACT. Among these, the report raised concerns for:

  • 42 greyhounds assessed by the on-track veterinarian for suspected injuries when racing at the CGRC. These greyhounds raced between January 2014 and December 2015 and none of them competed in another race or trial following their last race in Canberra.
  • 31 dogs are recorded as euthanised, or dead from natural or unknown causes. Seven were euthanised trackside following veterinarian inspection.
  • 17 of the other deaths occurred within 1-2 months of the dogs’ last race. 11 are noted as retired as pets, in re-homing programs, or having been transferred to a new owner. It is not clear in relation to some of these animals whether or not they have successfully been re-homed or simply admitted to the GRNSW Greyhounds as Pets (GAP) program. 

“As troubling as these concerns are, the Durkin report also found that from around 27,288 dogs that raced over the five years from 2012 to 2016:

  • 171 greyhounds experienced minor injuries;
  • 92 greyhounds experienced medium injuries;
  • 39 greyhounds experienced major injuries;
  • 26 greyhounds experienced catastrophic injuries – all of these were euthanised at the track on the day of racing.

“Now that the ACT is committed to winding down this exploitive industry, we will continue to encourage the government to work closely with local animal welfare groups as part of the transition. The Greens will also continue to work with the government to ensure strict animal welfare standards are in place for any trainers and breeders who continue to operate in the ACT.”

Here is the transcript of yesterdays 2CC interview:

Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman.

Chris Coleman: Shutting down greyhound racing when there hasn’t been in at least 25 years a proven case of cruelty by any greyhound trainer or owner or breeder in the ACT, so you’re going after them, some people perceive that as a soft target while the harder target of the bikie gangs aren’t getting sorted out.

Shane Rattenbury: Well, you know, when it comes to the record of the greyhound industry in the ACT we have had reports of issues here in the ACT and I think we’ve seen –

Chris Coleman: When Shane when? When were these reports? When were they confirmed because I cant find them, the greyhound club cant find them, Mary Durkin cant find them. Where are these confirmed reports?

Shane Rattenbury: I’ve had them put to me Chris; and I haven’t actually got the dates on me at the moment, but I’m happy to check up and follow that up with you later on, but –

Chris Coleman: – if you pass them on to me can I pass them on to the greyhound club because they don’t know about them either, and this is the problem –

Shane Rattenbury: – sure, sure. I’m happy to follow that up with you.

Chris Coleman: Ok, because this is the thing; if there have been these occasions then the greyhound club has been blindsided that they don’t have access to these complaints, because as I said, you’re going after them but there are people saying you should be spending time and effort going after other people.

The podcast can be accessed via www.2cc.net.au/podcasts/8445-shane-rattenbury-on-bikies-the-greyhound-racing-ban-and-sexual-assault-allegations-within-the-greens.html

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