Greyhound industry reform the start of a new era

Wednesday 19 August 2015

Australia’s greyhound racing industry is on a path of comprehensive reform following shocking revelations last February of live baiting in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.

Scott Parker, Chief Executive of Greyhounds Australasia, the industry’s peak body representing all controlling authorities across Australia and New Zealand, said the revelations by ABC’s Four Corners had profoundly shaken and disappointed industry leaders.

“We understand that the industry’s social licence depends on governments, welfare advocates and the community seeing that we can run a clean and humane industry, and they accept that it is our responsibility to demonstrate that,” Mr Parker said.

Mr Parker said that since the revelations, the Boards and CEO’s have been completely replaced, or are in the process of being replaced, in Victoria, NSW and Queensland, although no past members were implicated in live baiting.

“What that means is that today we have a new perspective on the vigilance, monitoring and cultural change needed across the industry, and, together, we are starting to make the necessary reforms,” he said.

Industry leadership is devoted to a significant reform agenda, Mr Parker said.

“We know that the key to the future of a professional and accountable industry relies on us demonstrating to our governments, welfare advocates and the community that we will be transparent and unflinching in administering a humane industry that meets social expectations,” he said.

Mr Parker said that significant change had happened already with much more to come. “We are keenly aware that this is a beginning, not an end, and the benefits of real reform to the industry and community will be seen in months and years, not weeks. Much more must and will happen,” he said. “We know that many in the community will feel sceptical about our commitment to reform. That is understandable and legitimate.

Mr Parker said that the industry continues full investigations of any participants suspected of animal cruelty. Already there has been 23 lifetime disqualifications in Queensland, with more likely there and in other states. Other changes, directed at supporting improved animal welfare outcomes include:

  • Breeder incentive schemes have been drastically restructured or removed to prevent the possibility that this was contributing to a surplus of greyhounds bred
  • New industry rules allowing only synthetic materials for use as lures, unless, in some jurisdictions, skins are by-products of separate professional processing industries
  • Significant increases in compliance resourcing with commensurate increase in kennel inspections by stewards and animal welfare staff
  • Open partnering with police and the RSPCA in all states to respond to intelligence around cruelty or mistreatment of animals
  • New mandatory trainer competency assessments in three states with formal accredited national training for all trainers and other participants currently being developed and planned for roll out in 2016
  • The introduction of drone monitoring in two states as part of an industry assurance and surveillance regime

Ends.

Media inquiries: Scott Parker 03 9548 3500

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