Stop Development of Murray Bridge Greyhound Racing Track

  • By: Melanie Easton
  • Target: Development Assessment Commission South Australia, Rural City of Murray Bridge Council, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, SA Government, Australia

Greyhound Racing SA and the Murray Bridge City Council have recently announced plans to build a $6m greyhound racing track in Murray Bridge East, South Australia. Full details of the development plan can be found here: http://www.dac.sa.gov.au/publications


Greyhound racing, while deemed 'entertainment,' is a relentlessly cruel industry that has been rapidly losing the support of the Australian public, and will continue to do so as the public grows increasingly more aware of what goes on behind the scenes of this cruel industry. The recent Four Corners exposé on live-baiting and ABC's disturbing report on greyhound exports have been especially damning for the industry in the past year. February 7th, 2016 saw nationwide protests with thousands of Australians calling for greyhound racing to be shut down entirely.

Australia is one of eight remaining countries in the world where commercial greyhound racing exists. It has been banned in many countries, including 39 US states, with concerned citizens and animal welfare advocates pushing to have it banned in remaining states.

Industry statistics are nothing short of horrific:

  • 18,000 healthy dogs killed in Australia annually (retired racers or those who were too slow and never made it to the track)

  • An estimated 200 dogs are injured racing each week (broken hocks, legs, head trauma, etc) with an average of 5 dogs a week dying on the tracks.

  • The Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) only succeeds in rehoming about 1000 greyhounds annually, with a few hundred others rehomed by various other independent adoption groups. Average greyhound lifespan is 12-14 years - 9/10 dogs born into the greyhound racing industry will NOT live a full life.

  • Perfectly healthy dogs who are unable to find homes after racing (or having never raced) are euthanized or worse: http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/some-of-the-55-greyhounds-in-mass-grave-may-have-been-beaten-to-death/news-story/240bad5d19ec5bdbb786d02ee44a0ac5

  • The greyhound racing industry was revealed by Four Corners this year to routinely use 'live baiting' in the training of greyhounds.

  • Dogs are repeatedly doped with steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

  • The racing industry and many unscrupulous trainers/owners/breeders still export hundreds of greyhounds annually to foreign countries where they are kept in horrific conditions and ultimately killed. (See ABC's 7:30 report on greyhound exports.)


MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE CRUELTY OF THE RACING INDUSTRY CAN BE FOUND HERE: http://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/greyhound-racing.php

Here is nationwide media coverage of industry cruelty and calls to shut down the greyhound racing industry (just a few examples - many more exist):

http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/rspca-urges-government-to-ban-greyhound-racing-after-disturbing-revelations-20160203-gmkkrg.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-10/federal-government-under-pressure-to-ban-greyhound-exports/7018216

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/slow-greyhounds-exported-for-slaughter/news-story/740a875be00590c681b97ab93e9e6622

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-29/greyhound-racing-rally-aims-to-influence-inquiry-outcome/7123826

Public awareness of what goes on behind the scenes of this industry is growing rapidly. A $6m investment in this dying industry is foolhardy and socially irresponsible at best, and utterly cruel at worst.

Furthermore, the proposal offers little benefit to the community of Murray Bridge.

The proposal states: "There would also be staff employed at the facility, however these employees would work on a part-time or casual basis." So the track will not contribute significantly to local employment. 

Furthermore, the proposal states: "The number of patrons and spectators attending racing events is generally very low (not a high demand spectator sport). The business plan of GRSA is primarily targeted at the participant base and not patrons or spectators."

This track would effectively exist to further facilitate online gambling revenue and benefit GRSA, with little to no benefit whatsoever to the city of Murray Bridge.

Please sign this petition to call on the Development Assessment Commission South Australia, the Rural City of Murray Bridge Council, the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, and the South Australian Government to recognize that this is a cruel, outdated industry and STOP the development of a new greyhound racing track in Murray Bridge.

Protesters are also encouraged to write to the following people/bodies to voice their concerns (please note that FEBRUARY 18 is the deadline for making your voice heard in this issue!) Please feel free to use any of the text in this petition in your letter!

All signatures to this petition will be submitted, along with a letter, to the following:

Development Assessment Commission South Australia
dacadmin@sa.gov.au

Rural City of Murray Bridge Council
council@murraybridge.sa.gov.au

Brenton Lewis, Mayor of Murray Bridge
mayor@murraybridge.sa.gov.au

Leon Bignell MP, Minister for Racing
ministerleonbignell@sa.gov.au

Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure
Stephen Mullighan, Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
MinisterMullighan@sa.gov.au

Geoff Brock MP, Minister for Regional Development
pirsa.ministerbrock@sa.gov.au

And the following South Australian Senators:

senator.bernardi@aph.gov.au
senator.birmingham@aph.gov.au
senator.edwards@aph.gov.au
senator.fawcett@aph.gov.au
senator.ruston@aph.gov.au
senator.wong@aph.gov.au
senator.gallacher@aph.gov.au
senator.mcewen@aph.gov.au
senator.hanson-young@aph.gov.au
senator.wright@aph.gov.au
senator.simms@aph.gov.au
senator.xenophon@aph.gov.au

THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT.

Submission RE: Proposed development of new greyhound racing track in Murray Bridge by Greyhound Racing SA. 


To the Development Assessment Commission of South Australia: 


I am writing to voice my opposition to the proposed new greyhound racing track in Murray Bridge, SA. I strongly urge you to stop this development from going forward.


Animal Welfare Concerns 


Greyhound racing, while deemed 'entertainment,' is a relentlessly cruel industry that has been rapidly losing the support of the Australian public and will continue to do so as the public grows increasingly more aware of what goes on behind the scenes. The recent Four Corners exposé on live-baiting and ABC's disturbing report on greyhound exports have been especially damning for the industry in the past year. February 7th, 2016 saw nationwide protests with thousands of Australians calling for greyhound racing to be shut down entirely.


Australia is one of eight remaining countries in the world where commercial greyhound racing exists. It has been banned in many countries, including 39 US states, with concerned citizens and animal welfare advocates pushing to have it banned in remaining states.


Industry statistics are nothing short of horrific:



  • 18,000 healthy dogs killed in Australia annually (retired racers or those who were too slow and never made it to the track) 



  • An estimated 200 dogs are injured racing each week (broken hocks, legs, head trauma, etc.) with an average of 5 dogs a week dying on the tracks. 



  • The Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) only succeeds in rehoming about 1000 greyhounds annually, with a few hundred others rehomed by various other independent adoption groups. Average greyhound lifespan is 12-14 years - 9/10 dogs born into the greyhound racing industry will NOT live a full life. 




  • The greyhound racing industry was revealed by Four Corners this year to routinely use 'live baiting' in the training of greyhounds. 



  • Dogs are repeatedly doped with steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.



  • The racing industry (and many unscrupulous trainers/owners/breeders) still export hundreds of greyhounds annually to foreign countries where they are kept in horrific conditions and ultimately killed. (See ABC's 7:30 report on greyhound exports.) 


More information about the cruelty of the racing industry can be found here: http://www.animalsaustralia.org/issues/greyhound-racing.php


Nationwide media coverage of industry cruelty and calls to shut down the greyhound racing industry (just a few examples - many more exist): 


http://www.canberratimes.com.au/act-news/rspca-urges-government-to-ban-greyhound-racing-after-disturbing-revelations-20160203-gmkkrg.html


http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-10/federal-government-under-pressure-to-ban-greyhound-exports/7018216


http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/nation/slow-greyhounds-exported-for-slaughter/news-story/740a875be00590c681b97ab93e9e6622


http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-01-29/greyhound-racing-rally-aims-to-influence-inquiry-outcome/7123826


Public awareness of what goes on behind this industry is growing rapidly. A $6m investment in this dying industry is foolhardy and socially irresponsible at best, and utterly cruel at worst. 


No Benefit to the Community of Murray Bridge


Animal welfare issues aside, the proposal offers little benefit to the community of Murray Bridge.


The mayor of Murray Bridge, Mr Brenton Lewis, has said that "The new greyhound racing facility will positively impact on employment and recreation opportunities." 


However, the proposal states that the track will operate 2 days a week, for 6 hours each day - a grand total of 12 operational hours per week. It goes on to say that "There would also be staff employed at the facility, however these employees would work on a part-time or casual basis". There are no permanent employment opportunities here for the Murray Bridge community.


Furthermore, the proposal states: "The number of patrons and spectators attending racing events is generally very low (not a high demand spectator sport). The business plan of GRSA is primarily targeted at the participant base and not patrons or spectators." There are no significant "recreation opportunities" for the community here, apart from twice weekly gambling - hardly what one would consider a beneficial activity to the community, and certainly not a family-friendly one. It is baffling that Mayor Lewis has claimed recreation as a benefit while GRSA expects very little patronage at all.


This track would effectively exist to further facilitate online gambling revenue and benefit GRSA. The argument that it will "benefit the community" is not at all supported by the details in the proposal. An additional gambling facility is in fact likely to be detrimental to the community, a substantial portion of which is considered to be 'low income' according to census statistics.


Mr Matt Corby, chief executive officer of GRSA has offered as a rebuttal to some of the above that the new track will create "construction jobs". This may perhaps be the case, but if this short-term benefit is their primary argument for the creation of a new track, it's a terribly weak one. There are many other types of facilities or venues that could be constructed in that space that would generate construction jobs, as well as provide full-time permanent employment or recreation opportunities for the community.


--


I strongly urge the Development Assessment Commission of South Australia, the Rural City of Murray Bridge Council, the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, and the South Australian Government to recognize that this is a cruel, outdated industry and STOP the development of a new greyhound racing track in Murray Bridge.


Thank you for your time and consideration of this very serious matter.

Update #3about a month ago
On 12 May 2016, the DAC met to discuss the track proposal. They said the issue of animal welfare was outside their scope and approved the track for construction. In the wake of the NSW ban, Greyhound Racing SA and Racing Minister Leon Bignell refuse to disclose the number of dogs killed in SA, and RSPCA SA is calling for a Parliamentary Inquiry: http://www.rspcasa.org.au/issues/greyhounds/
PLEASE KEEP SIGNING & SHARING! All responses will now be sent to Leon Bignell & the SA govt.
Update #26 months ago
The petition has been mentioned by ABC, The Advertiser, Ten Eyewitness News and more! Regarding a statement by the DAC that the petition was not submitted – I called to clarify, and Planning Officer Daniel Pluck confirmed that my letter and the petition were received. He said signatures were not considered individual submissions, but the petition as a whole was included as part of mine. They received 190 in total. GRSA will respond at an upcoming meeting with the DAC. Keep signing and sharing!
Update #17 months ago
I submitted all the signatures and comments received before Feb 18, along with a letter, to the Development Assessment Commission; Rural City of Murray Bridge Council; Mayor Lewis, Ministers Bignell, Mullighan, and Brock; and the South Australia Senators. The letter linked to the petition so that the decision makers can keep checking the number of signatures and new comments. So keep signing, keep sharing, keep writing, keep the pressure on. NO NEW TRACK IN MURRAY BRIDGE!
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