Letter / Greyhound club’s ‘unblemished’ welfare record

THE CEO of the RSPCA ACT, Tammy Ven Dange, has continued her campaign of lies and deceit in “CityNews” (letters, December 1, “Watching out for greyhounds”) by saying animal welfare in ACT greyhound racing is a concern.

quillThe fact is that for the entire 37 years of the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club’s (CGRC) operations, the club has built an unblemished animal welfare record.

While Ms Ven Dange used her letter to make claims designed to alarm readers, the facts do not support her.

Specifically, her claim that racing is “self-regulated” is wrong. The CGRC must adhere to ACT laws, including the Racing and Gaming Act and Animal Welfare legislation. The ACT has two Ministers directly responsible for the CGRC’s operations. The CGRC is also governed by a lease with the Commonwealth and an MOU with the ACT government.

The CGRC also dedicates its entire government funding to animal welfare and integrity measures. Her claim that only 10 per cent is directed this way is false.

Her suggestions that transparency is not of the utmost importance are defamatory. Swabs are conducted at every single race meet, with all reports published online. Every member of the public is able to access reports via a login, available from the CGRC upon request. The club also publishes other information above and beyond that required by regulation.

Animal welfare is the CGRC’s top priority. That is why a vet is on site for every race meet. The vet inspects every greyhound thoroughly and individually, and has the final say on any matter, despite Ms Ven Dange’s claims otherwise.

Finally, all readers should know the CGRC has made multiple approaches to the RSPCA in the last two years, including personally to Ms Ven Dange, to work on animal-welfare matters. The CGRC has numerous animal-welfare projects that we hoped the RSPCA could advise on, including a socialisation yard available to all members of the public at no cost. She refused to even meet.

The CGRC also asked the RSPCA for its support for our long-standing policy position of raising animal-cruelty penalties to the toughest in Australia. It fell on deaf ears.

By contrast, other RSPCA state branches around Australia are actively and positively working on reform and animal welfare with other greyhound racing bodies.

After more than a year of Ms Ven Dange running a dishonest campaign against the greyhound racing community in Canberra, we understand public sentiment may be against us.

We love our pets and our pets love to run. Nearly 50 local jobs and 30 Canberra trainers are devoted to nurturing beautiful and gentle dogs in a safe training and racing environment. All of us have a zero tolerance to any animal cruelty.

Think about it. Our greyhounds are basically professional athletes. That’s how we treat them. How many suburban pets are seen by a vet on a more than weekly basis and have regular inspections and strict regulations governing everything from their sleeping space to how much they weigh?

The CGRC has an open-invitation policy. Anyone who wishes to get the facts, inspect our top-class facilities or witness welfare and integrity measures first hand. You can organise a tour or even just drop in.

We have made this offer to Ms Ven Dange, but she is yet to accept. It suggests to me she is more concerned about raising her profile than she is about raising animal welfare standards.

Alan Tutt, president, Canberra Greyhound Racing Club

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3 Responses to “Letter / Greyhound club’s ‘unblemished’ welfare record”

  1. gabi
    December 29, 2016 at 12:43 am #

    Shame on CityNews for giving the Canberra Greyhound Racing Club a platform to publish this nonsense.

  2. Maddie
    December 15, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

    Thirty Canberra trainers? Even if they trained on average only one dog each per year, that adds up to a lot of dogs. And given a life expectancy of between 12 and 14 years, greyhounds could/should be hanging around for quite a long time after finishing their racing careers – where are they all?

  3. Chris
    December 13, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

    And if they don’t perform well enough?

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