A FURTHER 23 registered Queensland participants have now been suspended following on from the live-baiting scandal which has gripped the entire greyhound racing industry.
The unnamed trainers have been stood down as part of Racing Queensland’s ongoing investigation into the training track of Tom Noble at Churchable, where secret surveillance cameras captured the practice of live baiting using live animals tied onto the lure to entice greyhounds to chase.
The latest suspensions come after RQ stood down 13 participants as a result of the notorious Four Corners program titled ‘Making A Killing’. Seven of those 14 trainers were issued show cause notices on February 17 and five of those seven have subsequently been warned-off for life, including legendary trainer Reg Kay and the man at the centre of the scandal, Tom Noble. Noble has since pleaded not-guilty to seven charges of serious animal cruelty handed down to him by a taskforce established to investigate live-baiting within the QLD greyhound industry.
RQ CEO Darren Condon said that Stewards made the decision to stand down the further 23 individuals while they commenced inquiries after reviewing further video footage from the private track.
“When we began this investigation we said we would leave no stone unturned and through our ongoing investigations it has become apparent there were a number of individuals using this facility for illegal training practices,” Condon said in a press release.
“Each of the trainers stood down were at least present at that track and as a result Stewards have stood them down immediately to understand their involvement.
“The people suspended today will now face Stewards’ inquiries and the broader investigation from our end will continue.”
Condon said that RQ have also suspended the greyhounds trained by the suspended persons, pending further investigation. There is no intention to seize greyhounds owned or trained by those people at this point in time
When the time comes for them to race again, it is expected that they will be subject to RQ’s new return to race policy, which applies to any greyhound where there is suspicion that it may have been exposed to the practise of live-baiting during its training and education.
“This process entails three trials over a minimum of three weeks with conditions to be set by stewards and an assessment of the dog’s behaviour in those trials,” Condon said.
“Our highest priority is the welfare of the greyhounds and this policy will ensure that if these greyhounds are to return to race, they have been through a comprehensive assessment, which has been endorsed by a number of vets and the RSPCA.”
Condon said that the moves to suspend the 23 trainers reaffirms RQ’s commitment to ensuring the sport is free of animal cruelty practises.
“We will continue to take strong action to address allegations and evidence of illegal training practices and we have implemented a range of initiatives and rule changes to improve animal welfare protections in greyhound racing,” he said.
Those measures include state wide kennel inspections to stamp out animal cruelty, new local rules which ban the use of animal products on the lure, a levy on all greyhound prizemoney and subsidies within QLD to raise an additional $1.6 million annually for animal welfare and integrity initiatives and new requirements for trainers wishing to nominate their dogs for racing.