Letters / Watching out for the welfare of greyhounds

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IN reference to Tim Gavel’s article “quillThe Risk of Greyhounds Going to the Dogs” (CN, November 17), we too have a concern about the welfare of dogs if the greyhound racing industry continues in the ACT.

But for different reasons and certainly NOT because of any direct correlation between current government funding and the industry’s spend on animal welfare.

The greyhound industry is self-regulated. Racing stewards for Canberra-based races are from Greyhounds Racing NSW and they can overrule a vet on the racetrack.

Revelations from the NSW Special Commission of Inquiry into Greyhound Racing produced copies of emails where the chief steward told his subordinates to doctor reports to downplay injuries. This same individual has overseen races in Canberra in recent times.

The local industry itself decides how often it swabs for prohibited substances and conducts its own investigations for any issues with racing integrity. Furthermore, starting in February this year, public access to the race steward reports was turned off making it even harder to monitor any animal welfare concerns independently.

As far as the cost of animal welfare, if one actually reads their financial statements for 2014/15 (last year’s is still unavailable), “animal welfare” costs appear to be less than 10 per cent of their total operating and administration expenses.

Finally, the reason why the gambling aspect has not been raised as a major issue is because the financial benefit to the ACT is minimal, particularly since there appeared to only be 12 trainers who were residents of the territory in 2015. If the $90-million-a-week figure suggested in the article is accurate, then the local industry wouldn’t need any government funding to survive. That’s because at $90 million for 40 weeks, it would be responsible for generating about $1.4 billion more  revenue than Tabcorp reports in its own financial statements.

Purely looking at publicly available information, evidence would suggest that animal welfare is not a financial priority now and therefore is unlikely to change when the ACT government cuts funding as promised at the end of this financial year.

Tammy Ven Dange, CEO, RSPCA ACT

‘Unflattering’ depiction of Muslims

I NORMALLY don’t get “offended” and feel the need to write to the editor, but Paul Dorin’s cartoon in the November 10 edition showing the boat people irritated me.

Irritating because it is lazy, inaccurate and continuing the spread of lumping all Muslims (because everyone from the Middle East is Muslim) as a homogenous group and generally depicted in an ugly and unflattering light.

In this case the woman is wearing a burqa only worn in some parts of Afghanistan, the man could be wearing traditional Pakistani clothes, and has the beady-eyed, big-nosed look (which all people from Syria to Sri Lanka must have).

Sorry for sounding smart, but it’s just lazy and harks back to 1945 when I’m sure newspapers were running stories and probably highly offensive cartoons of hook-nosed Jews fleeing Europe, this is 2016 not 1945 and it’s Canberra.

I am Iranian and came here by plane with my parents in the 80s. The reason I’m sensitive to these sort of cartoons is because of the stupid questions I field on occasion from people who generally don’t know much about the world I came from and what they know is a gross and inaccurate stereotype a lot of the time. One of my friend’s fathers asked her “where is Ilnaz’s background from?” and when she replied “from Iran” she told me her father said “ ohhh but she’s really pretty”. (!!!)

I can’t help but think that the portrayal of Middle Eastern people in the media like this plays a small part…

At the end of the day, the people that came by boat to Australia from Indonesia don’t look like this- in fact no Syrians or Iraqis fleeing ISIS have come through this channel (I assume the cartoon is meant to represent these people). Even a basic Google image search shows this – in fact it is a heterogenous group, culturally, economically, ethnically and in faith (if any).

I accept that creating a cartoon on this issue is a difficult task, but this particular one didn’t get it right.

Ilnaz Roomiani, via email

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