New South Wales premier Mike Baird announcement today that the greyhound industry will be closed completely from July next year has been met with a mixed reaction.
The ACT quickly followed suit, announcing that greyhound racing would also be banned in the nation's capital.
Mr Baird's ruling came in response to the findings of a Special Commission of Inquiry, which were handed to the state government last week. The Inquiry found that in the last 12 years in NSW, between 49,000 and 68,000 dogs were killed because they weren't considered quick enough to win races.
Commissioner Michael McHugh recommended Parliament consider shutting down the industry.
"As a humane and responsible government, we are left with no acceptable course of action except to close this industry down," Mr Baird said in a statement.
"This is the inevitable conclusion to be drawn from the appalling revelations in Mr McHugh's report and his considered view that any other measures are unlikely to protect animals from further cruelty."
The ban will come into effect on July 1, 2017.
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr took to Facebook to explain his decision to follow NSW's lead.
"Having had an initial look at the NSW report, we agree with the decision of the NSW government," Barr wrote. "There is no future for this industry in the ACT.
"We will consider the findings of the NSW report before announcing a process to end the practice of greyhound racing in the ACT.
"The findings from the Special Commission of Inquiry into the NSW greyhound racing industry are damning.
"The Government cannot continue to support an industry that is turning a blind eye to the sort of behaviour and cruelty uncovered by the Special Commission of Inquiry.
"It is untenable for the ACT Government to continue allowing, and financially supporting the practice of greyhound racing."
Many responses to the industry shutdown were supportive when discussing the welfare of the animals, but there were major concerns of the economic repercussions and job losses associated with such a sizeable move.
RSPCA NSW is ecstatic to announce that Greyhound Racing will be BANNED in NSW. pic.twitter.com/s6LMNr4pnK— RSPCA NSW (@RSPCANSW) July 7, 2016
Mike Baird said despite the fact there were undoubtedly good people working in greyhound racing, the industry as a whole had let them down and left no choice but for him to implement the ban.
Speaking on 2GB radio this afternoon, Baird said Commissioner McHugh was astounded even after the ABC exposed malpractice in the industry, live baiting continued.
"How you could do anything other than respond the way we have today I don't know," Mr Baird said.
"There are good people in this industry that have done the right thing ... but as a collective the industry has let them down.
"What is clear, and what was quite incredible in this report was that even after those revelations (made first on ABC's Four Corners programme), live baiting continued, and justice McHugh found it incredible and he asked for additional time because he found it extraordinary.
"I don't think anyone can imagine and certainly until I saw this report I was not in any way aware that every greyhound that is bred for racing, between 50 and 70 per cent of them are slaughtered because they're not fast enough.
"This can't go on, it can't go on."
Such a realisation was enough to jolt the Premier into action. He said he would regret it if one day he looked back on his time as the NSW leader without having done anything about this issue.
"I think you could, for all types of reasons, try and squib this decision," Mr Baird said.
"On this, when you read the report and you're confronted with the facts, you have to do what is right ... this won't be a popular thing to do but it's the right thing."
When asked what would happen to Sydney dog track Wentworth Park, the Premier was adamant it would not be used for residential purposes. He said the community would be consulted on what to do with the land.
Deputy Premier Troy Grant praised Mr McHugh and said no stone had been left "unturned" in his report "that shone a light on sickening animal mistreatment".
"NSW is the first Australian state to ban greyhound racing but, as Mr McHugh notes, we are following in the footsteps of so many jurisdictions across the United States and the world which have banned greyhound racing to protect animal welfare," Mr Grant said.
From July 1 next year the government will roll out a transition plan for the NSW greyhound industry, including:
• A welfare plan for existing greyhounds, including opportunities for rehoming;
• An adjustment package for industry participants; and
• A transition arrangement for existing Greyhound Racing NSW assets that will ensure they are used for open public space, alternative sporting facilities or other community use.
The government will prepare and consult on legislation to be presented to Parliament to cease the industry's operation and to appoint an administrator for Greyhound Racing NSW.
What will happen to the dogs?
Animal rights groups have praised the NSW government's decision to ban greyhound racing, but say they hope the government will stick with its pledge of rehoming the surplus of dogs across the state.
"RSPCA NSW is ecstatic that the NSW government has today announced that it will ban greyhound racing in NSW," RSPCA NSW CEO Steve Coleman said.
"It is a decision that places the welfare of greyhounds and other innocent animals who have been subjected to cruelty by this industry as the paramount consideration over and above financial interests."
But while the RSPCA, PETA Australia and greyhound adoption agencies have thrown their support behind the move, there is concern over what will actually happen to the dogs and puppies in the industry.
In a statement, the government said the options for the dogs will include: humane euthanasia; remaining in their current home; rehomed through an adoption program; or transferred interstate or overseas to jurisdictions that have appropriate animal welfare standards.
"Humane euthanasia will be the last resort," RSPCA NSW spokesperson Jessica Conway said.
The government said it will provide RSPCA NSW and the NSW Police Force with the means to oversee the humane treatment of greyhounds as the industry is shut down.
"Ultimately, it's the responsibility of greyhound owners to look after their dogs and do what's in their best interest," Ms Conway added.