A WAGGA greyhound industry leader has marched on Macquarie Street to protest a proposed ban set to be introduced to parliament next week.
The proposed ban comes after a damning report suggested 68,000 greyhounds were slaughtered as "wastage" in the past 12 years for being too slow.
Wagga Greyhound Racing Club racing manager John Patton joined more than a thousand protesters in Sydney on Tuesday railing against the decision to shut down the $335 million industry.
“I’ve had people in Wagga calling me in tears asking how they’ll pay their bills and what will happen to their greyhounds,” Mr Patton said.
“These are people who look after the greyhounds better than themselves in some cases, who love racing and love animals.
“Our local member Daryl Maguire is on (Premier) Baird’s side and he’s not listening to the majority of his constituents.”
Wagga MP Daryl Maguire acknowledged “good people” would suffer fallout but supported the ban because the industry was beyond repair.
“I've been a terrific supporter of the local greyhound and have helped the club get funding to improve the track and facilities with community partnership grants,” Mr Maguire said.
“It saddens me this has to happen, I am disappointed a lot of people have been let down by the industry, but the decision’s been made.”
Wagga community leader and former Riverina MP Kay Hull was “staggered” by the NSW government’s policy process, claiming the greyhound industry had been completely ignored.
“Any industry being closed down should be given the opportunity to respond to allegations and it’s highly unusual that rebuttal would not be taken into consideration by decision makers,” Ms Hull said.
“It's bad policy, bad practice and bad precedent.”
Ms Hull worried the ban would pave the way for similar snap decisions to shut down entire industries because of rogue wrongdoers.
“If someone's using unsafe practices in the building or manufacturing industries, you bring in high penalties and impose jail sentences if that's required,” she said.
“Why should this industry be dealt with any differently, not be given the opportunity to prove its value and worth?”
Nationals Cootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson has publicly argued against the ban, warning it will devastate local communities.