While GRV has been busy working with clubs and participants to build a strong long-term future for the sport, animal welfare and integrity are still its key priorities, both strategically and in daily operations. GRV has taken a record number of swabs during 2016/17 and is rigorously pursuing all suspected cases of animal mistreatment and neglect. Some of you may be aware of a recent incident where a possum in a cage was found on a greyhound training property. This discovery was made as a result of a joint effort between our integrity and welfare departments using a risk-based approach to property inspection and investigation.
GRV is still investigating this issue so I can’t say any more at this stage except that after more than two years of an increased and strong focus on investigations and integrity, this is the first suspected case of live baiting in Victoria.
We have made a big commitment to covert operations and are looking under every rock to ensure the highest level of integrity throughout our sport. This all highlights how GRV’s strengthened integrity and animal welfare capabilities are working well together.
On the subject of animal welfare, last month I mentioned the introduction of hoop arm lures at all Victorian tracks and in this issue, some leading participants talk about their experiences with the new system. In other news, GRV is introducing a new registration framework to further strengthen the sport’s integrity and improve animal welfare outcomes following a consultation period last month.
It has been developed following feedback from the Stakeholder Engagement Workshops last year, the Industry Consultative Group and from participants.
Make sure you read all about it in this month’s issue.
GRV has also concluded a major review of its prize money arrangements with the goal of increasing the spread among participants and we will be releasing the review recommendations for public consultation later this year. I’m also pleased to report that the rebuild of the Horsham Greyhound Racing Club’s track is almost complete with trials of the new track starting later this month or early next month.
GRV is now also halfway through the Greyhounds Are My Life video series which profiles the people and stories of Victorian greyhound racing. Two videos are being released in the run up to each club’s Cup and twelve have been produced so far to a very positive reception. If you haven’t seen any or all of the stories, I encourage you to do so at: grv.org.au/gaml. And if you have any good stories about the role greyhound racing has played in your life, GRV would love to hear from you.
Turning to the track, the 2017 Warrnambool Cup, covered in this issue, was once again a great night and very well attended with the Minister and Shadow Minister for Racing, a former Premier as well as local MPs in the region joining a crowd of more than 2000 for some great racing. And it was followed at the end of last month by the RSN927 Sandown Cup, the world’s richest greyhound race for stayers, which will be featured in the next issue of Greyhound Monthly Victoria.
Finally, I note that 8-14 May was National Volunteer Week so I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the many volunteers of Victoria’s greyhound community. Whether they are working at race meets, with GAP to socialise, foster and promote greyhounds as pets or helping their clubs in general, our volunteers are an essential part of what makes the sport run in Victoria.