Greyhound Training Amendment bill passes

On 10 September 2015, the South Australian Parliament passed the Animal Welfare (Greyhound Training) Amendment Bill 2015, or the ‘Live Baiting Bill’, that will prevent live baiting from happening in South Australia. 

This follows the action the Government undertook after allegations were made of live baiting occurring in other states in the nation. Footage depicted on the ABC’s episode of Four Corners, Making a Killing, exposed the practice of live baiting in the greyhound racing industry in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, showing greyhound trainers using live bait to lure greyhounds around trail tracks.

These revelations shocked the nation and, while there has been no evidence of live baiting in South Australia, the South Australian Government took action to make it clear that the practice would not be tolerated.

The Government worked closely with the RSPCA and Greyhound Racing South Australia (GRSA) to broaden the range of prohibitions against animal abuse, creating new offences for participation in live baiting to mirror current offences for organised animal fights (such as cock and dog fighting), and increasing the maximum penalties for breaches of the new laws of up to $50,000, or imprisonment for four years. 

This action was taken as an immediate measure, and was part of a broader agreement that the RSCPA and Greyhound Racing SA would work together on further proposed changes to the industry.

The Bill complements steps that the GRSA are taking to improve the greyhound racing industry, with the support of the RSPCA, which include: 
•    additional animal welfare and compliance staff;
•    dramatically increasing the inspection rate of premises;
•    new aerial drone surveillance; 
•    surveillance cameras at private racing facilities, trial tracks and registered tracks; 
•    new rules around the prohibition and compulsory reporting of live baiting; 
•    the compulsion of registered participants to disclose all private racing facilities; and
•    protocols to inspect greyhound facilities without notice. 

The RSPCA and GRSA have developed and fostered a productive relationship throughout the development of this Bill, and the fact that the Government has been able to act so swiftly is a credit to both of the organisations. The Government looks forward to seeing what further reforms the RSCPA and GRSA are able to achieve for the greyhound racing industry.

Anyone with information regarding live baiting in South Australia should contact the RSPCA on 1300 477 722 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.