In February this year, Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) and Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) announced a joint Greyhound Welfare Strategy. As a result of this welfare initiative, the Board of Greyhounds Australasia (GA Board) has endorsed a national approach to animal welfare known as the “Greyhounds Australasia Greyhound Welfare Strategy” (Strategy).
The implementation of the Strategy is intended to ensure that the standards of care and welfare of every greyhound is not impacted by the movement of the greyhound from state to state. In the Strategy, GA has stated that “industry-wide strategies for addressing breeding of unsuitable greyhounds and for the provision of career and retirement opportunities provide the only meaningful method of producing positive change.”
Overall, the national approach will see:
– better education of participants and a requirement that all new participants be assessed on core competencies before obtaining or upgrading a licence;
– greater controls around the breeding of greyhounds;
– promotion of responsible breeding practices;
– a requirement that all greyhounds be under the care of a registered participant unless retired as a pet;
– better inspection and compliance requirements on greyhound properties;
– a star rating system to be used for all greyhound facilities at which greyhounds are housed;
– a tiered trainers licence system which will stipulate how many greyhounds a trainer can train;
– enhancements to the Greyhound Adoption Programs;
– measures to maximise racing opportunities and ensure greyhounds reach their full potential.
Scott Parker (CEO of GA) said the decision was a big win for the industry.
“GA and its members are absolutely committed to achieving the best possible welfare outcomes for its greyhounds. The industry is aiming to achieve the best greyhound welfare outcomes in the world and the national approach is a really important step in that ambition.”
“The industry already has nationally endorsed health and welfare standards and the vast majority of our owners, breeders and trainers treat their greyhounds with great respect. However, with many greyhounds moving regularly from state to state, regulating national welfare outcomes has been difficult,” Mr Parker said.
All states and territories have committed to the full implementation of the strategy over the next three years. Controlling bodies will now engage their registered participants to confirm strategy implementation plans. The GA Welfare Working Party will determine an oversight body to support each jurisdiction with their implementation.
The adoption of welfare initiatives at a national level should see a better, more consistent approach to the welfare of greyhounds. This is something that was needed in the industry and is a positive step towards improving an area of the sport that has been heavily targeted by critics of greyhound racing.