We Don't Negotiate with Terrorists... but We Do Pander to Bullies
There is such a sense of outrage when a terrorist organisation makes demands for money or the release of prisoners. Politicians make solemn speeches about the nature of the free world and make it sound as if the lives they are sacrificing are their own, rather than journalists, who were risking their lives in the search for truth, or the aid workers, who were providing support to those most in need.
And yet, when there is a call from a section of the community that has been proven to be corrupt and inhumane, politicians capitulate almost immediately. The recent retraction of the New South Wales Premier’s plan to ban greyhound racing after ‘responding to the community’ is a reflection of the double standards we have in the Western world and the empty rhetoric of politicians about respecting and enforcing the rights of all living creatures.
When the Premier made the historic announcement that greyhound racing was to be banned in New South Wales from 2017, animal rights groups rejoiced and the Liberal government, for once, offered some protection for those most vulnerable and exploited members of our country: animals. The decision sprung from the exposure of the conditions in this industry; in 2015, the ‘Making A Killing’ exposé on ABC’s Four Corners prompted an official parliamentary inquiry into the live baiting and corruption.
The findings of the inquiry included the occurrence of severe breaches of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 (NSW) by the industry. It revealed the realities of ‘wastage’ in racing: ‘the evidence suggests that somewhere between 48,891 and 68,448 dogs were killed because they were considered too slow to pay their way or were unsuitable for racing.’ And so, in an industry that solely profits bookmakers, breeders, punters and trainers, dogs are bred and destroyed purely for human pleasure and entertainment. Dogs that in every other case are considered loyal and irreplaceable companions. Dogs that have always been referred to as ‘man’s best friend’. Life, in the hands of these murderers, is anything but sacred; in fact, one breeder confessed that “Most of the time I’d drown the pups” that did not have “the instinct”. And the dogs that do have “the instinct”? They are encouraged, through violence and mistreatment by their handlers and live bait, to develop that aggression, against their very nature.
If the evidence given at the inquiry was not enough to convince the public that this industry was beyond redemption, veterinarians who had treated dogs in the industry came out in complete support of a greyhound ban: "I was disgusted by what I witnessed. I saw some horrific injuries and I saw some of the worst aspects of human behaviour too," said Dr Bryant. Amongst these, no doubt, were ad hoc and unprofessional treatments like ‘pin-firing’ performed by ‘muscle men’, unqualified but cheap veterinarian services.
And so, after the presentation of all this damning evidence, Mike Baird did the correct and conscionable thing and proposed a shut down of the industry. In fact, he claimed it was beyond cleaning up and in a Facebook post he rightly noted that ‘the industry is not capable, in the short or medium term, of reforming’.
After such a statement, then, how can a retraction of the ban and a reinstatement of such an industry be an action that anyone would endorse? The answer is, of course, that Baird was bullied into it by the National portion of the coalition and their conservative, unempathetic constituents who have campaigned hard for the preservation of such a blight on the Australian conscience. What are people who inflict terror on these poor defenceless animals but terrorists? And, Mr Baird, we do not negotiate with terrorists. Only this time, the sacrificial lambs will be anything but innocent.
Parkour teaches Literature and Language to high school students and writes fervently in her spare time. She loves a good story and a passionate argument. She currently lives in the country and longs for the buzz of the city.