Export Inquiry Update

Export Inquiry Update

05/06/2017
Welfare News

Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) would like to provide an update on the Inquiry into the Unauthorised Export of Greyhounds.

The independent inquiry was commissioned by Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) on 10 December 2015 and is chaired by Mr Adrian Anderson, counsel from the Victorian Bar who was appointed as a Steward under the GRNSW Greyhound Racing Rules.  

The initial focus of the inquiry was to investigate registered owners of greyhounds that were discovered in Macau and China. 

On 9 June 2016, GRNSW announced that 179 industry participants faced charges relating to potential breaches of the rules as part of the inquiry. The responses and information provided by those participants ultimately led to the identification of the key players involved in the exportation of greyhounds.  

These investigations resulted in charges against five industry participants with multiple offences in respect of their alleged involvement in the large-scale exportation of greyhounds into Macau and/or China

At a hearing in Sydney in March this year, Steven Farrugia and Mark Farrugia pleaded to and were found guilty of 182 charges each with respect to breaches of the following Rules:

• failing to obtain a greyhound passport and certified pedigree issued by Greyhounds Australasia - Rule 124(1);
• failing to lodge a prescribed transfer of ownership form following the purchase or acquisition of a greyhound - Rule 117(1);
• failing to lodge a prescribed transfer of ownership form following the sale or disposal of a greyhound – Rule 117(2);
• attempts or conspires with another person to commit a breach of the Rules – Rule 86(m);
• knowingly aids, abets, counsels or procures a person to commit a breach of the Rules – Rule 86(n);
• in relation to a greyhound or greyhound racing, done a thing, or omitted to do a thing, which, in the opinion of the Stewards or the Controlling Body, is negligent, dishonest, corrupt, fraudulent or improper, or constitutes misconduct – Rule 86(o); and
• acted or engaged in conduct which is in any way detrimental or prejudicial to the interest, welfare, image, control or promotion of greyhound racing – Rule 86(q). 

Sam Cauchi and Patricia Cauchi pleaded to and were found guilty of 50 charges each with respect to breaches of the following Rules:

• failing to obtain a greyhound passport and certified pedigree issued by Greyhounds Australasia - Rule 124(1); and
• in relation to a greyhound or greyhound racing, done a thing, or omitted to do a thing, which, in the opinion of the Stewards or the Controlling Body, is negligent, dishonest, corrupt, fraudulent or improper, or constitutes misconduct – Rule 86(o);

The Steward is considering submissions on penalty and undertaking further lines of inquiry. 

In addition, 19 industry participants have also been charged under Rule 86(o) of the Rules for providing false information to GRNSW. These charges relate to approximately 30 greyhounds. A number of other participants have also been directed to provide further information to GRNSW.

Investigations into additional participants are continuing and the Steward is considering further charges. 

The complexity of the inquiry has been compounded by various challenges, in particular the difficulties in accessing information under Freedom of Information laws from the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture to obtain the names of individuals and greyhounds contained in government export records.  

Rule 124 of the Greyhound Racing Rules currently requires that any person intending to export a greyhound from Australia to any other country (excluding New Zealand) must, prior to meeting the quarantine and inspection service requirements of the relevant country, obtain a greyhound passport and certified pedigree issued by Greyhounds Australasia (GA). 

Since 2013, GA has suspended consideration of greyhound passport applications where the intended destination is Macau or China. This is due to a GA assessment that those countries do not comply with Australian animal welfare standards.  

The ongoing inquiry commissioned by GRNSW is an example of how the regulator is strongly committed to preventing the unauthorised export of Australian greyhounds to destinations where animal welfare practices do not meet industry welfare standards and are inconsistent with community expectations. 

This year, one of the key recommendations of the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel, chaired by Morris Iemma, was for the Australian Government to regulate the export of greyhounds from Australia so that they can only be exported where the receiving country has appropriate animal welfare standards in practice. GRNSW strongly supports this recommendation and encourages federal authorities to adopt it to secure the welfare of greyhounds.

As the inquiry into unauthorised exports is ongoing, GRNSW will not be commenting any further at this stage.