Bob Holland

In this day and age, and at my stage in life, I must admit that I find many of the decisions made by our leaders to be somewhat bewildering. A gentler way of saying that could be to say they lack wisdom, a word and characteristic I have a real passion for.

One of the hottest issues at the moment is the Baird Government's decision to ban greyhound racing from July next year, supposedly on animal cruelty grounds. Personally, I don't care if they ban greyhound racing or not but I have to say, based on what I've heard so far, I can't see the justification for completely banning the sport.

Of course any issue that involves animals will generate a whole range of emotions and opinions, and those will be based on what your view of animals or wildlife is generally. If cute and cuddly animals melt your heart and their welfare is important to you, you'll be all for banning greyhound racing.

 If on the other hand, you regard all creatures simply as dumb animals and have no problems with swatting flies, killing rats, eating slaughtered meat and accepting that wild animals tear each other apart as part of nature, you probably couldn't care less if they ban greyhound racing or not on animal cruelty issues.

Without taking sides, this issue is set to be as hotly debated among greyhound racing enthusiasts and animal welfare lovers as the gay marriage issue is already among homosexuals and church goers. Sad to say and in both cases, there will be very unhappy people on one side, whatever the decisions.

Still on animal racing, I'm also aware of recent rules whereby jockeys in races, are only allowed to strike a horse with their whip so many times during a race. I think similar rules may also apply for drivers in harness racing. If that's the case, I really wonder how that can possibly work in practical terms? It's hard for me to imagine how a jockey or a driver, in the heat of battle towards the end of a race, can have the presence of mind to know how many times they've hit their horse between two points. I'm told that every week numerous jockeys get fined for hitting a horse more times than they should in the last 100 metres of a race or that they raised their whip hand too high above their shoulder. Really? I can't help also wonder, how that may or may not impact on the outcome of the race. If a jockey hits a horse more times than is legal and wins the race for example, shouldn’t that disqualify the horse, just as if the jockey weighed in light or something similar?

I find such rules a bit hard to swallow? I liken this thinking to the police officer who shoots and kills a criminal who's pointing a gun at them in a rage, only to find themself having to justify that they could have done something different during the split second they had to make a decision.

I have to ask, what are our decision makers thinking when they make unrealistic rules like these?

Wisdom, it's a great word with wonderful meaning and I can't help but think, if more people showed more wisdom in the decisions they make each day, in all manner of things, the better off we'd all be. Take some people's attitude to "rules" for example, I like the saying that says "rules are for the guidance of wise men and the adherence of fools". That's wisdom.

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