I resurrected my initial response to the McHugh report. A bit long though.
My initial view is that the “quality” is so bad it would take an enormous amount of work to discredit. It defies belief how $15 million could be justified on it.
For an example, I decided to start with a quote from the opening remarks of Rushton concerning social licence, and add my responses. It did not take much time to establish facts and background (though there are areas where there are no definitive figures).
The ease by which I was able to get facts makes it obvious that Rushton did nothing to validate the facts that support his social licence argument. Much are straight takes off anti-greyhound sites, with no verification. But Rushton disingenuously chose to present this as fact…
Internationally there are a number of jurisdictions where greyhound racing has been banned.
What is the number? Why not state which countries, or at least some. If referring to US states, it would be 9, being Maine, Virginia, Vermont, Idaho, Washington, Nevada, North Carolina, Massachusetts & Colorado.
Australia is one of only eight countries worldwide where commercial dog racing is still permitted.
Incorrect. It seems that most countries don’t even have rules covering greyhound racing; they either just don’t operate at a commercial level or don’t have an interest. (Using the flawed logic of the statement, one could similarly state that there are only 10 countries where commercial cricket is permitted).
The implication of using the word “still” implies that some countries have banned it, which is not the case.
- In the United States, 39 states have banned commercial dog racing because it is financially unsustainable and because of serious welfare concerns.
Incorrect. This is a straight take from anti-greyhound racing groups, and was never validated by the inquiry.
Not only are the numbers of bans questionable, there have been no bans due to financial unsustainability, and only 2 for welfare reasons (Idaho and Vermont, which each operated only one track).
The true position is that most bans derive from wagering. For example, Maine, Virginia & Washington never had organised greyhound racing, and decided to prevent its establishment due to potentially adverse wagering impacts.
There are several examples where track closures have been due to takeover by casino groups or due to changing consumer tastes, but these do not represent bans due to financial unsustainability.
- The first bans came into place in 1993, some 22 years ago.
Incorrect, It was North Carolina in the 1950s.
Commercial dog racing has also ceased in four other states, although they have not yet made dog racing illegal in any statute. Track closures have nothing to do with legality; these mainly have arisen from economic circumstances; mainly being the incursion of casinos.
- As I speak, there are only seven states where commercial dog racing continues but it is about to become six. On 1 January 2016 the Gulf Greyhound Park in La Marque will be closed. It is the last track in Texas. Greyhound racing in Texas will come to an end.
Incorrect. There are at least 11 US states in which there is commercial greyhound racing, though it is contended that commercial greyhound racing is legal in 16 ie Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, New Hampshire, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Texas, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
And greyhound racing continues to operate in Texas. There was a temporary layoff while new agreements between track owners and breeders were negotiated, and fairer wagering arrangements were revised due to competition from casinos. This was purely an issue relating to commercial terms (as seems to be the case with US sports), and nothing to do with social licence.
- The point I am seeking to make, Commissioner, is that in the states I have identified stakeholders in the industry withdrew the industry’s social licence to operate and the industry came to an end. Industries that use and might abuse animals require a social licence to operate."
To summarise: The contention that there were precedents of withdrawal of social licence for other closures of the industry is unsupportable. The conclusion is undermined by falsehoods, unvalidated statements, and dishonest reasoning.
The basis of the social licence argument is therefore fatally flawed.
Won’t go over what I managed to do on the main report, so will just note that the inquiry is also deficient in the following respects
• imbalanced selected of witnesses
• reliance on witnesses who misrepresented their qualifications
• failure to check validity of sources for data and information that was relied upon