Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) has announced that it will invest $1.3 million on greyhound welfare initiatives in 2013/14.
The investment includes funding for the establishment of a new Education and Support Unit to help drive welfare improvements in the greyhound racing industry.
The new unit will be tasked with training new industry applicants as well as up-skilling and monitoring existing participants’ adherence to welfare standards by undertaking regular kennel inspections of racing, rearing, breeding and greyhound education facilities in NSW.
The unit will build on the current pilot education program – Certificate II in Greyhound Racing – which is being run by GRNSW, Hunter TAFE and the NSW Department of Education and Communities.
In addition, a further $1.4 million has been earmarked for industry infrastructure and maintenance with a clear prioritisation on minimising potential risk for racing greyhounds.
GRNSW Chief Executive Brent Hogan said GRNSW was committed to constant improvement in regards to the welfare outcomes of all racing greyhounds.
“GRNSW considers that the welfare of all animals must be a primary consideration for all participants in the greyhound racing industry,” Mr Hogan said.
“GRNSW has been proactive in ensuring the continual improvement in greyhound welfare since assuming regulatory control in 2009. We are committed to driving welfare improvement and cultural change to ensure greyhound racing in NSW meets community expectations.”
The investment in 2013/14 will build upon the numerous welfare initiatives that GRNSW has already undertaken, including the introduction of a mandatory Code of Practice for the keeping of greyhounds in training, which defines the standards required for the kennelling and care of greyhounds in NSW.
In 2011, GRNSW established its own Greyhound Welfare and Veterinary Services Unit. This unit employs four full-time veterinary surgeons and a qualified animal behaviourist whose primary responsibility is to oversee the welfare of greyhounds transitioning to life as a pet.
Other welfare initiatives undertaken by GRNSW include:
• Improved licensing and regulation of breeders, trainers and rearing establishments;
• Introduction of race day and club welfare policies (including veterinarians at all meetings);
• Improved life cycle tracking; and
• Continued promotion of Greyhounds as Pets and the greyhound breed in general through the funding and management of the Greyhounds as Pets initiative and the development and management of the NSW Muzzle Exemption Program known as Greenhounds.
Mr Hogan said GRNSW was also working with other greyhound racing state bodies to establish national welfare guidelines.
“All greyhound racing authorities around Australia are working together to ensure that the industry’s approach to the welfare of our greyhounds is world’s best practice,” Mr Hogan said.