GRNSW: Farm-Stay A Game Changer In Animal Welfare

GRNSW chair Hugh Armenis has declared the acquisition of a site in the Hunter Valley as “one of the most significant welfare moves in racing.”

Adam Dobbin

5 August 2020

Greyhound Racing NSW (GRNSW) chairman Hugh Armenis has declared GRNSW’s acquisition of a farm-stay site in the Hunter Valley as “one of the most significant welfare announcements in the history of racing.”

The commercial body recently announced that land had been secured for a world-first facility to care for retired greyhounds, another key initiative in GRNSW delivering on its promise to reach market-leading animal welfare standards.

Following an exhaustive process, having surveyed more than 80 properties, GRNSW recently put pen to paper for the property in the Hunter Valley which will have the capacity to house up to 400 greyhounds.

“It’s unprecedented and this is one of the most significant welfare announcements ever made in our industry,” Mr Armenis said.

“The farm-stay is a crucial step in GRNSW’s welfare and lifetime care program for all greyhounds, and significant work has been done to ensure we have secured the ideal property for this facility.

“The farm-stay – part of GRNSW’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan – now gives GRNSW an additional avenue to rehome greyhounds which are assessed as not yet pet ready.” 

Plans are well advanced for the facility to be managed by full-time and part-time staff and include veterinarians and behavioural experts.

The farm-stay provides a pathway through to the GAP re-homing program which in the past 12 months re-homed over 1300 greyhounds, well up from the previous year’s mark of 729.

“A core pillar of GRNSW’s 2018-2021 Strategic Plan is responsibility to the industry in the area of animal welfare, which includes the farm-stay,” GRNSW Chief Executive Officer Tony Mestrov said.

“As set out by the reforms, GRNSW is committed to establishing support mechanisms to ensure that welfare is a key consideration in every operational aspect and that a greyhound’s welfare flourishes across its lifecycle. 

“In order to do this, GRNSW aims to ensure greyhounds are bred, trained, trialled, raced and rehomed in the most responsible and sustainable manner. 

“The farm-stay is an initiative that will help achieve this – focusing on additional rehabilitation opportunities for greyhounds as a pathway to adoption and enabling greyhounds that are unsuitable for adoption to be housed in a safe and supportive environment.

“Combined with the major expansion of our Greyhounds As Pets (GAP) program into regional NSW areas, the farm will be a major part of our lifetime care plan.”