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Greyhounds are not permitted to race until they have reached the age of 16 months. Once they reach this stage, RWWA has many rules and policies in place to ensure that the best levels of care are given to greyhounds whilst they are racing.

RWWA’s Stewards regularly conduct kennel inspections to ensure compliance with the Rules of Racing.
Below provides a summary of the types of rules and policies that are currently in place. However, to view the full Rules of Racing and full range of Stewards policies please click here

Code of Practice for the Keeping of Greyhounds in WA

The 'Code of Practice for the Keeping of Greyhounds within the Western Australian Racing Industry' has been prepared by RWWA’s Integrity Department, in consultation with people who have expertise in greyhound management, welfare and veterinary science. The code was developed with input from RSPCA WA whose welfare officers assisted with review and development of this code through a RWWA-RSPCA WA working party. The purpose of the document is to describe standards and guidelines that safeguard the welfare of greyhounds within the racing industry in Western Australia. 

Under this Code, the Minimum Standards set the minimum level of conduct required. They are based on current scientific knowledge, recommended industry practice and community expectations. 

The Guidelines provide information to improve awareness of good welfare practices and encourage the considerate treatment of greyhounds.

The Code is designed to encourage a consistent approach that will: 

  • Provide for the welfare of greyhounds by specifying the minimum standards of accommodation, management and care that are appropriate to the physical and behavioural needs of greyhounds including those for the breeding and rearing, boarding and training for greyhound racing.
  • Act as a guideline for the RWWA Stewards to assess each individual and property and serve as a template for the application of the rules.
  • Enable industry members by adhering to this Code to demonstrate their duty of care for the racing greyhound.

The Code emphasises the importance of good management practices, pointing out that persons in charge of greyhounds have a legal liability.

The overriding theme of this Code is that the wellbeing of the greyhound must at all times be considered above the demands of owners, breeders, Participants, sponsors, officials or spectators.

The full Code of Practice for the Keeping of Greyhounds within the Western Australian Racing Industry can be found here.

Veterinary Care

To ensure that the best levels of care are given to greyhounds whilst they are racing appropriate veterinary care is required.

Therefore, greyhound trainers are required to establish a relationship with a veterinary practitioner to provide advice and treatment as needed and immediate veterinary attention must be provided for sick or injured greyhounds, to relieve pain, suffering and distress. 

Persons in charge of greyhounds must be able to recognise common signs of disease and ill health and take reasonable measures to respond to these observations, which includes seeking veterinary advice.
Whilst racing greyhounds must be vaccinated in accordance with the RWWA Rules of Greyhound Racing which includes at a minimum vaccination against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza virus and bordetella bronchiseptica (C5).

Furthermore, internal and external parasites must be controlled through routine preventative treatments. 

Participants must also have appropriate biosecurity measures in place to prevent the spread of infectious conditions within the kennel and they must maintain either an isolation area on the property to isolate sick animals or have suitable isolation facilities available off site.

In addition, greyhounds are vet checked at the commencement of each race meeting to ensure that they are in a suitable condition to race. The greyhounds’ weight is also recorded at every race meeting to ensure they’re maintaining a healthy weight range.

Kennel Guidelines

When training greyhounds it’s important that they have suitable living conditions. Whilst a greyhound is racing, Trainer’s must provide accommodation that is in line with strict guidelines, including:

  • Purpose Built Shelter: the accommodation must be a purpose built shelter and provide effective shelter and protection from rain, wind and sun.
  • Injury-Safe: the design and construction of the shelter or yard must guard against injury and must be free from any sharp or hazardous materials to ensure the safety of the greyhounds.
  • Clean Living Conditions: the surrounding environment and the shelter must be kept clean and tidy to ensure the health and wellbeing of the greyhounds. All accommodation, yards, feeding and drinking materials must be maintained in a clean and sanitary condition at all times.
  • Adequate Size: The shelter must be of an appropriate size to ensure adequate space is available for the greyhounds.
  • Temperature Control: the accommodation is to provide adequate ventilation, insulation and shade so as to maintain a comfortable temperature and an adequate supply of fresh air. 
  • Water and Food: A greyhound must at all times have access to adequate and clean drinking water with all food and water utensils being of materials that can be effectively cleaned and disinfected.
  • Excreta and Sanitation: a responsible method of disposal of excreta and sanitation procedures must be established and demonstrated to Stewards. 
  • Exercise Yards: yards used to house and accommodate pups must have adequate space to allow them freedom to exercise. It must also contain some suitable form of shade and protection from inclement weather. 
  • Fencing: fencing of yards must be able to prevent the escape of greyhounds by way of either through or under the fencing but also high enough to prevent the jumping over of. Furthermore, fencing should also be able to prevent threats to them from any vermin, parasites, snakes and predators. 

Hot Weather Policy

Western Australia is well-known for its hot summer days and therefore RWWA has a hot weather policy to ensure in instances where the temperature and humidity reach extreme levels, the greyhounds receive necessary care.
When the hot weather policy is activated the following are observed:

  • The kennel areas are air-conditioned and well ventilated. Race clubs are advised that kennel cooling systems should be activated no less than three hours prior to kennelling.
  • Adequate water/wash bays are available to maximise post-race cooling. It is suggested that hoses be made available in the car park to cool hot trailers prior to transport from the course. 
  • Adequate drinking water is available.
  • Kennel staff are informed to have ice, water and towels available as well as large bins placed near hose bays that are continually stocked with bags of ice and water to assist trainers/vets in the cooling of greyhounds.
  • In some instances, an additional veterinary surgeon will be employed to patrol the kennel area and monitor recovering greyhounds.
  • Stewards minimise the time that greyhounds are required to parade, and be held in parading and race presentation areas. 
  • After racing a greyhound must be held in the kennel area, in order to fully recover, for a period of time at least until the end of the next scheduled race (approx. 20 minutes), prior to leaving the course.
  • At any race meeting that the above measures have been applied to, at no stage are greyhounds to be loaded into their transportation, until such time as they are leaving the course. This measure applies throughout the entirety of the race meeting and is still applicable when greyhounds are no longer being required to remain in the kennel area after racing. 

However, where the temperature rises above 40°C, or the Stewards are of the opinion that the temperature is likely to rise above 40°C during the meeting, the Stewards may abandon the meeting, or cancel particular races of that meeting.

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