The most shocking reaction to the ABC’s exposure of the sickening cruelty at the heart of the greyhound racing industry has come from senior Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce, who instead of criticising those who have engaged in illegal practices such as live baiting, attacked those who exposed it.

One of Joyce’s Coalition colleagues, former vet Chris Back, has put forward legislation proposing that people causing “economic damage” by trespassing to obtain evidence of illegal or unethical practices be jailed for up to 20 years. Another of Joyce’s colleagues, his parliamentary secretary Richard Colbeck, wants to amend competition laws to ban people from calling for boycotts of companies.

Joyce and his colleagues, it seems, are eager to protect the rights of people who torture animals, while believing those who expose them to scrutiny should be locked up and fined.

“Sports” that exploit animals are reprehensible enough. But greyhound racing is a bizarre kind of mediaeval legacy, one that has long been associated with well-evidenced claims of the systematic abuse of both the dogs themselves and other animals, including the wholesale slaughter of dogs deemed not good enough to race.

There are, of course, many participants in the industry who treat their animals well and avoid unethical and illegal practices such as live baiting and doping. But the cruelty of greyhound racing will be systemic as long people can make money from it. It should be banned.

Peter Fray

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