A NEW welfare levy is being imposed on greyhound prize money and subsidies by Racing Queensland, with it set to raise more than $1.6 million in additional funding as a part of a plan to improve integrity and animal welfare measures.
The new levy comes into effect from March 1 and coincides with Racing Queensland plans to implement a series of changes to the sport’s practices, such as stricter training regulations in regards to the use of lures.
The new levy will be imposed on all feature and base level prize money in addition to incentive and subsidy schemes.
RQ CEO Darren Condon said the changes were being pushed through as a way to improve the greyhound racing industry.
“The greyhound industry is being challenged and we must work together to completely eradicate this type of conduct from the industry forever,” he said
“Racing Queensland has a zero tolerance and will do everything it can to stop it.
“I recognise there are people in the industry who have not been involved in animal cruelty practices, but tough decisions are needed to be made around the way this investigation and our future welfare strategies progress.
“As a result, the levy has been implemented to ensure this contribution is made by the industry.”
Condon further enforced Racing Queensland has zero tolerance for animal cruelty.
“We have made it clear there is no place in the industry for people who engage in animal cruelty practices and while the new measures mean reduced returns to participants, animal welfare must be our number one priority.”
The authority body has outlawed the use of dead animals and animal products for training greyhounds as a part of a new local rule which relates to the types of lures used in training.
“Under the new rule, any lure or similar apparatus used in the training of greyhounds must be artificial and must not carry any organic product, including blood,” Condon said.
As a further rule, Queensland trainers must also provide copies of all invoices relating to the training of greyhounds for this financial year as part of RQ’s current investigation into animal cruelty allegations.
Another rule has also been implemented, giving Racing Queensland the right to take and retain possession of any greyhound they believe may have been involved in an act of animal cruelty or whose owner or trainer they believe has been involved in any act of animal cruelty.
In further news from Queensland, the lawyers of suspended trainers issued show cause notices as to why they should not be banned from all racetracks for life, in the wake of the Four Corners live-baiting investigation, have made their first submissions. The submissions have reportedly suggested that a lack of action by the racing officials was central to the scandal.
The deadline for trainers to show cause to Racing Queensland as to why they should not be warned off passed on Thursday.
In New South Wales, Harry Sarkis had his license re-instated after GRNSW Stewards received advice from the Australian Racing Forensic Laboratory in regards to the analysis of substances confiscated from his kennelling establishment on February 18, 2015. He will be able to resume training greyhounds until further inquiries are carried out.
In Victoria, the Board of Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) at its meeting on February 24 resolved to make amendments to the existing local rules and introduce a new rule which will now make it prohibited to transfer greyhounds from a suspended person into the name of another registered person residing at the same property.
The board made amendments to LRR 11.7 and introduced LRR 11.8 to address the issue of transferring greyhounds into the name of a registered person residing on the same property.
The amendments came into effect at 9am on Friday morning.
The Board resolved on Friday, in accordance with new rule LLR 11.8 that the transfer of greyhounds from suspended trainer Darren McDonald to his wife Joanne Gane on or after February 14 are voided.
Resulting from this, greyhounds which are engaged in the following events have been withdraw by stewards:
– Urban Cargo from Race 5 at Geelong on Friday February 27
– Awesome Project from Race 11 at The Meadows on Saturday February 28
Brad Canty, the owner of Awesome Project, is unable to comment on the situation which would see his greyhound ineligible to compete in a heat of the Group 1 Australian Cup, with the matter in front of the Supreme Court at present time.