Welfare

Greyhound welfare is how a greyhound’s health, safety and wellbeing are affected by its physical and social environment. All owners, trainers, breeders and licence holders have a duty of care to their greyhounds to ensure their welfare is protected.

There are five domains, formerly known as the five freedoms of animal welfare, which are an internationally recognised framework for assessing an animal’s welfare status. The Commission’s Code of Practice for the Welfare of Greyhounds will be based on the five domains of animal welfare.

The five domains of animal welfare are:

Nutrition:

Providing appropriate nutrition and access to food

Environment:

Ensuring environmental opportunity and choice

Health:

Ensuring fitness, ableness and access to treatment

Behaviour:

Enabling behavioural expression

Mental State:

Encouraging engagement and positive stimulation

Unfortunately in the past, greyhound welfare was not a priority for some involved in the industry and media exposure of animal rights abuses led to a major investigation into greyhound racing, which resulted in the sport being banned.  The NSW Government overturned the ban and tasked the Greyhound Industry Reform Panel with making recommendations on new animal welfare and governance arrangements to reform the industry.  A major recommendation of the reform panel was to establish the Greyhound Welfare and Integrity Commission to uphold high animal welfare standards, oversee integrity, and monitor and enforce compliance.

The reform panel recommended the establishment of a comprehensive animal welfare plan for the greyhound industry, which is supported by strong compliance and enforcement measures. The Commission will work with industry and welfare partners to develop a strong welfare plan based on the reform panel’s recommendations and guidelines.

The Greyhound Industry Reform Panel recommended the Industry Welfare Plan should contain the following:

  • A Code of Practice for the Welfare of Greyhounds
  • A whole of lifecycle tracking system so the whereabouts of a greyhound is known throughout its life
  • Licensing and accreditation of industry participants that imposes obligations on them to appropriately care for a greyhound at each stage of its life
  • Stronger penalties and new offences that deter and punish cruelty to greyhounds and animals potentially used in live baiting