Baird government and industry at loggerheads over greyhound reform plan

A dispute has erupted between the greyhound racing industry and the Baird government over a key aspect of a reform plan just three days after the sport was given a sensational reprieve from closure.

As part of his backdown on plans to close down the industry from July 1 next year, Premier Mike Baird on Tuesday announced a new panel would advise the government on how it should be reformed.

Among its terms of reference was that the panel, chaired by former premier Morris Iemma, abide by guarantees given by the industry to the government in a letter on August 9.

''A controlled breeding program'' is planned for the greyhound industry.  Photo: Supplied

''A controlled breeding program'' is planned for the greyhound industry. Photo: Supplied

They included "a controlled breeding program, including the immediate restriction of 2000 greyhounds annually for NSW racing purposes".

But at its first meeting on Friday, the chief executive of the NSW Greyhound Industry Racing Alliance, Brenton Scott, told the panel he had reached agreement with the government that the 2000 figure be scrapped.

In its place, he said, the government had agreed to give more flexibility as long as the numbers bred were balanced with those raced and rehomed.

But on Friday afternoon a spokesman for Mr Baird said: "There is no agreement.

"The guarantees put forward by the industry in its letter of 9 August are those being considered by the panel," he said.

Mr Scott told Fairfax Media the agreement with the government is "clear-cut".

"[The cap] is very much a peripheral issue and it's not central to the commitment of the alliance to have a controlled breeding program that ensures we don't breed excess to our reasonable racing needs," he said.

"And that we set in place as quickly as possible whole of life rehoming targets for all greyhounds where their temperament suits. That's no different to the RSPCA's position."

Mr Scott added that "not every canine walking the streets is able to be rehomed into a domestic situation".

"We'll look to minimise that by better socialisation and better codes of practice. It's a serious commitment but we have to be realistic at the same time."

Greens MP Mehreen Faruqi accused the industry of "backing away from animal welfare promises".

"Having caved into the greyhound racing and gambling industry and giving into bullies, Premier Baird is now faced with an entirely predictable situation of them backing away from their promises," she said.

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