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  • 24/08/2020 5:21 PM | Anonymous

    The Greyhound Owners Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria Inc is a volunteer organisation that represents participants across the Victorian greyhound racing industry.  In any given week, members are associated with around 50% of the greyhounds in the race program. 

    Much has happened in greyhound racing since my last report in April 2020.  One small thing: GRV no longer publishes these reports in the Greyhound Monthly.  It says for reasons of space.  You can form your own views on this: but we call out inconvenient issues from time to time where it is in the interests of members and/or their greyhounds to do so.  We will publish elsewhere.

    CONTINUING RACING DURING STAGE 4 – A HUGE EFFORT BY ALL

    We are still racing, even in Stage 4 restrictions.  That is a great effort that reflects well on everyone in the sport – from administrators and staff at clubs and GRV, the Office of Racing and most of all to the participants working hard under even more difficult conditions than normal. 

    Well done to everyone.

    TRACK SAFETY, PRIZEMONEY AND THE RACING PROGRAM

    The last 3 months have however brought to the forefront again some big, longstanding issues in Victorian greyhound racing.  They are not going and will not go away.

    Track safety 

    GOTBA Vic has been actively liaising with GRV and the Office of Racing for some time on the need for detailed track base and drainage scoping and work to be completed industry-wide, consistently with advice.  This is NOT a single track or club issue, nor is it any reflection on track staff who work very hard, often absent assistance that would come through targeted drainage and base works. 

    In early August, before recent meeting abandonments, the issue came to a head. GOTBA Vic and a group of major trainers, in frustration, highlighted serious concerns to GRV on major injuries and organised meetings with GRV management on the issue.  We are keeping close track of this – we want action.

    GOTBA Vic is calling on the GRV Board to re-examine its data, TALK to us and to trainers and act on these valid concerns, for the benefit of participants and their greyhounds.

    Costs of participation and prizemoney 

    COVID has exacerbated the issue of increasing costs in greyhound racing. It costs enormously more to bring a dog to racing, and keep it racing, than ever before.  Perhaps surprisingly, racing authorities across the nation have seen huge increases in wagering revenue, particularly from corporate bookmakers, in times of COVID.  

    It’s way, way past time in Victoria for a fair share for participants.  That requires not incremental change, but a step change.

    No-one looking objectively at GRV annual reports pre-COVID could fail to notice that participant per race/meeting returns have barely moved in seven years while GRV’s income and other expenses have continued to skyrocket. 

    Victoria now lags behind jurisdictions which continue – even in the last few days (SA and NSW) - to increase participant returns on a per race basis.  SA has put a percentage revenue share in place.

    This is not about greed, but basic equity.  The issue existed well before COVID - see below, for example, Grade 5 prizemoney at Lvl 1 (city) and 2 (country) almost eight years apart in Victoria (many underlying costs have almost DOUBLED in this time):

    Level 1 – 2012 and 2020

    Level 2 – 2013 and 2020

    Meadows - Grade 5, 525m - Sat 10 Nov 2012

    1st - $5,000, 2nd - $1,430, 3rd $720

    Meadows Grade 5, 525m Sat 15 Aug 2020

    1st - $5,280, 2nd - $1,510, 3rd $760

    Sale - Grade 5, 440m - Sun 6 January 2013

    1st - $1,325, 2nd $375, 3rd $190

    Sale - Grade 5, 440m - Sun 23 August 2020

    1st - $1,405, 2nd $400, 3rd $200 

    The above is context.  GOTBA Vic survey results – out formally soon – show that 88% of participants are dissatisfied with prizemoney, with more than half saying that their participation is being endangered.  Third party greyhound ownership is not viable for Lvl 3 prizemoney.  It is tenuous at Lvl 2 prizemoney.  More than 70% of recently polled participants demanded prizemoney increases in priority to other subsidies/amounts.

    Rumours of prizemoney increases in Victoria abound, but we are now at a tipping point.   

    Be aware of GRV marketing  announcements on ‘record prizemoney’ or ‘top-ups’ – often tiny overall increases paid purely because of expansion of the racing calendar (ie more races) at Level 3, or even simply ensuring that already allocated / previously committed prizemoney is actually paid out.  Call it out.  It matters in the long run.

    GOTBA Vic wants real per race prizemoney increases in Victoria and a stated, guaranteed minimum % total GRV revenue return to participants of not less than 53% into the medium term, with open data on GRV revenue circulated publicly monthly by GRV to participants to ensure that this is occurring.

    We will have more to say on this.  GOTBA Vic awaits keenly GRV’s annual report for 2019/20.  We will be analysing it very closely.

    Racing calendar

    GRV is currently expanding its racing calendar from 23 meetings per week to as many as 26-27 per week over the next year or so. 

    GOTBA Vic is not satisfied there is a proper, medium-term considered case for an increased Victorian racing program, and certainly not a more Lvl 3 prizemoney (as opposed to grade) focused program.  There are no 66% cost greyhounds.  More meetings has medium and long-term costs (including after racing) borne by participants.  It alters where Victorian greyhound racing sits compared to other States. It is not justified purely by being able to fill additional meetings during current COVID restrictions.

    The focus should be on making the existing calendar as efficient as possible within the existing program, and increasing per race returns.

    A CODA

    Crises do end. Sometimes they have silver linings.  One effect of them is to give perspective on what is important, and what is not.   The present crisis shows just how important people are, and how ongoing participation by those who provide the product can be tenuous. The time will come for a re-examination, with that perspective, of how the sport best runs, and whether and how the sport and its various stakeholders can and should do better than the old status quo into the future.

    A pdf version of this is here:2020-8 GOTBA Vic President’s Report.pdf

    LYNTON HOGAN, President GOTBA Vic

    24 August 2020


  • 21/06/2020 1:22 PM | Anonymous

    Code of Practice: EHMP annual review AND updated GOTBA version Emergency Euthanasia Protocol

    The Code of Practice for the Keeping of Racing Greyhounds has been in operation for almost 6 months. There have been many challenges that will have tested procedures for keeping greyhounds in this time, particularly biosecurity and isolation issues.

    The time for your required annual review of your Establishment Health Management Plan by the Person in Charge (Jan 1 for many establishments) will get here quicker than you think.  What has worked? What hasn't?  Are changes needed?  Are those changes permitted? These will be things to consider by the end of the year.  Start early if you can.

    Remember: if you do make changes to those protocols that needed to be vet-signed originally, those changes will also need to be signed in due course. 

    Changes to GOTBA's EHMP - Emergency Euthanasia Protocol

    Following correspondence with GRV, GOTBA Vic has updated its version of the Emergency Euthanasia Protocol (EEP) within its example Establishment Health Management Plan.

    The update is available both alone and within a consolidated document on our (member only) examples page - Code of Practice: EXAMPLE EHMP and Protocols .

    For participants who put in place the prior GOTBA version EEP, you should replace it when next visiting your EHMP vet (which at minimum will involve your vet initialling a replacement EEP), and then update their own EHMP records and practices accordingly.  You are, of course, not bound to use the GOTBA (or any other) version, but the version used must contain approved persons and approved methods.

    Our version, as amended, only contains an approved method of emergency euthanasia in location that is undertaken by, or is under the immediate real-time supervision (including remote) of a vet.  Intentionally, neither our previous nor our current version of the emergency euthanasia protocol refers to use of a firearm.  

    If you previously contacted us by email to obtain our earlier EHMP example, we will reach out to you.

    GOTBA Committee

    June 2020 

     

  • 17/03/2020 10:18 AM | Anonymous

    Injuries are a real issue in Victorian greyhound racing. And anecdotally an increasing one.

    Below is a Greyhound Monthly President's Report that GRV declined to publish on recent track injuries and better recording them to find solutions.

    GRV has declined to publish a report once before - in 2018 on prizemoney. We'll leave you to judge why that is.

    ---------------------

    Major injuries after races and trials: the importance of collecting and sharing information

    Welfare of the racing greyhound and track safety are matters of the highest priority to all greyhound racing participants.  Maximising these things as far as is possible is a common goal of all of us.

    Over the summer months, GOTBA Vic has received feedback from members about an apparent uptick in the occurrence of significant injuries – fractured bones, significant tendon or muscle injuries - to greyhounds at the time of, or shortly after, the racing and (particularly) trialling of greyhounds at race tracks.  We recognise that not only are such injuries a greyhound welfare issue, but they cause stress and loss to those who are associated with, and care for, the greyhounds involved.

    Many of us may suspect as a matter of experience and anecdote that track safety or preparation (admittedly in often difficult conditions) may over-contribute to major injury occurrence, but we do not always perfectly understand why that may be the case.

    Getting to the bottom of why major injuries occur is a difficult, but necessary, task that requires cooperation from multiple players in the sport.  At the moment, we have at best an incomplete understanding of even the frequency of major injuries – those diagnosed after a race meeting or in consequence of trials may be known only to owners and trainers. 

    Without that understanding, we hamper our ability to determine root causes so as to best ensure that we minimise major injuries in the future. 

    Given this, we encourage trainers to do the following for major injuries to greyhounds in their kennel, as a kennel-wide record:

    ·         write down what they are and when they occur or are diagnosed (in addition to any obligation to keep a record of injuries in your Code of Practice individual greyhound record);

    ·         in the same place, note where the greyhound has trialled or raced in the lead up to the injury (particularly if the injury obviously arose as a result of a trial session or arose after a race meeting and was not otherwise included in steward reports);

    ·         be prepared to share this information with GRV and others in the industry.

    An example:

    Date of occurrence/diagnosis

    Greyhound

    Major injury

    Trial or race beforehand?

    Track trialled/raced, when

    9 Jan 2020

    Extra Fast

    Broken hock

    Trial

    Meadows, 9/1/20

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The more data available, the more that potential causes can be analysed and addressed – for example if major injuries occur disproportionately to greyhounds who trial at particular tracks, then the regulator, clubs and participants may be able to better understand why this has occurred and be able to take efficient corrective action.

    GOTBA Vic would encourage trainers to let us know the above information for their kennel over the last 12 months – send us an email – gotbav@gmail.com  - with the subject line, ‘Major injuries in my kennel: Type, Time and Tracks Raced/Trialled’.


    Lynton Hogan

    President GOTBA Vic



  • 05/03/2020 6:01 PM | Anonymous

    There is currently concern among participants, and in some cases unnecessary alarm, with the current outbreak of canine gastroenteritis in Victoria.

    What we know from our members’ own experience

    This is not new.  It is the same or similar to gastro outbreaks that occur almost every year.  It is NOT related to the human outbreak of Covid 19.  The dog virus is not contagious to humans.

    This virus affected greyhounds in WA around Christmas time and soon after in Queensland & NSW.  It is now surfacing in Victoria.

    The experience of trainers affected in WA, QLD and now in Victoria is that  the majority of dogs are back to normal, in terms of no longer having evident symptoms, in 24 to 48 hours.

    Importantly, all dogs in a kennel don’t get it at the same time. This means larger kennels may have it among their dog population for a number of weeks.

    Symptoms  

    Usually lethargic, don’t want to get off their bed, not interested in their meal or eat slowly, often vomiting up any food they have just eaten. Diarrhoea.

    Usually they will run a temperature. This is often followed by scours.

    GOTBA member experience advice based on previous outbreaks

    No exercise, let the dog rest in clean, warm, stress free environment. Give very small meals more often rather than one normal meal.

    Arofac 200 powder appears to be successful in avoiding or slowing the scours. Suggest it be given in each of the small meals once symptoms appear.  Have regard to any veterinary advice you may obtain.

    Spray kennels with F10 Veterinary disinfectant.  Best put into spray bottle and applied to kennel area and bedding.

    Clean and disinfect soiled kennels and bedding thoroughly.

    Clean all faeces from kennels and yards after every let out. It has been reported to us that nose to faeces contact rather than from dog to dog contact is the main cause of the virus spreading.

    Take temperature of any dogs suspected of coming down with gastro.

    Isolate infected dogs if possible (and participants should actively apply their Code of Practice EHMP isolation protocols in this regard).

    If a dog does not show signs of recovery within 2 -3 days, seek veterinary advice.

    Racing and Trialling

    According to members, a large majority of the dogs that come down with the virus will show the signs in the day or few days after attending trials or races (or completing other high impact exercise).

    Even though most dogs will recover within 24 to 48 hours of first symptom, they should be given 10 days off racing or trialling after those symptoms have gone and the greyhound seems fully recovered.  This is both prudent health care for the individual greyhound and for the wider population.

    Keeping a keen eye on your dogs and good kennel management, including isolation, can allow you to race fit and healthy dogs and care for those with, or who are recovering from it.

    Take the temperature of dogs prior to leaving home to race or trial.  Remember that taking the temperature at the track often provides false high readings. 

    Use your own ‘disinfected’ lure arm while trialling or only pen trials.

    Avoid placing dogs into the holding pens outside catching pens.

    MOST IMPORTANTLY, if in any doubt, leave your dog home - don’t race or trial – and consider seeking veterinary advice.

    Other resources: GRV

    Participants should note that GRV also has a number of resources available with more information on the virus and on actions to take or consider taking – see https://greyhoundcare.grv.org.au/ccv/


    AND ANOTHER THING – avoidance of panic and respect in dealing with others

    It is critically important that all participants avoid panic, remain civil towards one another and respect the efforts of those working in and regulating the sport in managing the current canine gastroenteritis outbreak.    Industry participants and GRV as regulator are taking prudent, nimble action for the benefit of individual greyhounds and the sport generally, including people who rely on it. 

    Always treat participants and GRV personnel striving to respond in sometimes difficult circumstances with respect: by all means be constructive with input, but avoid actions that are intemperate, particularly any abuse – they only put barriers in the way of achieving the efficient, best outcomes.

     

    THE COMMITTEE

    Greyhound Owners Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria Inc


  • 10/11/2019 2:17 PM | Anonymous

    All

    GOTBA Vic has today updated some of the materials available on its website relating to the Code of Practice. The Code commences on 1 Jan 2020.

    In particular, an example, largely complete EHMP (capable of being completed by participants for whom it is suitable) is available. This includes changes in certain areas of the GRV proforma EHMP material.

    Also available are example individual EHMP protocols on topics such as retirement and rehoming, hygiene, risk assessment (among others).

    The examples page is at Code of Practice: EXAMPLE EHMP and Protocols - a member only section of the site.  This should be viewed with materials available at Code of Practice - Additional member resources

    Members unable to access this material and who wish to should get in touch by phone or email.

    GOTBA Vic Committee

    Nov 2019




  • 19/10/2019 6:58 PM | Anonymous

    The Greyhound Owners Trainers Breeders Association of Victoria Inc will hold its annual general meeting at Sandown Greyhound Racing Club from 6pm on Sunday 10 November 2019.

    Meeting matters will include presentation of the president’s report, financial report, elections, and a presentation of example EHMPs for the upcoming Code commencement.

    Attached is the AGM notice - 2019 AGM Notice.pdf - registration from 5.45pm.

    Attached is a committee nomination form - GOTBA Committee Nomination Form 1.pdf.  Completed forms must be received by the secretary 14 days prior to the meeting.

    GOTBA Committee


  • 17/09/2019 9:03 PM | Anonymous

    The Greyhound Owners Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria Inc congratulates Ray Bartolo on his appointment today to the GRV Board. Ray is an excellent appointment and we wish him well.

    WE are the reason this appointment occurred.  GOTBA Vic lobbied hard for the appointment of a current, ongoing participant to GRV’s board. There was resistance.  Earlier this year, we met with the Minister and the head of the Office of Racing and presented the case for why having active participants on GRV’s Board - something specifically allowed in the Racing Act - was necessary and well overdue to promote GRV decision making that gave more thought to participants.  We then provided a list of potential candidates.  We followed up. We followed up again. 

    To the Minister’s great credit, he listened and acted decisively to make the appointment.

    One of GOTBA Vic’s 3 focus areas this year was enhancing the participant voice in the making of decisions that affect participants. This is an example of us working effectively for all.

    GOTBA Vic Committee


  • 11/08/2019 2:20 PM | Anonymous

    GOTBA Vic now has a Member only page on its website with additional resources to assist members to be ready for Code of Practice commencement on 1 Jan 2020.

    Resources include:  

    • A summary of what to do before 1 Jan 2020 if you keep non-retired greyhounds to assist you in being Code compliant;
    • Tips and possible amendments to consider making to GRV’s Establishment Health Management Plan proforma;
    • A Code-adapted Vet Agreement that you could consider using;
    • Individual Greyhound Record proforma; and
    • Establishment Record proforma.

    We encourage members to visit the page. It contains important information, including explanation of some of our material.

    The page is called ‘Code of Practice: Additional Member Resources’ and is located within the  ‘Members’ section - a link: Members.

    Tip: You will need to log in to access the material.

    You should regularly visit in the lead-up to 1 Jan 2020: we will be updating and adding material to the page.  If you have suggestions for additions that may help you, please let us know.

    Members who are unable to access the log-in only section should get in contact with us. 

    GOTBA Vic Committee

    August 2019


  • 15/07/2019 5:41 PM | Anonymous

    The Greyhound Owners Trainers and Breeders Association of Victoria Inc has filed a submission with Greyhound Racing Victoria on its Traralgon track design consultation.

    It is here - GOTBA Vic - Traralgon consultation - Submission final.pdf  The submission relies on consideration of information and feedback from a variety of sources.  If you have the opportunity to, read it in full.

    A short summary of the submission:

    GRV has consulted on 2 track design options, excluding a 2 bend track.

    Of the options given, GOTBA Vic expresses a preference for the ‘U track’. It is more functional from the perspective of a greyhound racing participant. In the submission, we note some racing matters that will need to be monitored if a one bend design is ultimately implemented.

    GRV’s consultation says nothing about track base, drainage and surface. This was a, possibly the, major issue with the previous track – the Traralgon complex was redeveloped at a total cost of $6m to GRV’s budget in 2014/15. Much of that expenditure was wasted. Such waste cannot recur.

    Development of any preferred design must settle on a carefully considered base, drainage and surface design solution, including “best for purpose” sand type before tendering, to avoid repeating past mistakes and impacts for the greyhound.

    Finally, as a matter of fairness to participants, GRV should also, after considering submissions by us and others, summarise key feedback items, and publish a summary of GRV’s consideration of them, to close the consultation loop.

    GOTBA Vic Committee

    July 2019






  • 01/07/2019 9:08 AM | Anonymous

    GRV has sought feedback on two new Traralgon track design proposals – a J-shaped track and a U-shaped track, each one turn, see https://www.grv.org.au/feedback-traralgon-track-designs/.   Feedback period ends 12 July 2019.

    We are considering the consultation version material.  GOTBA Vic has, on various committees, seen that each of GRV and the Traralgon club has carried out a significant amount of work to date for a new Traralgon track.   GOTBA Vic and its members identified severe issues with the old (well, 2014) Traralgon track (eg early 2018 member survey):  properly considered investment by GRV in safe racing and track infrastructure is an unequivocal benefit for the sport. 

    GRV and the Traralgon club's preparatory work is to be commended.  Any repeat of the most recent rebuild must, however, be avoided at all costs.

    Both new designs would result in very different racing to any current Victorian track, for the dogs and visually for participants and punters.  The racetrack experience will not be the same.  Participants should consider potential issues they may see.  You may see things that may not have been considered and that might make a difference.

    Some things to think about:

    ·         J track:  this has a 300m straight track within it, and 400m/500m starts that use the ‘J’ bend.  It does however have 2 different catching pens (one for 300m straight run, one at the end of the ‘J’ for the 400/500).  Do you think that this creates a potential issue (ie could greyhounds ‘switch’ from one to the other safely)? If it does, what might be done to address the risk?)

    ·         U track:  350m, 420m and 500m starts.  No straight track distance.  Single catching pen for all distances.  A 350m one turn run is unusual in Victoria (though not unheard of – 347m old Geelong for eg).  The next distance up - 420m is close (though 390m to 450m is common).  Comparing the distances for the ‘U track’ and ‘J track’, which set would you prefer to race on with your dogs? Why?

    ·         Of the J or U track which would you prefer to trial on?  Which would you prefer (if any) to educate or pre-train on? Why?

    ·         No 2 turn track option:  a 2 turn track would likely have had to use the exact same shape as previously, but be entirely rebuilt too (ie surface, drainage etc).  Data suggests that 2 turn tracks can struggle to produce better safety outcomes than one bend tracks, particularly if there are issues with the surface.   A one-bend track is seen as a safety matter.

    There are other important matters for a new track that impact on safety, including sand/surface profiles etc.   Surface and track profile was a huge issue at the old Traralgon track.  GOTBA Vic continues to follow up on this across all Victorian tracks. Also, costing for the proposed designs has not been released.  We will follow these up separately.

    But on the design proposals, let us know what you think, including by email at gotbav@gmail.com


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