GRNSW Response To Euthanasia Statistics
GRNSW acknowledges that measures to safeguard greyhound welfare and promote responsible breeding and ownership practices in the past have been inadequate. The unlawful euthanasia of underperforming and unwanted greyhounds has unfortunately been a scourge on the industry for decades. GRNSW recognises the magnitude and urgency of the problem and is committed to serious reform in this area as part of the fundamental transformation of the industry which began on 30 June 2017. With the appointment of a new Board of GRNSW to lead the new organisation and oversee the delivery of the NSW Government’s reforms for the industry, including the prioritisation of greyhound welfare. That change has continued with the recent appointment of a new CEO, Mr. Tony Mestrov, and Deputy CEO, Dayle Brown, who are committed to steering the greyhound racing industry towards a sustainable and viable future. The new leadership of GRNSW has ensured that action to reduce unnecessary and unlawful euthanasia is underway.
In recent years GRNSW has been investigating, developing and implementing a range of measures to reduce the number of greyhounds euthanased unnecessarily or otherwise destroyed. But this significant focus on the welfare of greyhounds requires a cultural shift from within the industry itself, and that will occur over time.
GRNSW’s Code of Practice for Greyhound Euthanasia, introduced in August 2016, requires the written consent of GRNSW to be obtained by any industry participant before a greyhound is euthanased. The Code also requires owners of racing greyhounds to explore all possible options for their retiring greyhound before considering euthanasia, including being kept as a companion animal or re-homed. Where euthanasia is deemed necessary, it must be undertaken humanely by a veterinary practitioner. Breach of the Code attracts penalties ranging from fines to disqualification for life and is strictly enforced by GRNSW. The Code reflects legislative provisions which also require the owner of a registered greyhound to obtain the written consent of GRNSW before causing a greyhound to be euthanased or otherwise destroyed. Contravention of those provisions may result in criminal prosecution.
GRNSW is determined to stamp out unnecessary euthanasia through a combination of education, recent enhancements to funding for the ‘Greyhound as Pets’ (GAP) adoption program, and rigorous and effective regulation. The GAP program has rehomed 1134 greyhounds over the past three years, with numbers increasing from 272 to 467 between 2015 to 2016. GRNSW is determined to ensure this trend continues. More broadly, GRNSW is committed to leading genuine reform in greyhound racing based on the highest standards of animal welfare and integrity, and we recognise there is more work to be done. Under its recently appointed leadership team, GRNSW is intent on working with the Commission to address overbreeding, increase rehoming opportunities and eliminate unnecessary euthanasia. This will pave the way for greyhound racing to make a meaningful social and economic contribution to NSW again.
Finally, recent media reports have commented upon the euthanasia of the greyhound Better Cruise, which was euthanased by an officiating veterinary surgeon following a race meeting at Wagga & District Greyhound Club on 5 January 2018. As announced on 25 January 2018, GRNSW has commenced a Stewards Inquiry into the circumstances of that euthanasia, following a preliminary investigation. That Inquiry remains ongoing.
Code of Practice – Greyhound Euthanasia
1. Owners must explore all possible appropriate options for their retiring greyhounds prior to considering euthanasia. Where appropriate, greyhounds should be given the opportunity to be kept as a companion animal or rehomed.
2. A greyhound must not be euthanased or otherwise destroyed without the written consent of GRNSW.
3. To apply for consent, a ‘Request to Retire, Export, Transfer or Euthanase Greyhound’ form must be completed. That form states that the owner should:
a. Consider whether euthanasia is in the best interests of the greyhound in the particular circumstances; and
b. Explore all options to retain or rehome the greyhound as a pet.
4. GRNSW will only provide consent to euthanase after the Request has been assessed and GRNSW is satisfied that the greyhound will be humanely destroyed.
5. Destruction of a greyhound must be undertaken humanely by a veterinary practitioner.
6. Following euthanasia of a greyhound, a Notification of Retirement Form (with veterinary certificate of euthanasia) must be lodged with GRNSW within two working days.
Breaches can attract a range of penalties from fines to disqualifications, including for life.