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The New South Wales greyhound industry hopes the introduction of new welfare standards will improve the community’s perception of the sport.
The NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice allows for greater monitoring of dogs by the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission (GWIC) and provides clearer guidelines on keeping, treating and housing dogs for owners, breeders and trainers.
The code, launched on the Mid North Coast today, followed substantial industry and community input after the ABC’s Four Corners program exposed live baiting practices in 2015.
NSW banned the sport in the wake of the scandal but the decision was wound back three months later.
Steve Noyce, general manager of the Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association (GBOTA), said the code set the industry on a path to restoring faith within the community.
“It wasn’t that long ago [in] 2017 when the industry was on its knees,” he said.
“I think it’s important that we come out on the front foot and say to the wider community that we take integrity and welfare seriously.
Minister for Better Regulation Kevin Anderson said the code set the highest standards for greyhound welfare in Australia.
“The steps and the progress in welfare and integrity that greyhound racing has taken in the last couple of years, we have to continually push the benchmark,” he said.
“We have to continually set a new level to ensure those greyhounds are looked after.”
The measures come into effect on January 1 and contain standards that apply to the tracking of retired greyhounds.
“If [the dog] stays with an industry participant, then the dog stays on the register and it can be traced to make sure it remains healthy,” Mr Anderson said.
“If it leaves to a private home, then that’s through the greyhounds-as-pets program and that dog will be cared for as well.”
The code also mandates 3.5-metre kennels, the largest spatial requirements for greyhound housing in the country.
Mr Anderson said recently upgraded kennels that had been approved by the GWIC would be eligible for a 10-year transition period.
“We know a lot of greyhound owners, trainers and breeders have significantly invested in their kennels over the last couple of years,” he said.
“There’s a 10-year transition period so they don’t have that [additional] cost.”
Taree Greyhound Racing Club vice president Sharon Grey said the industry had come a long way since 2017.
“We’ve actually been implementing these standards the entire time since the ban,” Ms Grey said.
She said she hoped the code would restore respect and draw people back to the sport.
“I’m hoping [it will] give us back our industry and, as people, some standing back with the communities.
The release of the code coincided with the announcement of a review into the Greyhound Racing Act 2017.