Wim­mera helps lead rac­ing changes

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Afi­cial lead­ing grey­hound-rac­ing of

has used the Wim­mera as an ex­am­ple of ‘gen­uine cul­ture change’ in the in­dus­try based on the wel­fare of rac­ing dogs.

Grey­hound Rac­ing Vic­to­ria chief ex­ec­u­tive Alan Clay­ton, speak­ing on rev­e­la­tions that a record num­ber of for­mer rac­ing an­i­mals in the state had found do­mes­tic homes through adop­tion, said the Wim­mera pro­vided in­sight into the fu­ture of the sport.

“Grey­hound rac­ing par­tic­i­pants in the Wim­mera have been part of a gen­uine cul­ture change in how grey­hounds’ lives and rac­ing ca­reers are man­aged in Vic­to­ria,” he said.

“Animal wel­fare was the key to the in­dus­try’s fu­ture. Grey­hound rac­ing gen­er­ates about $3.49-mil­lion an­nu­ally in value-added im­pact to the Wim­mera re­gion’s econ­omy and 261 peo­ple are in­volved in the sport, which sus­tains 26 full-time equiv­a­lent jobs lo­cally.”

Hor­sham Grey­hound Rac­ing Club was closed for much of the year due to restora­tion works, host­ing 16 meet­ings with 1365 peo­ple in at­ten­dance.

The Hor­sham track un­der­went cut­ting-edge re­de­vel­op­ment based on animal safety and is now among tracks set­ting a statewide stan­dard.

Other key find­ings in the re­port tabled in State Par­lia­ment in­cluded a 15 per­cent re­duc­tion in Vic­to­rian track in­juries – largely due to new mea­sures im­ple­mented to im­prove track safety.

There has also been a 54 per­cent re­duc­tion in eu­thana­sia num­bers, 1429 down from 3098 in 2015-16 and a 35 per­cent re­duc­tion in breed­ing of pups and lit­ters.

There has also been a 56 per­cent in­crease in swab­bing, with 16,137 swabs dur­ing 2016-17 re­sult­ing in only four more pos­i­tive and ir­reg­u­lar swabs – 98 – than in 2015-16.

Na­tional turnover on Vic­to­rian grey­hound rac­ing also in­creased by 11.8 per­cent to a record $2.03-bil­lion.

Mr Clay­ton said Grey­hound Rac­ing Vic­to­ria had met the ma­jor­ity of the 68 rec­om­men­da­tions from the Of­fice of the Rac­ing In­tegrity Com­mis­sioner and the Chief Vet­eri­nary Of­fi­cer in 2015.

He added with the Depart­ment of Jus­tice and Reg­u­la­tion it was con­tin­u­ing to work on the re­main­der.

“Two years ago Vic­to­rian grey­hound rac­ing came un­der in­tense scru­tiny and ev­ery­one in­volved un­der­stood that sig­nif­i­cant change was needed to the way our sport was con­ducted,” Mr Clay­ton said.

“GRV and Vic­to­rian grey­hound rac­ing par­tic­i­pants un­der­stood that for the sport to be vi­able, an in­creased em­pha­sis on animal wel­fare and in­tegrity was needed and these find­ings are in­dica­tive of what has been sig­nif­i­cant cul­tural re­form right across the state.

“These re­sults show GRV has es­tab­lished it­self as an ef­fec­tive reg­u­la­tory body with animal wel­fare as an over­rid­ing priority.”

Mr Clay­ton said GRV was pleased the Vic­to­rian com­mu­nity had em­braced grey­hounds as part of the re­forms and was pro­vid­ing great homes for for­mer rac­ing dogs.

The GRV An­nual Re­port is avail­able on­line at www.grv.org.au/an­nu­al­re­port.

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