Response to greyhound racing bills passed in the ACT

Media release date: 
Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The peak body for veterinarians, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is calling on the ACT Government to assure the whole of life welfare of racing greyhounds.
The AVA has expressed concern regarding the Greyhound Racing Bills that were passed by the ACT Legislative Assembly, which did not incorporate important welfare recommendations.
AVA President, Dr Paula Parker said, “the ACT Government made a commitment to the welfare of racing greyhounds, but no amendments were made to the Bill and the issues we raised have not been addressed.”
“The ACT Government is accountable for ensuring the whole of life welfare for greyhounds in the ACT is at least equal to those in other states. The AVA strongly recommends that welfare assurances are incorporated in the mandatory Code, and looks forward to working with the ACT Government during the development of the Code. Penalties for breaches of the Code need to be clear and enforceable.”  
Key concerns the AVA raised with the ACT Government prior to the Bills being passed include:

  • There does not appear to be a clear link between a breach of the Code of Practice (under Racing Controller Licences - Mandatory Code of Practice Section 23 Animal Welfare Act 1992) and any penalty that would be imposed for such a breach. Penalties should include fines, licence restrictions, suspensions and lifetime disqualification from the industry as appropriate to the breach.
  • There is no reference to a prohibition of the keeping of small animal species that could be used for live or dead baiting (e.g. rabbits, piglets, possums) on the premises of a licenced greyhound controller in the ACT.

The association also raised other concerns, particularly issues that have been covered in the NSW Government’s Iemma Report but were not adequately addressed in this Bill.

“Protecting the health and welfare of racing dogs is a key priority for the AVA. It’s essential that the Government implements a robust transition plan that places the welfare of racing dogs as the highest priority and factors in all industry participants so that there are no unintended consequences.

“Veterinarians are experts in animal health and welfare and must be involved in every step as the ACT Government looks to wind down the Greyhound Racing industry,” Dr Parker said.

We will be supporting our members affected by the ban, and await more information from the ACT Government about the transition plan.

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on (02) 9431 5062, 0439 628 898 or

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.

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