Racing Minister Grace Grace has confirmed Queensland will continue with increased vigilance in animal welfare and racing integrity, and Greyhound Racing Victoria Chairperson Bernie Carolan cited key differences in how the sport is run in Victoria as a basis for the decision to continue in the state.
Minister Grace Grace was quick to point out Queensland was the first to officially react to the live baiting scandal which shocked the nation and ultimately influenced NSW Premier Mike Baird’s bombshell decision.
“We acted immediately to stop the sickening abuse that was exposed, and put the greyhound industry on notice that it had to clean up its act,” the Minister said in a statement published on Twitter.
“Clearly, the greyhound industry is aware that it’s on it’s on its last chance. That’s why we’ve established a new Queensland Racing Integrity Commission to oversee animal welfare across all three codes of racing.”
The Minister’s statement cited the Queensland Government’s official Greyhound Racing Industry Commission of Inquiry led by Alan MacSporran QC, which did not recommend a total ban on greyhound racing in the state.
Instead, it recommended a: “stronger integrity regime to ensure animal welfare is front and centre across all three racing codes.”
The QLD inquiry did unequivocally conclude Racing Queensland’s self regulation model was inadequate and failed to ensure animal welfare standards and integrity as well as properly manage over-breeding. The report included estimated wastage figures from 661 – 886 greyhounds per year in 2010 – 2013.
“We’re in the process of implementing all of MacSporran’s recommendations, including a consistent program of monitoring dogs from birth to maturity to ensure that no animal will be able to disappear off the map,” Grace said.
Meanwhile, the Victorian greyhound racing industry under Bernie Carolan and Alan Clayton has taken great strides in reforming the industry, with “no plans to ban greyhound racing in Victoria” on the table.
“The sport operates on a smaller scale in Victoria and GRV is well advanced on fundamental and unprecedented cultural and operational reform to ensure it has a sustainable future as a fair and accountable code with greyhound welfare as its overriding priority,” a statement released this afternoon said.
Chairperson Carolan pointed out the significant employment greyhound racing provides to the state, and that Victoria’s Racing Integrity Commissioner (RIC) and Chief Veterinary Officer (CVO) and the Bittar reviews of integrity and animal welfare concluded GRV “should be applauded” for their work.
“This future takes into account that greyhound racing in Victoria directly employs over 3000 people, generates many indirect jobs, particularly in regional Victoria and annually adds over $315 million to our economy including $200 million of direct expenditure in regional Victoria,” he wrote.
“GRV and the Victorian Government, with oversight from the Greyhound Welfare Reform Taskforce, have already implemented many of the 68 recommendations made by the RIC and CVO Reports including statutory animal welfare requirements, banning lures that use animal materials, stronger penalties for animal cruelty and increased inspection and investigation powers.”
Like in Queensland, Greyhound Racing Victoria are moving forward with increased efforts in implementing all reccomendations from the state’s inquiries and reviews to ensure integrity is upheld.
“GRV has also committed $3.5 million to expand its Greyhound Adoption Program, one of the largest in the world, which has re-homed around 7,000 greyhounds to date and is also working with other greyhound rehoming agencies,” the statement reads.
“GRV has also created new senior integrity, animal welfare and legal roles and is putting place in major initiatives to reduce breeding, injury and euthanasia rates and strengthen greyhound racing clubs as community centres.”
Addressing the hard-facts and backlash, QLD Minister Grace Grace has strong words for those who try to engage in live baiting or anything which goes against the new regime going forward.
“I want to warn any racing industry participants that do the wrong thing that you will be caught, and you will be dealt with,” she said.
The live-baiting scandal which rocked the entire greyhound industry started with the infamous “Making a Killing” expose which aired on Four Corners last year on February 16.
The special program revealed footage of dogs using banned live baiting across New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, all caught on camera using secret surveillance set up by animal rights group Animals Australia.