The Racing and Other Acts Amendment (Greyhound Racing and Welfare Reform) Act 2016 (the Act) amends a number of Acts, including the Domestic Animals Act 1994 (DA Act) to address recommendations from the Chief Veterinary Officer’s Report into the welfare and management of racing greyhounds. Following are some frequently asked questions regarding these amendments.
What are the key changes?
From May 4 2016:
- Racing greyhounds, known as GRV greyhounds, are defined as greyhounds registered with Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV); except greyhounds that have gone through the Greyhound Adoption program (GAP), and greyhounds retired from the industry into the community as a pet.
- Keeping, in relation to a GRV greyhound, is defined as breeding, rearing, training, breaking, racing, boarding or any other activity that involves the care of a GRV greyhound.
- The DA Act includes a new part – PART 4AA – which regulates the keeping of GRV greyhounds. It also allows the Minister to make a code of practice relating to the keeping of GRV greyhounds, and creates an offence for failure to comply with the relevant code.
- GRV greyhound properties will no longer be required to register with councils as a domestic animal business. They will, however, still need to comply with the current Code of Practice for the Operation of Greyhound Establishments as this is a minimum standard for all greyhound racing participants.
Why was the Domestic Animals Act 1994 amended?
In early 2015, in response to the live baiting expose, the Chief Veterinary Officer conducted an investigation into animal welfare and cruelty in the Victorian greyhound industry. The report following the investigation made multiple recommendations with respect to the management of racing greyhounds under the DA Act. In particular, recommendation 1.2 required legislative amendments to the DA Act to create a code of practice related to the keeping of racing greyhounds and offences for failing to do so.
The Racing and Other Acts Amendment (Greyhound Racing and Welfare Reform) Act 2016 makes changes to the DA Act in accordance with these recommendations.
What are the new requirements for people caring for or owning a GRV greyhound?
New provisions in the DA Act require GRV greyhounds to be kept in accordance with the mandatory Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds (once it commences).
The Act also sets out an offence for failing to abide by the mandatory code of practice of 246 penalty units for an individual or 600 penalty units for a body corporate. The value of a penalty unit changes each year. For the 2016/17 financial year a penalty unit is
NOTE: the new Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds is currently under development. The Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources have not yet provided GRV with a commencement date.
The DA Act also exempts GRV greyhound properties from the requirement to register as a domestic animal business. They will, however, still need to comply and comply with the current Code of Practice for the Operation of Greyhound Establishments as this is a minimum standard for all greyhound racing participants.
My premises is registered as a Greyhound Domestic Animal Business, what do I do?
If you already have premises registered with your local council and you are abiding by the Code of Practice for the Operation of Greyhound Establishments (Greyhound Establishments Code), there is nothing you need to do. Your registration with the local council remained until 10 April 2017.
GRV premises are no longer required to register with the local council as a domestic animal business.
While local councils will no longer enforce the Greyhound Establishments Code, GRV has adopted the Code as a minimum standard for the keeping and care of GRV greyhounds under its rules and you must continue to comply with the requirements until the new Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds commences.
When will the new code of practice be available?
The new Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds will be available for public comment shortly. Please keep checking this page or www.vic.gov.au/pets to remain updated.