Labor Government moves to strengthen animal welfare in greyhound racing

The Andrews Labor Government is taking swift action to address serious allegations levelled at the state’s greyhound racing industry, including claims of live baiting.

Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula, and Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford, today announced a broad investigation into animal welfare and allegations of animal cruelty in the greyhound racing industry by Dr Charles Milne, Chief Veterinary Officer of Victoria.

Further, an independent investigation will be conducted by Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna – with cooperation from Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) – into industry participants.

Mr Perna will also oversee GRV’s investigation into breaches of the racing rules and assist Victoria Police and the RSPCA with their investigation into criminal matters involving animal cruelty.

The Government will also allocate up to $3 million from the Victorian Racing Infrastructure Fund towards bolstering GRV’s animal welfare and integrity measures, including:

  •  Four extra Greyhound Welfare Compliance and Education Officers, on top of GRV’s existing two officers, to inspect trainers’ premises more regularly
  • Increased resources for GRV’s Investigations Unit including an additional full time investigator
  • A dedicated Trial Track Steward to inspect and monitor the 15 private trial tracks registered with GRV
  •  Introduction of the latest surveillance technology to assist with detection and prosecution

The Government will also consider any potential legislative changes – including amendments to the Racing Act 1958 – to further support GRV’s ability to detect and investigate illegal activity.

The Government supports action already taken by GRV to address these allegations, including the suspension of the registration of the Tooradin Trial Track, the suspension of 10 persons allegedly partaking in live baiting, a ban on the use of any carcasses during training, and cooperation with the RSPCA’s investigations.

Under GRV’s Animal Welfare Penalty Guidelines, those responsible could face a 10-year ban from the sport.

Live baiting is a criminal offence punishable under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA) and can attract a jail term of up to two years and a fine of more than $30,000.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Racing, Martin Pakula

“Live-baiting is barbaric, abhorrent and illegal – it has absolutely no place in Victoria’s racing industry and it must be stopped.”

“The Andrews Labor Government will work with Greyhound Racing Victoria and animal welfare groups to put the right powers and resources in place to stamp out live-baiting for good.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture, Jaala Pulford

“This Government is serious about animal welfare. That’s why we’ve taken immediate action to address these reprehensible acts of cruelty.”

“We want to send a strong message to the community and the industry that this sort of horrific behaviour will not be tolerated.”