The Board of Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) has suspended the licence of the Coonabarabran Coursing Club for three months after it conducted a race meeting in March this year without a veterinarian in attendance.
The suspension will take effect from 7 July 2014 and conclude on 7 October 2014. During the term of the suspension, the Coonabarabran Coursing Club will not be allowed to conduct race meetings or trials.
GRNSW requires race clubs to have a veterinarian present at all race meetings to guarantee the welfare of racing greyhounds.
GRNSW Chairman Eve McGregor said the decision to suspend the Coonabarabran club sent a clear message to the greyhound racing industry that GRNSW will not tolerate anything that puts the welfare of greyhounds in jeopardy.
“The requirement to have a veterinarian present at race meetings is a basic standard imposed on all clubs in NSW and there can be no excuse for such a basic requirement not being met,” Ms McGregor said.
“The Board of GRNSW hopes that the Coonabarabran club understands the seriousness of its breach and take measures to ensure it does not happen again.”
ARG approached club Secretary/Treasurer Merle Clarke for comment and received the following statement.
“The Coonabarabran Committee will be appealing the severity of the penalty issued by GRNSW. Board stewards and club stewards are empowered by GRNSW to be in complete control of meetings. It is unfair to penalise clubs, owners/trainers and sponsors when they had no input into the decision made on the 15th of March.”
“To use our club as GRNSW has done as an example to others in extremely unfair. They have created the assumption and inferred that the club was totally responsible for the decision, which is beyond comprehension.”
“I have received calls from many participants expressing their absolute dismay at this imposed penalty.”
Merle went further to explain that in her 14 years of involvement at the club she was only aware of one GRNSW board member to have ever visited the Coonabarabran track, current GRV CEO Adam Wallish.
This raises an obvious question. In the current environment where animal welfare is paramount, as mentioned in the GRNSW media release above, how can regular track inspections not be on the agenda?
If we are going to see Coonabarabran hammered with a three month suspension for not having a vet on track due to animal welfare concerns, surely the safety of tracks around the state should also be of paramount importance.
Only last week we published a story in regards to the track upgrade at Wagga due to safety concerns. This upgrade was something that the Wagga club had been fighting over fifteen years to achieve. One is left scratching their head at how many tracks in NSW would be unsafe for the dogs racing there. Here we have a track in Coonabarabran that hasn’t been inspected in a long time, surely this is an essential part of fair and safe greyhound racing.