The NSW Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission (GWIC) has refuted claims made in Peter Fitzsimons’ article Gone to the dogs: Why greyhound racing’s new code is a complete crock published 3rd July 2020.
Chief Commissioner, Alan Brown AM, says the article wrongly suggests that all participants will have until 1 January 2036 to be compliant with the NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice kennelling standards.
“The date for compliance with the greyhound housing standard is 1 January 2031. Only a small number of participants who meet strict criteria will be able to seek an extension beyond 31 December 2030 for a further 5 years”, Mr Brown said.
“Additionally, under the new Code, the Commission will be able to direct immediate compliance with the new kennelling special standard, which is the highest in Australia, in cases where it finds existing kennelling facilities are inadequate from a welfare perspective”.
The NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice had been developed as required by the Greyhound Racing Act 2017. The NSW Government developed the final Code in consultation with the Commission and includes feedback from Greyhound Racing NSW, the Greyhound Breeders Owners & Trainers’ Association, the NSW Greyhound Industry Animal Welfare Committee, the RSCPA, the NSW Department of Primary Industries and submissions received in public consultation.
The Code increases the minimum kennel sizes from 3.0 square metres to 3.5 square metres to be consistent with the NSW Code of Practice – Breeding Dogs and Cats made under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979.
The new Code sets the highest kennelling spatial standards in Australia. The Victorian Code which commenced on 1 January this year, which has a 3 square metre kennelling standard, has no deadline set for full compliance.
“While some may wish to be critical of the 10-year transition provided by the Code, the fact that NSW is the first State in Australia to set a deadline for full compliance should be commended”, Mr Brown said.
“Apart from setting the highest kennelling spatial standards in Australia, the Code’s other key elements in relation to exercise, socialisation and enrichment together with its coverage of retired greyhounds (unlike Victoria and elsewhere) should be acknowledged for their enhancement of greyhound welfare”.
“The Code should be viewed in its entirety and the industry should be congratulated in adopting these high animal welfare standards which more closely align with community expectations”, Mr Brown said.