AVA response to racing greyhound bills

The Australian Veterinary Association is calling on the ACT Government to assure the whole of life welfare of racing greyhounds.

The AVA has expressed concern regarding the two greyhound racing bills that were recently passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly, which did not incorporate important welfare recommendations.

“The ACT Government made a commitment to the welfare of racing greyhounds, but no amendments were made to the bill and the issues we raised have not been addressed,” AVA president Dr Paula Parker said.

“The ACT Government is accountable for ensuring the whole of life welfare for greyhounds in the ACT is at least equal to those in other states. The AVA strongly recommends that welfare assurances are incorporated in the mandatory Code, and looks forward to working with the ACT Government during the development of the Code. Penalties for breaches of the Code need to be clear and enforceable.”

Among the key concerns the AVA raised with the ACT Government prior to the bills being passed were:

  • There does not appear to be a clear link between a breach of the Code of Practice (under Racing Controller Licences – Mandatory Code of Practice Section 23 Animal Welfare Act 1992) and any penalty that would be imposed for such a breach. Penalties should include fines, licence restrictions, suspensions and lifetime disqualification from the industry as appropriate to the breach.
  • There is no reference to a prohibition of the keeping of small animal species that could be used for live or dead baiting (e.g. rabbits, piglets, possums) on the premises of a licenced greyhound controller in the ACT.

The association also raised other concerns it believes have not been adequately addressed.

“Protecting the health and welfare of racing dogs is a key priority for the AVA,” Dr Parker said. “It’s essential that the Government implements a robust transition plan that places the welfare of racing dogs as the highest priority and factors in all industry participants so that there are no unintended consequences.”

Based on a media release sourced from the AVA website.

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  1. There are no ACT-registered racing greyhounds. They are all registered with GRNSW or other state industries. There are only around 10 people in the ACT who own or train racing greyhounds – and they are all trained outside of the ACT. Therefore the ACT government is not accountable for ensuring the whole life welfare of greyhounds. NSW is. The Greyhound Transition package was snubbed by the CGRC. Why? Because none of them will be financially impacted by the ban. True. I was there at the meeting. And the CGRC does not have a 38-year unblemished animal welfare record. I have the proof. As for the keeping of small animals on training properties – unless they keep them at the CGRC track, then there are no issues there, as all dogs are trained interstate. The CGRC allow convicted animal abusers and cheats to race their greyhounds at the track. So now tell us how the amendments to the bill are relevant.

    1. PS. The Transition package of over $1 million is primarily to help the so-called “ACT” greyhounds that require rescuing and re-homing. But because the greyhounds are registered in NSW and other states, the owners and trainers can still race them in places like Goulburn, Yass, Temora, Young, Bathurst, Cowra, Gunnedah, Lithgow, Orange, etc etc. All of a sudden one track closes and they scream blue murder. Let me tell you, it’s lucky if they get 50 spectators to a race meet. I’ve been there. And most are from Queanbeyan and other NSW towns. So any blood money made at the track goes back into NSW. At the CGRC rally on November 27 there were only 5% from the ACT – the rest were from NSW. I was there as well. Alan Tutt, Kel Watt and Mark Parton MLA exaggerated the turnout figures. They claim “over 300” attended. Lucky to be 100. I have photographic proof. This ban affects no one and no greyhounds. Animal welfare is a dirty word in the greyhound racing industry as a whole. Time it was shut down completely, and the trainers and owners forced to pay rescue groups to re-home any of their dogs.

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