The Government of New South Wales (NSW) has faced accusations of undermining the new greyhound watchdog of the state by forcing it to become dependent on funding from the industry.
The greyhound welfare integrity commission of the state was created after some evidence of live baiting and animal cruelty since race dogs had been killed when they were unable to participate in any more races or were not useful for races. The findings fuelled a ban of the industry in 2016 but it was lifted three months later following much criticism.
At the time, the industry made a pledge that it will ensure greater regulation and oversight, including by the integrity commission. However, this promise has not put an end to the allegations that greyhounds that no longer participate in races are still disappearing in suspicious circumstances. The charity organisation Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds has warned that the work of such a regulatory body is being undermined by the loss of its CEO, uncertainties associated with the funding and a pending inquiry headed by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers party’s leader Robert Borsak.
According to figures of the integrity commission, its overall grants and contributions were reduced by almost $1 million in 2018/2019 from $16.9 million to $15.4 million. The direct contributions of the Government that are categorised only as transitional, are being cut, which makes the regulator even more dependent on funding from the industry.
For the time being, more than 50% of the commission’s funding is derived from Greyhound Racing NSW.
Greyhound Racing Regulator Reliant on Industry Funding, Charity Says
Dennis Anderson, the president of the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds, explained that such funding would make the regulator reliant on the industry it was supposed to oversee and control. He shared concerns that such practices tarnish the reputation of watchdogs that are supposed to be regulating the industry.
Furthermore, Mr Anderson has suggested a new model of funding in order to protect the regulatory body’s integrity. He unveiled the idea that the entire funding of the commission should be assured by revenue generated through the point-of-consumption tax paid by the gambling industry. For the time being, that tax constitutes only part of the commission’s funding.
The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds’ president also shared some concerns about the departure of the CEO Judith Lind, who become subject to an extensive campaign of attack by 2GB talkback radio station. Earlier in 2020, the Ray Hadley from 2GB unveiled allegations that animal activists had “infiltrated” the commission, making it irredeemable.
Currently, the commission is facing the possibility of an inquiry to be held by the select committee of the NSW greyhound welfare integrity commission that is being chaired by Mr Borsak. The latter has been known as a keen supporter of the greyhound industry.