THERE was some shock and surprise expressed around the country at last week’s announcement by the New South Wales Government to ban the greyhound racing industry from mid-2017.
At the same time, it was very pleasing that the Tasmanian Government so quickly stated that it had no intention to shut down the industry in this state.
As I have said publicly a number of times, both last week and in the last 18-months, Tasracing believes that greyhound racing in Tasmania is conducted lawfully and ethically, and that participants treat their dogs with the utmost respect and compassion.
Importantly, there is a formal finding by the former Director of Racing and the Chief Veterinary Officer that there is no evidence of live baiting occurring in Tasmania.
Tasracing wants to see an industry where every greyhound has every opportunity to enjoy a fulfilling life after racing, and has introduced a number of key reforms that support this position.
On top of this list is the fact that Tasracing doubled Greyhound Adoption Program (GAP Tasmania) funding to more than $200,000 in 2015/16.
Adoptions increased by 35 per cent in the same financial year.
In November 2015, Tasracing provided a strategy development document for GAP in Tasmania to the Greyhound Reference Group.
Then, in March this year, Tasracing provided the reference group with a further GAP paper that included industry feedback and addressed the future direction of GAP in the state.
We have now released the GAP strategy to the industry and the broader Tasmanian community.
The strategy notes that the Tasracing Board has approved the construction of a purpose-built greyhound adoption centre at a location to be determined.
It will include appropriate administration and caretaker facilities, and a meet and greet area for prospective foster carers and adopters.
Tasracing will also increase the GAP marketing budget in 2016/17 to stimulate demand for post-racing career greyhounds and retain and grow the number of foster carers.
A full copy of the strategy is available at, https://tasracingcorporate.com.au/gaptas-strategy/.
Greyhound welfare is a key priority and focus for Tasracing.
With this in mind, GAP is an important strategic initiative for Tasracing and the industry that already enjoys strong community support.
The overarching strategy has been developed over many months in consultation with stakeholders, and I thank them for their input and support.
GAP provides an important vehicle for the industry to further enhance greyhound welfare efforts through increased rehoming efforts.
Dr Eliot Forbes