Mr Hugh Marks
Chief Executive Officer and Director, Nine
Dear Mr Marks,
I write to you with an urgent plea: do not broadcast the Million Dollar Chase on October 16, 2020.
Earlier this month, Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) announced the TAB Million Dollar Chase Grand Final will be shown live on the Nine Network, immediately following your broadcaster’s National Rugby League Preliminary Final coverage.
Given the NRL’s immense popularity, the opportunity Nine has given GRNSW will ensure the Million Dollar Chase is seen by an audience of millions.
The media is both a mirror and compass to a society’s morals. As such, by showing the Million Dollar Chase, Nine will be complicit in the legitimising and normalising of animal exploitation and animal cruelty.
Since the live baiting scandal made headlines in 2015, the cruelty of the greyhound racing has been placed in the public spotlight. The needless suffering of thousands of greyhounds every year is irrefutable:
- As of today, there have been 157 track-related greyhound deaths in 2020 alone, with over 7000 injuries.
- A 2015 inquiry into the industry found that between 49,000 to 68,000 greyhounds born in Australia in the preceding decade were killed simply because they were not the right fit for the industry.
- Data from the past 10 years shows that on average 5,700 greyhounds are bred each year in NSW, and about 2,000 are adopted.
- The Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds conducted its own investigation into missing greyhounds, finding that in the 2017-2018 financial year, there were 4,000 dogs unaccounted for, and 3,560 the following year.
- In 2018, Greyhound Racing NSW said all entrants in the Million Dollar Chase must rehome their dogs at the end of their careers. This year, that condition was removed.
In light of all these points, it is clearly unethical to support this greed-driven, morally bankrupt industry. To do so this year, with GRNSW failing to commit to rehoming retired dogs, is exceptionally abhorrent.
It is on these ethical grounds that I urge you to take a stand against animal cruelty by ensuring the Million Dollar Chase does not air on your network.
Should you have any doubt about the ethics of the greyhound industry, I invite you to consider the comments made by GRNSW CEO Tony Mestrov in announcing the Nine Network broadcasting of the Million Dollar Chase:
“In fact, one of the favourites for the TAB Million Dollar Chase is Flying Ricciardo, a dog purchased by trainer Kristy Sultana at our Gold Muzzle Auction for $7,500. What an investment it will be if Flying Ricciardo wins the $1 million prize on Friday week.”
Mr Mestrov’s comments reflect everything that is wrong about the greyhound racing industry: the objectification and exploitation of dogs purely for financial gain.
Dogs are not an investment. Dog are not items to be bought and sold, like houses, cars or lottery tickets. Dogs are sentient individuals who feel love, joy, pain and suffering – an undeniable fact the majority of Australians who have a dog in their lives can personally attest to.
Lastly, I want to assure you that in cancelling the broadcast of the Million Dollar Chase, you will not stand alone in your objection. The Australian public is becoming increasingly aware of the cruelty of the greyhound racing industry, and as such, the industry is dying. Attendances at NSW greyhound meetings fell to 121,440 in 2019, a drop of more than 50 per cent in the last decade alone.
On behalf of every gentle greyhound trapped in the violent racing industry, and every Australian who abhors this vile industry masquerading as a sport, I urge you to cancel the broadcast of the Million Dollar Chase on October 16.
The Hon. Mark Pearson MLC