Page 5164 - Week 14 - Tuesday, 28 November 2017

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The amendments do expressly prohibit trialling or training races, by including these concepts in the definition of “greyhound race”. This is, again, a similar approach to that taken in other jurisdictions when defining greyhound racing. In the ACT, the government has decided to prohibit all racing and race-like activities, because it is in these instances that there is a higher risk of injury.

For those who decide to conduct or take part in illegal greyhound racing in the ACT, the maximum penalty will be the same as for existing offences in the Animal Welfare Act relating to illegal participation in rodeos, circuses and game parks.

Despite the ban on greyhound racing, ACT residents will still be able to own, breed and train greyhounds for racing elsewhere. Training methods that do not rely on competitive racing, such as conditioning, exercise, nutrition, socialisation and non-competitive fitness training will all still be permitted.

This bill introduces a range of new measures to protect and monitor the welfare of these greyhounds that will continue to race, to train or to breed puppies destined for racing in other jurisdictions. We are implementing an approach that seeks to protect the whole-of-life welfare of greyhounds, as has been advocated by government inquiries and animal welfare experts alike. This care will start from the very beginning. We will make it clear to those involved in breeding greyhounds intended for racing that they are required to hold a licence to do so. Breeders will be required to notify the registrar of the details of any greyhound litters within seven days of their birth, to ensure that every young greyhound is accounted for. Breeding racing greyhounds in a way that contravenes the breeding standard will be an animal welfare offence, whether or not that breeding is for profit.

The owner of a greyhound that is to be used for racing will be required to apply for registration for that dog every year from the age of six months, at a higher cost than general registration. People who have day-to-day control of racing greyhounds for training, handling or rearing purposes will be required to obtain a racing greyhound controller licence. This licence must also be renewed annually and will track the greyhounds under the licence holder’s control. When granting either racing greyhound registration or racing greyhound controller licences, the registrar will consider the conditions that the dog will be kept in, together with any previous animal welfare or racing offences.

The new mandatory code of practice for the keeping of racing greyhounds is currently being developed in consultation with industry and animal welfare experts, to detail the obligations on racing greyhound owners, breeders and trainers. Compliance with the code will be a condition of obtaining and retaining the relevant licences.

An increased capacity to monitor, respond and educate will also be part of these reforms relating to greyhounds. As well as increasing compliance activities, the government will work with those ACT residents who continue to be involved in greyhound racing to ensure that they understand their obligations under the new monitoring and registration framework. This will, of course, require resources. As I said on introduction, the increased costs to the government of improved monitoring will be recovered through annual fees for racing greyhound registration and racing

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