The Office of Racing Integrity has today released the long-awaited report in relation to death of greyhound Tah Bernard.

The extensive investigation was conducted by the Office of Racing Integrity in conjunction with RSPCA Tasmania. The full report can be accessed here: The investigation found that the actions of the trainer did not breach either the provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 1993, or the animal welfare provisions of the Greyhound Australasia Rules. Rules are rules – and regulators can do nothing other than enforce the rules as they stand. However, this conclusion clearly demonstrates that both the legislative and regulatory frameworks within the racing industry continue to lag behind those in other jurisdictions and fall well below contemporary expectations. This situation needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency. As disappointing as this outcome is, there is a glimmer of hope in the recommendations handed down by the investigators into the painful last hours of this poor greyhound. The report issued by the Office of Racing Integrity makes two recommendations: That there must be a veterinary surgeon present at all race meetings and official greyhound club trial events or alternatively procured in a manner that provides for immediate on-track attendance in the event of an injury. That Tasracing and the Office of Racing Integrity review all local rules, animal welfare guidelines and associated documents related to euthanasia and treatment of injuries to ensure that they are clear, concise and non-contradictory – and that they clearly identify the roles and responsibilities of participants. The RSPCA supports these recommendations. Requiring a vet to be present at every event where greyhounds race, whether a trial or an actual race, is a basic animal welfare consideration – and is long overdue. The challenge now will be to find the number of veterinary professionals willing to undertake work in the racing and gambling industry. The current pressures on the veterinary industry are well known. Not only is there a significant shortage of vets, but those in the profession are also suffering from significant levels of workplace stress. Finding enough vets to deliver on this recommendation may be challenging – but this should not be an excuse for any reluctance to implement the report findings. Reviewing racing rules and guidelines relating to animal welfare is also imperative to ensure animals are given the best possible chance at finishing races safely and that fewer are subject to grievous harm at the track. We know Tasmanians care about animals. This report gives the new Minister for Racing, Madeleine Ogilvie, an opportunity to address these shortcomings and demonstrate that the state government understands community concerns and will deliver improved welfare outcomes for all animals. The RSPCA is committed to working to ensure that Tah Bernard’s death is finally the catalyst for the government to make the necessary changes to prevent intolerable suffering for these beautiful dogs in the name of ‘entertainment’.

Jan Davis, CEO – RSPCA Tasmania
Mobile: 0409 004 228