INDUSTRY REQUIRES WATCHDOG WITH BITE
More power to officials: report
A NEW racing watchdog with more power to weed out rogue greyhound trainers and owners could be formed to clean up the tainted industry.
Annastacia Palaszczuk’s Government is expected to adopt most of, if not all, recommendations made by Alan MacSporran, QC, in his report after his investigation into the greyhound industry.
He proposed establishing a new statutory authority to oversee animal welfare issues and other offences and suggested law changes that would give officials more power to raid the properties of trainers as part of their investigations.
Several of the recommendations, including scrapping the breeding incentive scheme and diverting funds to the Greyhound Adoption Program, aim to reduce deaths of unwanted dogs.
RSPCA records showing about a third of the 24,000 greyhounds whelped between 2003 and 2013 were potentially put down.
Mr MacSporran proposed measures, such as mandatory registration and databases, to track the full life of a greyhound and a racing division for dogs that would otherwise be euthanased because they did not meet their trainers’ standards.
He also recommended trainers be required to submit statutory declarations detailing the training of their dogs, keep log books of all racing-related activities and train only on registered tracks under supervision.
Animal Liberation Queensland activist Hayley Cotton, who collected the explosive footage from the Churchable track where live-baiting was exposed on the ABC’s Four Corners, praised Mr MacSporran’s report.
She said the recommendation to establish an authority dedicated to integrity – separating it from the management of racing as a business – was particularly pleasing.
“That was the number one thing we wanted,” Ms Cotton said.
But she said the inquiry revealed enough reports of horrific treatment of animals to warrant the sport being outlawed.
“If what’s in that report is not enough to ban greyhound racing then I don’t know what is,” Ms Cotton said.
The RSPCA, which was involved in the first raids at the Churchable track, also welcomed the recommendations.
“They will mean the industry will be infinitely more accountable than it has been in the past and, for the first time, some realistic solutions have been recommended that could help alleviate the appalling wastage of animals who either don’t make the grade or have retired,” RSPCA Queensland CEO Mark