GRNSW considers that the welfare of all animals must be a primary consideration for all participants in the greyhound racing industry. As such, GRNSW has been committed to driving welfare improvements in the industry since it assumed responsibility for all animal welfare matters within the NSW greyhound racing industry in July 2009.
Since 2009, GRNSW has been proactive in ensuring the continual improvement in greyhound welfare.
In 2011, GRNSW introduced a mandatory Code of Practice for the keeping of greyhounds in training, which defines the minimum standards required for the treatment of and facilities required for the kennelling of greyhounds in NSW.
The code emphasises the importance of good management practices and the legal liability and requirements under the NSW Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979 and Clause 20 of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Regulation 2006.
Also in 2011, GRNSW became the first greyhound administrator in Australia to have its own dedicated Greyhound Welfare and Veterinary Services Unit.
The unit is primarily responsible for:
• Provision of veterinary services at TAB meetings and in the Greyhounds As Pets program;
• Development and implementation of a canine health and welfare program;
• Providing expert advice to GRNSW on veterinary matters; and
• Taking strategic responsibility for the development of research programs into drug issues.
The Greyhound Welfare and Veterinary Services Unit has provided specialist advice and training throughout all stages of a greyhound’s lifecycle, and across both TAB and Non TAB tracks alike has been responsible for:
• The development of a GRNSW Hot Weather Policy and associated protocols;
• Improvement in the treatment of greyhounds suffering from Pannus – an inflammatory eye condition which previously would have resulted in them being excluded from racing;
• Development of an Animal Evacuation Protocol in association with the RSPCA, NSW Department of Primary Industries and Rural Fire Service; and
• Improving the education of participants and track staff in relation to greyhound health and welfare issues.
Prior to GRNSW assuming regulatory control only TAB race meetings were required to have an on-course veterinarian, while Non-TAB meetings only required a first aid officer. In 2012 GRNSW moved to ensure that all race meetings would have the services of a qualified veterinary surgeon.
Other welfare initiatives launched by GRNSW since 2009 include:
• Improved licensing and regulation of breeders, trainers and rearing establishments;
• Improved track preparation;
• Race programming that maximises the racing life of greyhounds;
• Increased re-homing;
• Introduction of race day and club welfare policies (including veterinarians at all meetings);
• Improved life cycle tracking through the introduction of micro-chipping and the OzChase computer system;
• Continued funding and management of the Greyhounds As Pets initiative and promotion of the greyhound breed; and
• The development and management of the NSW muzzle exemption program Greenhounds.
During the 2013/14 financial year, GRNSW will invest $1.3 million on greyhound welfare initiatives. In addition, a further $1.4 million has been earmarked for industry infrastructure and maintenance with a clear prioritisation on minimising potential risk for racing greyhounds.
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Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) is an initiative of Greyhound Racing NSW and is dedicated to finding homes for greyhounds. Greyhounds can make fantastic pets – they are quiet, lazy and gentle dogs that thrive in the family home environment.