Greyhound industry hopes life bans will save sport
WITH five Ipswich-based trainers receiving life bans and six still under investigation, Ipswich Greyhound Racing Club manager Merv Page just hopes the sport can recover.
Tom Noble, Tony McCabe, Deborah Arnold, Reg Kay and James Harding have had their training careers ended after being found guilty of using live animals as bait to train their greyhounds.
All are based in the Lowood, Coominya, Churchable area.
Kay had his name removed from the Queensland Greyhound Racing Hall of Fame while six other Ipswich regional trainers remain suspended as the investigation continues.
Page backed the life bans of the trainers, provided the evidence was beyond doubt they had actively been involved in live baiting.
"I don't think anyone in Queensland other than those investigating has seen all the evidence," he said.
"All I know is that nothing like this has happened at the Ipswich club.
"Staff are always told if they are proven to have done anything like that it will be instant dismissal."
Page believes the bans will be enough of a deterrent to ensure the practice of live-baiting is stopped.
"It will go a long way towards it," he said.
"Nobody is going to openly do it if they are going to get banned for life.
"It's not worth the risk.''
Page hopes the industry can recover, with sponsorship and prizemoney taking a hit since ABC's Four Corners program exposed the live-baiting at Noble's training facility on February 16.
"They've taken half the appearance money off us," Page said.
"Five percent of prizemoney and 10 percent of the breeders' bonus.
"Some people might run 10 dogs a week.
"That would earn them $400, which is now $200.
"For one person that's costing them $10,000 a year."
While Page believes many honest trainers are being punished for the actions of a few, he concedes the entire industry must bear some responsibility.
"If we've caused the problem through inadvertently not knowing what's going on we probably should pay," he said.
"But 90 percent of the industry is paying for something it hasn't been doing
"There's a lot of things in other sports not getting as crucified as we are."
- Life bans: Tom Noble (Churchable), Tony McCabe (Coominya), Deborah Arnold (Churchable), Reg Kay (Lowood) and James Harding (Coominya).
- Under investigation: Gerri Crisci (Atkinsons Dam), Anthony Hess (Camira), Stephen Sherwell (Thornton), Steven Arnold (Churchable), Mick Emery (Atkinsons Dam) and Samantha Roberts (Atkinsons Dam).