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Media Release 17/1/2024

What did Anthony Bullock know?

Last night, the decision on the Anthony Bullock appeal against a lifetime disqualification for alleged luring offences was handed down, with the ​appeal upheld. But well before the appeal decision was made, strange things were afoot at the Bullock property in Exeter.

Images provided to Animal Liberation Tasmania from November 21 2023 show significant updates having been made to a main kennel bank. A large ​colourbond shed with two double roller doors has been installed. This sort of building does not come cheap, and was certainly not installed out of a ​pang of conscience following community outcry over the conditions these dogs were being housed in during the middle of winter over many years. ​The appeal had not yet been heard. With no certainty of the appeal outcome, nor of the outcome of his appeal against the West Tamar Council's ​cancellation of his retrospectively issued kennel licence, what need was there for Bullock to spend significant amounts of money and energy in ​erecting such a structure?

July 2023

November 2023

November 2023

Furthermore, an acquaintance of Bullock's family and member of the greyhound racing fraternity has made alarming comments on a publicly ​viewable social media post, alleging that the new Racing Director from the Office of Racing Integrity (the newest one Robin Thompson, not the one ​who quit before he began the job to replace the one before that who was secretly reappointed for six months by Felix Ellis but then quit early) had ​actually called Anthony Bullock and promised to meet with him. Whilst said meeting is said to have not eventuated, it begs the question as to why ​the Racing Director allegedly called to meet with an individual who at that stage was still disqualified for life pending the result of his appeal. These ​comments were made five days ago (screenshots taken yesterday).

The fact remains that Bullock appears to be an untouchable figure in the greyhound racing industry. From Tah Bernard, to a positive arsenic swab ​from one of his dogs, to not having a kennel licence for ten years despite such being a condition for the annual renewal of trainer licences, Bullock ​has time and again proven to be the Tasmanian racing industry's own worst PR nightmare. And whilst Animal Liberation Tasmania would have ​preferred to see his lifetime ban upheld, this was never about Bullock the individual. This was always about an industry that continues to act in ways ​that are injurious to and exploitative of greyhounds. This decision is just one amongst many that seem aimed at protecting an industry money ​spinner over the welfare and rights of the dogs.

The Decision

Referring specifically to the decision, the claims that Bullock did not know the pademelon tail was present in his bullring appear to have been ​upheld based on spurious accusations by Bullock that someone planted the tail there; the implication being that Animal Liberation Tasmania were ​somehow involved. This is a particularly interesting claim to make.

Animal Liberation Tasmania released footage on the evening of August 2, showing conditions on the Bullock property from a period of five day from ​mid-July. Our focus was on the housing of the dogs, the condition of a horse on the property, a number of deceased pademelons, and a trailer with ​animal parts in various stages of decomposition. Bullock was suspended from racing on August 5 by then Racing Director Justin Helmich. The first ​part of the investigation was concluded by September 14, with Bullock said to be "broadly compliant" but still facing a lifetime ban over the discovery ​of an animal part reasonably believed to be used as a lure. On October 25 a lifetime disqualification was imposed. At this same time Bullock's own ​father Paul Bullock began making unsubstantiated claims on the Animal Liberation Tasmania page that our organisation had been involved in ​planting the lure; at no point prior had this been alleged by anyone, industry participant or otherwise. On October 26 The Advocate reported that ​Bullock would lodge an appeal. Further, consideration must be given to the short time period between the release of footage from Bullock's property ​and that of Gary Johnson, which was also inspected by stewards with no evidence of baiting or illegal luring was found. If an activist or drone ​operator was "planting" such things, why not at Johnson's or at any of the other properties from which Animal Liberation Tasmania has released ​footage? Both Johnson and Heawood have bullrings on their properties.

Given the ability of the anonymous drone operator in flying said drone, had a lure been planted at the time of flying (as alleged in the report from ​the appeal) it would have been easy for the operator to zoom in and capture evidence of a tail on film. And yet, in releasing the video on August 2, ​we did not include such images because we had none. Furthermore, in footage we do have of the bullring dating July 16, not only is the bullring not ​significantly water logged, there is no sign of a wallaby tail but instead an industry standard artificial greyhound lure.

There are a great many questions that require asking of the panel (Kate Cuthbertson, Amber Cohen, Rodney Lester) overseeing the appeal. Why was ​Bullock's statement that he used an app on his phone that detected "bluetooth devices" and that he was "able to detect a number of cameras" ​trained on his bullring taken without provision of supporting evidence, such as a screenshot of said app detecting these alleged cameras? Why was ​Bullock's claim that his own CCTV cameras were non-operational during the time of drone filming and the release of footage due to some "melted ​wires" (and thus were unable to be used to identify persons alleged to be on the property) accepted without evidence of damage or subsequent ​repair? Why is a verbal statement from a steward, who has known Bullock for many years by her own account, taken as proof that Bullock's "surprise" ​on locating the lure was genuine? How is the general public to trust that stewards are capable of monitoring racing participants if they could not ​locate a tail tied to a lure arm whilst they were in the bullring and touching the arm itself, and only saw the tail whilst reviewing body-worn camera ​footage afterwards? Why did RSPCA Tasmania not supply the full unedited copy of the footage to the steward's investigation, that they had been ​sent at the same time as Animal Liberation Tasmania as confirmed in a phone conversation between Animal Liberation spokesperson Kristy Alger ​and RSPCA Tasmania CEO Jan Davis the morning after the initial release of footage, given that the panel stated they were unaware of any lengthier ​version being available? How did the large puncture wounds on both dorsal and ventral surfaces of the tail come to be there? Why is a verbal ​assertion of ignorance of the presence of an object on one's own property taken as a valid defence?

And finally, what was the fate of the horse the drone footage showed in such an emaciated state, that Bullock admits in the appeal report he took ​measures to "remove from the property" as soon as the footage was released? And how did they come to be there?

Rather than resolving this matter, Bullock's successful appeal has only resulted in many more questions needing to be answered. And rather than ​exonerating an individual, this appeal condemns an entire industry. Given the sheer volume of unresolved matters relating to this appeal and its ​result, Animal Liberation Tasmania is again calling for a fully independent inquiry into the greyhound racing industry in Tasmania. Given Felix Ellis' ​seeming inability to release the results of the Murrihy Report to the public in a timely manner, neither the government nor the industry can be ​trusted to oversee such a process.

Animal Liberation Tasmania is calling out not only the ineptitude of this system but also the inherent corruption

Animal Liberation Tasmania is an animal advocacy group founded in 2016, operating in lutruwita/Tasmania.

We acknowledge that we live and work on the unceded lands of the many palawa pakana peoples of lutruwita, and pay our respects to their elders past and present.

Always was, always will be, Aborginal land.

We are committed to creating safer spaces for all people, with a commitment to the principles of total liberation.

Contact us via email.

ABN 96 232 357 293

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