Humane Society International calls on Baird Government to introduce drug detection dogs at all NSW greyhound race meetings
Today, Humane Society International (HSI) has called for a crackdown on the use of illegal drugs at greyhound races throughout the state by introducing the use of sniffer dogs to detect them at every New South Wales track. HSI has contacted both NSW Premier Mike Baird and Morris Iemma who heads the newly created Greyhound Industry Reform Panel, about the initiative. Reports from Australian Racing Greyhound indicate that greyhound trainers are often found with prohibited substances and positive swab test results show them to be present in the dogs, administered in an effort to increase their competitive edge. This can often have serious animal welfare implications as well as representing a danger to racing participants.
When a positive swab is detected these cases are normally presented to the industry body Greyhound Racing New South Wales following a race, but HSI recently discovered that there seems to be no provision in place to refer them on to the NSW Police or judicial system. The presence of sniffer dogs would not only catch any illegal substance activity on site, but it may also act as a preventative and help to stop this practice from continuing. Combined with continued swab testing after each race and the involvement of the NSW Police, we would expect that this initiative could really help to stamp out this problem.
HSI’s Program Manager for Animal Welfare, Georgie Dolphin said, “The introduction of detection dogs will give the Australian public some reassurance that concerted efforts are being made by the state government to pull the greyhound racing industry into line. Everyone is used to routinely being searched at airports and sometimes at major public events, so the introduction of sniffer dogs at each race meeting makes perfect sense and would help to protect all the trainers who are doing the right thing.”
In Australia, drug detection dogs can detect illicit substances such as amphetamine, methamphetamine (ice), and cocaine. They are one of the resources NSW Police use to target the use and supply of illegal drugs. With reports of drug use and trafficking running rife throughout the greyhound racing industry, these drugs not only kill people, but are often the root cause of crime.
“At the moment greyhound trainers who use illegal drugs on their dogs may effectively escape police prosecution altogether because the police are not routinely informed. If they have been escaping police prosecution for so long, it’s no wonder the industry attracts so much criminal activity. However, with detection dogs on the scene it would act as a major deterrent, and if the greyhound racing industry is really serious about reforming we would expect them to be supportive of the move,” concluded HSI’s Ms Dolphin.