Greyhound export restrictions stop the growth of greyhound racing

Peter Lagogiane speaks out on the export rules. PIC: GRNSW.

A PROMINENT greyhound racing participant believes the current export regulations are too strict after Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) announced last week it would be introducing new rules to crack down on unauthorised exports.

From December 1 it will be an offence under the NSW racing rules for owners to sell or transfer greyhounds to others when they know or ought to know that the greyhound is likely to be exported without a Greyhound Passport.

However, there are still no Federal Government laws prohibiting the export of greyhounds and the absence of a Greyhound Passport does not stop a dog from being exported as long as the owner has met the requirements under the rules of the Department of Agriculture.

Peter Lagogiane knows plenty about greyhound racing abroad, spending two years in Dubai training greyhounds for the Crown Prince. He says stopping owners from sending racing stock overseas could be viewed as a restriction of trade.

“I think it’s a little bit contradictory given the Australian government still allow you to export greyhounds under the Federal Quarantine Laws,” Lagogiane told Australian Racing Greyhound.

“If it’s such an issue, why hasn’t the Australian Government stepped up and changed any laws? It’s only our governing bodies which are concerned.

“I do have to give them some credit though. We need to look after our dogs and we shouldn’t be sending dogs to countries with no animal welfare laws or those which have issues.

“So I agree there should be regulations, but I don’t think we should be trying to stop exports all together.”

The current rules in place require those wishing to export a greyhound, anywhere other than New Zealand, to first be granted a Greyhound Passport by Greyhounds Australasia.

Interestingly, the Australian thoroughbred industry currently embraces its exports and foreign investment markets, particularly from Asia, meanwhile anti-racing groups and media organisations have triggered the greyhound industry authorities into overdrive.

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In 2013 GA stopped issuing Passports to Macau and the next year made the decision to ban greyhounds from going to countries where it has no formal association with a recognised central authority, such as China.

In September, GA suspended issuing Greyhound Passports for Aussie dogs headed to the USA amid fears they were ending up in China.

Much of the controversy surrounding greyhound exports arose in 2015 when an investigation by the ABC’s 7.30 report combined with Animals Australia, found greyhounds were still being exported to Macau, China and Vietnam.

Some of the footage obtained was damning and showed cruel practises, however many have since questioned the authenticity, location, age and date of the vision gathered.

Lagogiane believes this wasn’t a true representation of greyhound racing across the globe.

“I have been to America and Asia and I obviously worked in Dubai – from what I saw the conditions were great.

“I can only speak from personal experience and what I saw – but I would say they are kept and treated just as good as over here, if not better.

“Other people have been to these countries – places like China – and they have also said the conditions are fine.

“I am not talking about Vietnam or Guam or Macau – but these rules are now stopping us from sending dogs to places like America too.”

Lagogiane says a complete ban on sending greyhounds to certain countries could also stop the growth of greyhound racing on the global stage.

“I think they have jumped the gun a bit – if they want the game to expand the only other way to do that is racing internationally – bringing dogs here and sending them overseas.

“Of course we have to show that our integrity and welfare are number one – but I do have concerns this may stop the growth of greyhound racing.”