THE mood among trainers, owners and punters has been understandably defiant as they met in the past week in Dubbo and Bathurst for the first races since Premier Mike Baird announced greyhound racing would be banned from July 1 next year.
NSW’s Western and Central West greyhound communities have always been a close-knit family and attacks from the outside, such as that by Mr Baird, only serve to draw them closer together.
Almost two weeks on from Mr Baird’s stunning announcement, they are still coming to terms with what it might mean for their futures, while also rallying together to fight the ban.
The way forward for supporters of the industry is clear: They must work together to lobby state MPs - particularly Nationals - who might oppose the ban while presenting to the general public an industry that cares for its dogs and rejects the minority who might treat them badly.
The industry must continue to garner support from opinion leaders like radio king Ray Hadley and keep pumping out photo opportunities of young families affectionately hugging their greyhounds.
However, the way forward for Mr Baird is just as clear. At least, it should be.
Only Mr Baird and his closest advisers know whether they anticipated that the furious response to their announcement of a ban would be so widespread.
They must have known the industry would react badly and must have anticipated an angry PR campaign.
But did they anticipate the powerful opposition from people like Mr Hadley and newspapers like The Daily Telegraph that would have traditionally supported Mr Baird?
Regardless, there should be no going back now for the premier. The votes he has lost are never coming back.
Even if he reversed his decision this morning, the greyhound industry would not reward him with their support.
But reversing his decision now would also ensure that any votes he gained through the ban would also be lost forever - along with a large slice of his reputation as being a fearless leader for our state.
For the government, it no longer matters whether or not a greyhound racing ban is good policy.
What matters now is whether or not it can be turned into good politics between now and the March 2019 election.