Water In Kennels Policy Explained
The GRNSW Race Day Hydration and Hot Weather Policy requires the provision of water for all greyhounds kennelled at a race meeting, including those kennelled following completion of a performance trial.
The policy is designed to protect the health, comfort and safety of greyhounds – particularly during hot weather.
Dehydration is a serious health and welfare concern for racing greyhounds. It causes an increase in body temperature, muscle cramping and acidosis and is likely to affect performance. The risk of dehydration is increased with higher environmental temperatures that are often experienced in NSW.
Dehydration leads to a thickening of the blood which in turn presents a risk of sudden death due to blood vessel rupture or heart failure.
GRNSW has considered the available research in establishing its evidence-based policy requiring the provision of water to greyhounds during kennelling.
It has been found that kennelled greyhounds are at risk of dehydration depending on the time of travel to attend a race meeting, the environmental temperature, and the period of time spent in kennels. Increased kennelling time is associated with greater water loss for greyhounds. An Australian study undertaken by Dr Steven Karamatic – ‘Weight loss in greyhounds during the race day confinement period (kennelling)’ - demonstrated an average weight loss increasing from 0.18% of greyhound body weight in race one up to 1.18% of body weight in race 12.
Dr Karamtic’s findings are subject to Australian Veterinary Association copyright and participants are encouraged to contact the association if they wish to view these.
The findings are consistent with scientific studies in the United Kingdom which showed that 3% of greyhounds were dehydrated prior to kennelling. This increased to 7% of kennelled dogs dehydrated mid-way through the race meeting. The Great Britain Greyhound Board has made water in kennels compulsory as a result.
The provision of water to animals that are potentially dehydrated, or that could become dehydrated in the kennels, is a duty of care animal welfare obligation that GRNSW would be negligent in not addressing.
The provision of 250 ml to 500 ml of water in the kennels as required by the policy is not dangerous, it poses negligible risk of water poisoning, or any other significant adverse impacts on a healthy, fit and well adjusted dog.
The public image of the greyhound industry has been constantly under a microscope due primarily to poor animal welfare practices outlined in the Special Commission of Inquiry into the Greyhound Racing Industry in NSW. However, GRNSW is confident that the industry can have a promising and vibrant future and emerge stronger and more resilient if it holds itself to a higher standard and champions fundamental reform. GRNSW asks that you embrace the change and assist the organisation reposition greyhound racing in NSW.