GREYHOUND Racing Victoria has condemned the use of live baiting as a training method and moved swiftly to punish those involved.
Revelations the criminal activity was being undertaken by several top dog trainers in Tooradin, aired by Four Corners this week, were slammed by GRV, which insisted the archaic practice was not widespread in the industry.
“To the best of our knowledge, this disgusting and illegal behaviour is isolated in Victoria to the privately owned training facility at Tooradin,” GRV chief Peter Caillard said.
“I watched and was sickened. The use of live bait in the training of greyhounds is abhorrent and has no place in our sport. Any person engaged in live baiting can expect to be disqualified and prosecuted. We have zero tolerance for these individuals.”
Racing Minister Martin Pakula and Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford on Monday announced a broad investigation into animal welfare and allegations of animal cruelty in the greyhound racing industry by Dr Charles Milne, Chief Veterinary Officer of Victoria.
Further, an independent investigation will be conducted by Racing Integrity Commissioner Sal Perna – with cooperation from GRV – into industry participants.
“As soon as the allegations were brought to our attention we immediately suspended the individuals involved. GRV has already commenced an investigation and we look forward to the involvement of the Racing Integrity Commissioner in that investigation. It must not happen again,” Caillard said.
He welcomed the government announcement to help detect and prevent such practices from recurring.
“There is no place for live baiting in Victorian greyhound racing. We want people found to have engaged in these practices not just excluded from our sport but prosecuted with the full force of the law,” Caillard said.
GRV will match the government’s $3 million funding for a total of $6 million to pour into the investigation.
GRV suspended the registration of the Tooradin Trial Track and the registration of 10 persons for alleged live baiting offences at that facility.
Traralgon Greyhound Racing Club was contacted for comment but directed all enquiries to GRV.
? Live baiting is a criminal offence punishable under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1986 (POCTA) and can attract a jail term of up to two years and a fine of more than $30,000.
? Under GRV’s Animal Welfare Penalty Guidelines, those responsible could face a 10-year ban from the sport.