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Greyhound industry claims it is on the path to significant reform
Greyhounds Australasia Ltd (GA) has advised that the Australian greyhound industry is extremely sensitive to the legitimate concerns of the community on the critical issue of greyhound euthanasia and had accepted responsibility for solving the problem.
GA Chief Executive Scott Parker said that industry change, as part of a significant program of reform, had already begun and that the industry deserves an opportunity to rebuild community trust.
Parker stated “the industry agrees that too many greyhounds are euthanased every year and that we have not done enough to combat the problem of over-breeding.
“Our vision is for there to be no unnecessary euthanasia of greyhounds as soon as practically possible. Survival of this industry depends on us meeting the community’s expectations on this and other critical welfare outcomes. No excuses are acceptable and none are being given.
“We haven’t been sitting on our hands and waiting to be told to change. The industry has been on a path to reform for more than a year.”
Parker highlighted that over the past six months, the industry has:
• Restricted breeding to three litters per breeding female
• Restricted the breeding of female greyhounds to under eight years of age
• Restricted breeding so that a breeding female cannot breed more than two litters over any eighteen month period
• Registered all breeding females to better track the breeding stage of their lifecycle
• Instigated a program of education to ensure all participants understand their obligations to the community as well as the industry
• Accepted a new national industry vision and values that put animal welfare at the centre of everything it does
• Significantly elevated welfare, investigative and compliance resourcing
• Continued to implement the 2014 National Greyhound Welfare Strategy which targets improved breeding practices supported by various strategic initiatives
• Called for proposals to help the industry model major reform decisions to ensure all change meets our obligations to the community
Parker also sought to put the right context around the reported euthanasia figures of 13,000 to 17,000 a year which were included in an internal industry document presented to the Inquiry by Greyhound Racing New South Wales.
He added “as the document, and Counsel Assisting the Commissioner Mr Stephen Rushton SC, pointed out, these figures do not include greyhounds kept by their owners and trainers nor adopted out through charitable groups. Of course, whatever the actual figure, it is still too many.
“I am confident this $1 billion industry, employing 10,000 people and participated in by over 30,000 Australians is finally on the right track. It has acknowledged its challenges, set its vision, instigated change, and is working hard to genuinely reform its practices and culture. It deserves a chance to rebuild the trust of our community.”
A Special Commission of Inquiry has heard Greyhound Racing New South Wales interim Chief Executive Paul Newson describe that some trainers confronted him and warned that greyhounds would have to be euthanased if live baiting was disallowed.
The Commission of Inquiry has heard allegations of serious animal abuse in the greyhound racing industry, including the use of live bait, to ‘blood’ dogs, and the mass slaughter of greyhounds deemed too slow to race.
The inquiry follows an investigation into live baiting by the ABC's Four Corners program, which was broadcast in February.
Newson was appointed Chief Executive in February to replace Brent Hogan, who was stood down after the program aired.
Newson told the inquiry he was "fairly aggressively" confronted by a small minority, who supported live baiting, at a number of industry forums across NSW earlier this year.
He said they warned him that "if (live baiting) wasn't allowed, x amount of greyhounds would be euthanased", adding “they would harangue me whilst I was speaking, asking... as to why we had not injuncted Four Corners.”
He said that among some participants "there was a rejection of any accountability" and instead they called the ABC journalists "the criminals".
Newson added "it was significant enough that they were extremely vocal and they seemed to dominate discussion.”
Earlier, Greyhound Racing NSW Chairman Professor Percy Allan told the inquiry that live baiting was condemned and prohibited by the sport, and the rules were clear.
Image used for illustrative purposes only.
20th August 2015 - GREYHOUND INDUSTRY REFORM THE START OF A NEW ERA
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