WADE Birch, the General Manager of Stewards and Integrity Operations for Racing Queensland, has been issued with a show cause notice and asked why he should not be sacked as a result of the live baiting scandal which has rocked the sport of greyhound racing.
The fallout continues four months after the infamous Four Corners program titled ‘Making A Killing’ which depicted greyhound racing participants engaging in the heinous act of live baiting using possums, piglet and rabbits to train their dogs.
It is the second time Birch has been stood down following on from the scandal, having been through the same experience back in February, before being reinstated after RQ held an internal review into their integrity and stewarding department.
Former Queensland All Codes Racing Industry Board chairman Kevin Dixon at the time said it was a necessary move.
“Information that has to come to light in the past week suggests there are procedural issues within the integrity area of the business,” Dixon said.
“As Mr Birch is the officer responsible for that department, the board has taken the decision that it is appropriate to stand Mr Birch down while those shortcomings are further understood.”
Dixon has since been fired himself after a Commission of Inquiry, led by Alan MacSporran QC, was established in response to the program. It found that Racing Queensland had failed in its duty to ensure integrity and animal welfare standards were maintained within the greyhound racing industry.
“The Commission is satisfied that the system of self-regulation under the current model has failed to ensure integrity in the industry and failed to safeguard animal welfare,” MacSporran’s report said.
“RQ failed in these important obligations because it did not operate a system which adequately assessed risk and it failed to plan an overall strategy to deal with the risk to integrity and animal welfare across all three codes of racing.
“The practice of live baiting could not be engaged in without the acquiescence of many, who although not directly involved, chose to ignore the cruelty and turned a blind eye.
“This must have encouraged those directly involved that they could continue with impunity.
“This culture must change if public confidence is to be restored.”
After MacSporran tabled his final report, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk moved to abolish the entire All Codes Racing Industry Board and the individual greyhound, harness and thoroughbred racing boards.
CEO Darren Condon was also given notice to show cause as to why he should be able to continue in the top job. He has recently written to the state government outlining why he should retain his position.
Consultancy group KPMG has since been appointed to oversee the implementation of the 15 recommendations handed down in MacSporran’s report which centred around improving animal welfare, integrity and transparency standards.
RQ are yet to comment on this latest development.