Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) has responded to the Lewis Reports findings that the GAP Program is “too limited” and that almost half the greyhounds bred in Victoria are euthanaised “despite strong demand to adopt dogs”; by claiming Judge Gordon Lewis has “clearly stepped outside the terms of reference of the report”.
The Lewis Report was commissioned by the Minister for Racing the Hon. Rob Hulls MP specifically to investigate the Internal Integrity Structures of the three Codes of the Victorian Racing Industry (VRI) in the wake of the betting scandal involving then Racing Victoria Ltd Chief Executive Stephan Allanson.
While acknowledging that all three codes had originally expressed satisfaction with the Lewis Report, GRV has had to step back from that stand point as the spotlight has been thrown on the GRV Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) and the numbers of greyhounds euthanaised in the state.
Judge Lewis found that Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) was “too limited”, with only 4.2 per cent of retired racers being placed in a domestic environment.
GRV has responded by saying that “Judge Lewis has made comment on several matters which are clearly outside the terms of reference of the report”.
And that “such comment is outside the terms of reference of the report, GRV stands by its record and actions in leading all racing codes and all States of Australia in its attitude to Animal Welfare”.
GRV, through its highly pro-active welfare policies, is constantly striving to address animal welfare issues and has already made significant headway in many areas. Implementation of the Responsible Breeding Task Force Recommendations (RBTF), appointment of a full-time Animal Welfare Officer and ongoing development and expansion of the Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP) are just some of the initiatives that have seen adoptions increase, and litter numbers decrease from the 2006 figures quoted. Education of industry participants and ongoing development of an industry culture that is mindful of animal welfare issues is another significant ongoing priority.
The recent $1.2 Million redevelopment of the GAP’s Seymour Kennels will ee even more retired racers accepted into the program and adoption igures are projected to rise over the next few years. Although Judge Lewis suggests that there is a high demand for adopted greyhounds, in reality, limiting factors such as the lack of foster carers and a finite demand from the general public to adopt retired greyhounds remain as challenges for GRV.
GRV has been addressing these issues through increased marketing and promotion and the introduction of novel programs such as the Prison Pet Partnership which sees minimum security prisoners act as foster carers for the program as part of their rehabilitation.