Rob Britton responds to Victoria’s proposed Code of Practice

Fanta Bale
Rob Britton with Fanta Bale and kennel foreman Peter Riley after winning the Australian Cup earlier this year. PIC Paul Munt

LEADING Victorian conditioner Rob Britton has labelled the draft Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds as a ‘disgrace’.

The code was recently released by the Victorian Government’s Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources and was formulated as a response to the 2015 reports by Sal Perna and Dr. Charles Milne.

The code covers a wide range of issues facing the industry such as the management of greyhounds throughout their entire lifecycle and minimum standards expected from participants encompassing housing, socialisation and mental stimulation.

Britton said certain aspects of the code could spell the end for many participants within the industry if implemented, including new standards for kennels, yards and fencing.

“There should be a grandfather clause in there regarding these new standards which should specify that properties should be brought up to standard as participants have to replace and repair – otherwise having to bring everything to comply with these standards at once will send people broke,” Britton said.

“As long as there are no welfare concerns participants shouldn’t have to re-invent the wheel and fix what hasn’t been broken for years.”

Britton also felt most of the industry’s feedback had not been considered when writing the code.

“I attended number of industry workshops and spoke to the department of agriculture – many of the parts of the code were brought up then and we gave reasons why they shouldn’t be implemented – but it just seems like they have ignored our input.

“Most of these points are ideology rather than practical business sense and if allowed to go ahead in the current form the industry is going to crumble.

“There are a lot of little things in there that shouldn’t be there such as the size of the dog determining the size of the kennel needed.

“Also the staffing issue is totally unnecessary – we have surveillance systems in place here and we live on the property so we are here most of the time – but on occasion we go to the dogs together, to the shops – but reading this report we will have to have someone here all the time.

“Then you read that people with more than two dogs are going to be considered professional trainers – it’s out of control.

“I tried explaining this to them, but they obviously had their ideas on what was going to be in there.”

Britton said the code will make it impossible to be a part of the industry for many participants and urged Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) to step up to protect the sport.

“We’ve been singled out ever since the live baiting scandal and its like we are being punished,” he said.

“This code of conduct is supposed to be about setting a minimum standard – but these are gold-plated Rolls-Royce standards.

“I am a bit disappointed in GRV too – they pretty much said that because this is a government report they have no influence and that they are just the regulator.

“But under the act GRV have a duty of care to keep the industry viable – but if this code is enforced it will be non viable so GRV really have to stand up.”

Britton also urged participants to speak out and provide feedback on the draft Code of Conduct in order to send a message on what will and won’t work for the participants in the industry.

“Everyone has to read this report and analyse it – figure out how it will affect you and respond in writing to let them know,” he said.

“It’s important to also note the points you support because it’s not all bad – we need to show them it’s not all one way and we are happy to get behind the rules which are positive.”

Got feedback? Join the discussion Hide Comments

  1. Mr. Britton is correct. Taking care of greyhounds in a humane way is going to cost money, and since the money in the industry is supposed to go to the owners, it's no wonder they are upset that these new regulations will cut into their profit margins. It's not like there is a whole lot of money to be made in greyhound racing anyway. It's a dying sport, but now the government wants to take even more of what little profit remains and put it towards the treatment of the dogs? Come on, do you heat your garage in the winter so your car is more comfortable?

    The greyhounds are a commodity. They are to be given minimal care while they are generating income, then disposed of in the most cost effective way when they aren't. That is a fundamental fact of greyhound racing and the real problem the industry is having with these new regulations is their inference that the dogs are something more than a means to an end and deserve to be treated as such.

  2. Your second paragraph sums up beautifully why greyhound racing no longer has a social licence and why it is doomed.

  3. The orange bi election results and the government backdown suggests it does have a social license. If the government really thought that people such as yourself were a majority they would have banned it- but "keep dreamin" if it makes you feel better.

  4. Decisions taken by the Baird coalition in NSW are what has destroyed the Liberal brand in the federal government as well as in the NSW state govt.

    The whole electorate not only the greyhound community will never forget the treachery.
    Towns like Orange are what make Australia what it is, and are anything but backward as you assert.
    You should get out more.

  5. Werla you should get out more. Taking your polls from inner city coffee shops and Glebe greens is not a reflection of widespread public sentiment.

    And to be clear it is a misinformed perception of "mass slaughter" carefully orchestrated by welfare zealots who also invented the term wastage and to pretend it was in industry term. The word has never nor will ever be used to people who live in the industry.

  6. The bi election reflects far more than the views of one country town. Every Liberal in a marginal seat was worried. Every National party politician was worried because it was not just seen as about greyhound racing it was seen as an attack by animal activists on all of country life and horse racing, cattle farming, any animal husbandry, pony clubs, pets and guide dogs by a group of nutters whose "love of animals" is nothing more than a front for political activism of the worst kind. The "inner city" greens who think food comes out of the kitchen of their favourite restaurant represent no more than 10% of voters.

  7. You're a bit slow out of the blocks Werla6.
    The debate you're trying to re-ignite was had 12 months ago and greyhound racing is much stronger now as a result, thanks to the mistakes made by your lot.
    We will get stronger if you continue to insult the people of a great Australian town like Orange, another mistake.

    Activism is not for you Werla6, maybe you should go back to uni and try the entrance exam again.

  8. Werla all the figures you crave are readily available. Do your homework.

  9. "wastage" - there you go again.

    ffs - if your going to debate the subject use the right figures not utter bullshit. your propaganda has no place here.

    Go away and comeback with the right figures.

    Out of interest - what do you think the "wastage" rate is in beef cattle?

  10. 69,000,000,000 thats billion cattle slaughtered annually for the food industry.
    I had a pet cow once a beautiful animal they all have a personality but i still eat beef as does 99.9% of society. Werla should go back to school.