NSW Greyhound Reform Is Code For More Harm, More Deaths

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Why have more than 27,000 people rejected the NSW Government’s proposed greyhound welfare code? Dennis Anderson, National president of the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds explains.

The draft NSW greyhound welfare code being promoted by the NSW Government will not protect the dogs. Instead, it will give the industry yet another free ride. 

This is why more than 27,000 people who care about animal welfare have already signed this petition, and we encourage New Matilda readers to do the same.

It’s also why 17 greyhound welfare leaders, both in Australia and elsewhere have condemned the draft code. Here’s just a taste:

“It is unacceptable that the NSW Code of Practice has not included measures to address the key welfare issue of over-breeding, such as by introducing a minimum age for females to breed and a lifetime maximum number of litters, consistent with Victorian Code of Practice.” – Dr Rosemary Elliott, BVSc (Hons), MANZCVS (Animal Welfare), MPsych (Clin), BA (Hons) – President, Sentient  – The Veterinary Institute for Animal Ethics, Australia

“The NSW Government took no action when hundreds of its innocent greyhounds were sent without even industry passports to Macau where there was no law to protect animals. Around 15,000 to 18,000 Australian greyhounds died at the Macau Canidrome in very cruel conditions. Now it proposes a code that doesn’t even track these dogs once their racing career is finished. This is cruelty!” – Albano Martins, President, ANIMA (Society for the Protection of Animals), Macau.

“While greyhound racing should be shut down, in the interim it’s extremely disappointing to see that this code fails to address staffing, operation of kennels or record keeping. The Victorian code provides standards covering these areas and so should NSW.” – Christine Dorchak, Co-founder, GREY2K USA Worldwide, America

So what’s wrong with the draft code? Two key issues are that it would allow the industry 10 years to get sub-standard kennels up to scratch, when 12 months should be the limit; and it would allow a racing greyhound to be kept in a 3m2 space (1.2m width and 1.8m height minimums) for 24-hours a day, with no minimum daily exercise requirement specified.

As a result, the draft fails to meet two of the RSPCA’s internationally recognised animal welfare benchmarks (the five freedoms);

• freedom to express normal behaviour by providing sufficient space, proper facilities and company of the animal’s own kind; and

• freedom from fear and distress, by ensuring conditions and treatment which avoid mental suffering. 

While many are distracted by COVID-19, the NSW Government thinks it’s acceptable to propose a code that fails to observe international best practice. 

The UK Government has banned artificial insemination of female greyhounds because it’s such a painful procedure, but the NSW Government allows it.

The UK greyhound racing industry has accepted that greyhounds, just like all dogs, are social animals and should be housed in pairs, but NSW’s draft code sticks with the old-fashioned practice of housing racers individually.

If members of the public would like more information, our full submission on the code (which was prepared by practising vet Dr Belinda Oppenheimer) is available here.

After a lot of analysis for that submission, CPG’s overall assessment is that if the draft code is not radically overhauled, the NSW Government will be responsible for allowing more greyhounds to suffer, disappear and die in this state.

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Dennis Anderson

Dennis Anderson is the national president of the Coalition for the Protection of Greyhounds (CPG) and adopted rescue greyhound, Comet. It was when he adopted that he, like many CPG members, found out about the thousands of greyhounds which 'disappear' in our country. CPG is a dedicated group of people across Australia who work together to inform the public about the cruelties of greyhound racing.

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