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Tasmania’s top greyhound trainer, Anthony Bullock, has found himself at the center of controversy as the Office of Racing Integrity (ORI) suspends his license following allegations of possessing an animal part that could be used as a lure.
This development comes after the release of drone footage by an animal rights group, sparking concerns about the treatment of animals in Bullock’s training facility at Exeter, Tasmania. While ORI’s investigation did not find widespread breaches of their animal welfare standards, the case has raised important questions about the industry and the need for “stricter regulations”. In an ideal world the only regulation would be the end of dog racing.
The crux of the allegations against Bullock revolves around the alleged possession of an animal part “reasonably likely to be capable of being used as a lure.” Under racing rules, Bullock must prove that he was not using this item as a lure to avoid a potential lifetime ban. The ORI rightfully suspended his license pending the outcome of the ongoing inquiry.
The ORI’s investigation found that the standard of animal welfare for dogs and horses on Bullock’s properties in Exeter and Sidmouth was “generally acceptable.” RSPCA officers who visited the properties did not identify any breaches of legislation based on the drone footage or their inspections. The dogs were deemed to be in “acceptable body condition,” with no signs of pressure sores. Bedding was provided in clean and dry indoor pens, although some outdoor pens had less than ideal bedding conditions. Several dogs had minor health issues like gingivitis and light flea infestations, but the regulatory veterinarian recommended improvements in parasite control and dental care.
The ORI report noted that the RSPCA believed Bullock had not breached animal welfare standards primarily due to deficiencies in legislation rather than the provision of adequate care. Furthermore, the public reaction to the footage made it evident that the conditions on Bullock’s property did not meet community expectations. This has prompted calls for a review of animal welfare recommendations, streamlining of greyhound regulations, and the implementation of a “life-cycle traceability program” for all racing greyhounds.
In response to the controversy, the Tasmanian government announced a review of dog welfare recommendations just two days before the release of the Bullock report. This indicates a commitment to addressing concerns about animal welfare within the racing industry. The ORI has also recommended the development of a welfare code of practice specifically for the greyhound racing industry.
Anthony Bullock’s suspension and the controversy surrounding his alleged possession of an animal part have brought issues of animal welfare and regulatory oversight in the greyhound racing industry to the forefront. While the ORI investigation did not uncover “widespread abuse”. However, it is important to note that while he has not gotten in trouble for abuse, dog racing is still not acceptable.
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