Issue 50 - A message from the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission
The Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission has recently released statistics confirming that 5,885 swab samples were taken at the track and during kennel inspections with 23 instances of prohibited substances detected and action taken against those responsible since 1 July 2018.
The Commission is concerned about how and where participants are purchasing these substances, with particular concern for online pharmacy purchases where the origin and active ingredients of a substance may not be consistent with labelling. Some positives to anabolic steroids are of particular concern to the Commission as these substances are permanently banned in racing greyhounds.
Vets treating greyhounds are urged to familiarise themselves with the Rules of Racing and avoid administering permanently banned substances or medications which may result in a positive swab, close to the time of racing. Further information about detection times for medications is available here.
It is important that the Commission continues to develop relationships with veterinarians across the state, enabling a reporting channel for any professionals who are concerned about the welfare of racing greyhounds or who have information regarding inappropriate training or husbandry practices.
Vets who do hold concerns or have any queries are encouraged to contact the Commission’s Chief Veterinarian, Michelle Ledger on firstname.lastname@example.org. If vets would like to share information in confidence, the Commission has an online form that can be submitted anonymously www.gwic.nsw.gov.au/whispli.
Vets treating injured greyhounds may expect payment under the new Race Injury Rebate Scheme recently introduced by Greyhound Racing NSW. The scheme provides eligible greyhound owners with the financial support needed to ensure greyhounds who sustain serious injuries while racing can receive appropriate diagnosis and treatment. The aim of the scheme is to avoid unnecessary euthanasia and ensure greyhounds with serious but recoverable injuries have every opportunity to live out their natural lifespan as a companion animal.
The cooperation of NSW vets is also vital when it comes to the reporting of greyhound euthanasia. The Greyhound Re-Homing Policy outlines the obligations participants must meet when they no longer wish to remain the custodian of a greyhound. This includes the accurate reporting of details around how a greyhound has died or why it was euthanased.
The Commission actively tracks the lifecycle of a racing greyhound and the vets who treat greyhounds contribute important information that assists in this process. Reporting of this information can also assist the Commission in developing strategies that reduce the number of greyhounds being euthanased because they are considered unsuitable for re-homing.
GWIC has a team of permanent and contracted vets who attend race meetings across the state to ensure greyhounds are healthy and fit for racing. They are also available to provide immediate first aid in the event of a race incident. Race meetings cannot proceed without a Commission vet present.
The Commission’s vets are an integral component of the industry’s welfare reforms. The Commission aims to ensure a high level of service when providing advice and educating trainers on all aspects of greyhound health. There is also a focus on consistent management and stabilisation of injuries sustained at the track, with a decision-making matrix now finalised.
For more information on the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission visit www.gwic.nsw.gov.au.