A message from the Greyhound Owners Trainers & Breeders Association of Victoria
In what has been a rough start to 2020 firstly with the bush fires, followed by a nasty bout of gastro which has swept through much of the greyhound population and now the uncertainty of racing continuing due to the global Pandemic COVID-19.
Firstly, a word on the gastro. It appears that we are in the tail end of it although some new outbreaks have been reported to the GOTBA. The good news is while it knocks our dogs around for a couple of days, it is not life threatening and most have reported the dogs feeling normal in one to three¬ days. In saying that, it has been a stressful time for participants, caring for sick dogs, increased workloads and less racing, which of course means a reduced income.
The COVID–19 global pandemic has suddenly changed almost every aspect to our everyday life – including how we go about our sport of greyhound racing.
The good news is that we know GRV is doing everything possible to continue racing into the foreseeable future. However, the situation is still fluid and every day seems to bring new challenges in keeping all codes racing and/or supporting the racing community.
Unlike many other sports that, as at the time of writing, have been forced to close, in our sport the greyhound is the athlete, so as long as we follow strict protocols, GOTBA Vic sees little reason we could not continue at least in some form into the future.
The importance of keeping racing open can’t be underestimated and this is why we must work together to ensure this happens if at all possible. Please remember to be respectful and considerate towards all other participants and officials in these trying times.
Our actions in supporting each other and keeping the industry open for business will do much towards protecting your family’s health and financially, your livelihood. As well, GRV & Club staff and suppliers all rely on this industry staying open.
Here’s some things us as participants can do to help greyhound racing continue during these difficult times both in relation to the gastro and COVID-19.
Q. What steps can participants do to protect themselves, their family and their greyhounds?
- Follow federal, State and regulator requirements and advice
- Lock down your property and restrict access to essential staff only
- Post a sign on your front gate advising unexpected visitors you are closed and to please call instead
- Notify clients and suppliers of your status and your amended delivery / pick up needs
Q. What can people do from a hygiene perspective?
- Be vigilant with personal hygiene and the biosecurity of your property.
- Disinfect race leads and kennel mats between uses – there are many different people at the track who can touch leads, collars and race mats, which poses a real risk.
- Regularly disinfect contact surfaces of trailer doors and handles.
- Regularly disinfect contact surfaces such as kennel gates, door handles, pooper scooper handles etc
Q. Can we avoid a food or supply shortage?
- Greyhound trainers have already reported some difficulty obtaining meat, dry food, and bread and milk products.
- We believe that much of the reason is last week’s panic buying and this should ease as suppliers catch up, and the demand of perishable goods comes back to normal.
In saying that, without panicking, you should:
- Ensure enough food stocks are on hand for at least 5 – 7 days. The GOTBA Vic suggestion is to store some extra premium dry food – enough to feed all dogs on the property as the only main food source, assuming that meat/chicken/bread supplies may become unreliable, limited or unavailable.
- Buy powdered milk in bulk from the feed/grain store, as supermarket UHT milk may remain scarce
Q. What does it mean given the age demographic of many participants is 60+?
- A significant number of participants are over 60, meaning they are at higher risk from COVID-19 infection.
- Do not attend trials or races if unwell with cold/flu symptoms
- Make the necessary alternative arrangements early to ensure you can keep racing
- Help other trainers to keep racing, safely, if they are ill, where possible, by handling or catching for them.
Q. How can participants better assist with the administration and operation of race meetings?
- Try to manage your racing activities pro-actively
- Nominate your greyhounds early to allow as much time as possible to make adjustments should Club staff, Stewards or OTVs be affected by COVID-19.
- Nominating early could help avoid race meetings being relocated or cancelled.
- Ensure catchers are engaged before arriving at the track as usual expectations or arrangements may be affected.
Remember, working together gives us the best chance to keep racing, which means we keeping greyhound racing viable, helps pay our staff and to care for our dogs.
GOTBA Vic is working with GRV and other stakeholders on this and other critical issues.