Firstly, I’d like to offer my heartful thanks to Victoria’s greyhound racing participants and clubs for your great efforts in supporting Victorian communities affected by the bushfires. The Meadows is donating $10,000 to the Bushfire Appeal and the Cranbourne Greyhound Racing Club has raised $5,000 plus a further $50,000 donated in partnership with the Cranbourne trots and thoroughbreds for the Gippsland Emergency Relief Fund. Warragul and Sale have both held fundraisers and Bendigo and Geelong donated $100 over January to the Bushfire Appeal every time a dog from the red number one box won. I also thank all those individual participants who have been supporting their communities by donating a share of their prizemoney and using their trailers to help move displaced dogs of all breeds in the Gippsland region. For its part, GRV has been donating $250 over January to the Bushfire Appeal every time a greyhound wins a race from the red No. 1 box at any Victorian track and to date has raised more than $37,000. GRV has also signed up to the Business and Sport for Bushfire Recovery initiative that will see it hold upcoming Board and Leadership Team meetings and other events in affected regions over the coming months to help support local economies. This has been a very challenging time for everyone, but GRV is really pleased to see clubs and participants us working together for our communities. I’d like to take this opportunity to also thank participants for your patience and understanding of the necessary changes to the race program over the past month due to the heat and hazardous air quality.
In other news, Victorian families across the State have set a new record by adopting 148 greyhounds at GAP three-day adoption event over 17-19 January at its Seymour headquarters. This easily surpassed the 110 adopted at last year’s similar event and the 81 greyhounds rehomed on 17 January set a record for the most greyhounds adopted in a single day in any Australian state. I thank all the GAP staff, foster carers and volunteers for a great outcome that highlights the truly world-class work of the program.
Looking ahead now, GRV’s 2019-24 Strategic Plan is in place and guiding long term development and growth of the sport. The Plan is built around three strategic directions and the first is Innovation to Drive Revenue by increasing customer engagement and developing new markets, products and content. The second is Racing Safety & Greyhound Welfare which covers safer racing, breeding, whelping, education and training, population optimisation, participant support and rehoming. And the third strategic direction is One Industry which is about developing a shared vision and set of objectives that connects all participants, clubs and all stakeholders as a strong and unified industry. More details about the Strategic Plan and its target outcomes will shortly be available at GRV’s website.
As part of the Racing Safety & Greyhound Welfare direction, GRV is developing a new breeding strategy to deliver an optimum racing population to support Victoria’s racing calendar and interstate demand. The new Strategy will also help ensure that Victoria doesn’t overbreed and that the number of dogs retiring each year can be effectively re-homed by GAP, other agencies and participants without undue pressure. Breeders and other participants will have significant input into the strategy which will also work to improve breeding practices and the quality of active racers. GRV will closely monitor and share breeding numbers and intervene where necessary to maintain optimum levels. Details of the new strategy will be announced in the near future following more consultation with participants
I am also pleased to announce that GRV has become the first racing body in Australia and the only greyhound regulator in the world to be granted law enforcement powers, in this case through Animal Welfare Victoria. This decision recognises GRV’s commitment to greyhound welfare and its ability to deliver on this commitment and you can read more about in this edition of the Monthly.
Finally, now that the new Code of Practice is operational, I ask all participants to ensure that they are compliant, especially in matters such as Establishment Health Managements Plans and record-keeping, and remind you that GRV is here to help you with this, so please visit greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/code-of-practice or contact our Racing Services team if you need more information or assistance.