Greyhound Welfare / Code of Practice

NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice

On 1 July 2020 the NSW Government published the NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice which will come into effect on 1 January 2021.

The NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice demonstrates the greyhound racing industry’s commitment to improving the welfare of greyhounds across the state. In doing so, it signals to the broader community the collective resolve of the greyhound racing industry to establish and maintain the highest standards of welfare and care in Australia.

Read Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation, Kevin Anderson's announcement in full here.

The Code was developed in consultation with the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission, the Greyhound Breeders, Owners and Trainers Association, Greyhound Racing NSW and the Greyhound Industry Animal Welfare Committee.

A three-month public consultation period also took place between 16 January – 14 April 2020. The outcomes of the public consultation process, including a list of submissions, can be found here.

The Code sets out standards for the keeping, treatment, handling and care of greyhounds. It also includes standards for the facilities, equipment and conditions at premises where greyhounds are kept, trialled, trained or raced. In addition, the Code sets out standards for the procedures and practices to be adopted for keeping, trialling, training and racing greyhounds.

The Commission will now work closely with GBOTA, GRNSW and other industry stakeholders on ways to help industry participants to familiarise themselves with the Code and get ready for its commencement on 1 January 2021.

Code of Practice Key Points Diagram

1. Compliance with the Code

Excluding the greyhound housing area standard set out in standard 5.9, participants will be required to be in a position to comply with all other standards from 1 January 2021.

2. Industry practice guides

Industry practice guides (IPG’s) have been developed to provide participants with ideas on how best to comply with various standards within the Code. The practice guides will be updated from time to time to reflect the latest research in relation to greyhound care and welfare.

3. Compliance with Greyhound Housing Standards (standard 5.9)

Unless otherwise directed by the Commission, all greyhound housing areas (kennelling) will be deemed to comply with new standard 5.9 until 31 December 2030.

Those participants who:

  • Are intending to leave the industry prior to 31 December 2035; or
  • Have made a significant investment in greyhound housing areas after 1 January 2017 which still represent high-quality housing area amenity,

Will be able to apply to the Commission for a further extension of the ‘deemed to comply’ exemption until 31 December 2035.

All greyhound housing areas will need to be compliant with standard 5.9 from 1 January 2036.

4. Standards relating to retired greyhounds

Fifity-eight (46%) of the 124 standards in the Code relate to retired greyhounds. These standards are marked with a red R in the Code document.

5. Enforcement of the Code

The Code of Practice is not designed to catch participants out. The Code is intended to be the industry’s benchmark for expected conduct and behaviour.

The Commission has worked with GBOTA, GRNSW and other industry stakeholders to develop an Enforcement Protocol that will guide the Commission’s enforcement of the Code. The protocol will align with the Commission’s approach to enforcement set out within its Compliance & Enforcement Explanatory Guide

6. Resources

Current Codes of Practice

There are currently two Codes of Practice outlining the welfare standards NSW greyhound owners, trainers and breeders are obliged to meet:

Breaches of the code of practice can be dealt with through requirements such as imposing a condition on registration or penalties such as fines, suspension or disqualification from participating in the industry. Stronger penalties apply to more serious offences.

From 1 January 2021, these two Codes will be replaced by the NSW Greyhound Welfare Code of Practice.