Discover more from Murray Bridge News
Spotlight falls on greyhound racing in Murray Bridge
The local greyhound racing club and council have both pledged to support an inquiry into the industry following recent allegations of animal cruelty.
Locals support locals – that’s why this recent post is now free to read. Your support can help Murray Bridge News tell important local stories. Subscribe today.
Murray Bridge’s greyhound club and city council have both pledged their support for an inquiry into the scandal-struck racing industry.
Premier Peter Malinauskas launched the inquiry on Monday of last week, following recent revelations of animal cruelty on the property of two Murray Bridge trainers.
It will be led by Graham Ashton, a former Victoria Police Commissioner whose father was a hall-of-fame secretary of the Adelaide Greyhound Racing Club.
Murray Bridge’s councillors threw their support behind it at a meeting that night.
Murray Bridge Greyhound Racing Club’s response has been more guarded; club officials have declined to comment.
Locals support locals. Your support helps Murray Bridge News tell important local stories.
Instead, Greyhound Racing SA issued a statement on the club’s behalf.
“The greyhound racing community at Murray Bridge is very close knit, so naturally we were as shocked and appalled as everyone else by this vision,” the statement said.
“Like GRSA, we welcome the inquiry because we are always looking for ways to improve for the benefit of our club and the sport we are all so passionate about.
“Our hope is that the inquiry will demonstrate the care and commitment shown by those involved in the greyhound racing industry and help us to strengthen it for the future.”
‘The Rural City of Murray Bridge has zero tolerance for what we have seen recently’
At their meeting on August 14, Murray Bridge’s councillors voted to formally pledge their support for the inquiry out of a sense of “moral duty”, as Cr Karen Eckermann described it.
“We’re a big greyhound racing community,” she said.
“(It’s important) to publicly say we have zero tolerance for this sort of behaviour.”
While she would personally prefer the industry to be banned, she said, she hoped the inquiry would lead to more independent oversight and reduce harm to greyhounds.
Cr Airlie Keen agreed that it was worth taking a stand.
“Normally I probably wouldn’t embark too much into this kind of matter, but we do have a major greyhound racing facility in our community ... and there are a lot of greyhound breeders and racers in our community,” Cr Airlie Keen said.
“This is a relevant issue for our community.”
Only Cr Clem Schubert argued that it was not the council’s duty to get involved.
Inquiry will look into greyhound racing’s culture and oversight
Over the next three months, Mr Ashton will investigate:
the industry’s operations, culture, governance and practices
how it is regulated
whether a different regulatory model would work better
He will report back to the state Minister for Recreation, Sport and Racing by November 30.
“I want to hear from all stakeholders across the greyhound racing and animal welfare sectors,” he said.
“Clearly there is a great deal of concern in the community regarding recent reporting of alleged mistreatment of greyhounds.
“I hope this inquiry will ensure the greyhound racing industry is best placed to operate with integrity, in accord with industry best practice, and with animal welfare at the forefront.”
Premier Peter Malinauskas said he did not intend to ban greyhound racing.
He just wanted to be sure the industry was clean, well regulated and focused on animal welfare.
“We’ve long been assured that instances like this do not happen in the (South Australian) greyhound racing industry,” he said.
“But in light of the available evidence, we’re not prepared to take those assurances at face value.”
Trainers Tony and Lisa Rasmussen are already scheduled to face charges levelled by Greyhound Racing SA in relation to a video of alleged animal cruelty at their property; and could be charged by police under the Animal Welfare Act if found guilty.