The Tamworth Greyhound Club (TGRC) has been named as the deadliest track in NSW in the first phase of a watershed report commissioned by Greyhound Racing NSW, but the local club rejects the allegation.
The report – carried out by University of Technology Sydney and published on Thursday – found that between January and December, 2016, eight greyhounds were euthanased due to “catastrophic injuries”.
The 254-page report also found that Tamworth recorded the highest rate of deaths per starter, with 8.2 per one thousand starters, although TGRC President Robert Munn has questioned the accuracy of the report.
“There is no way in the world that we had eight in a year,” Mr Munn said.
“I have to have a closer look at our paperwork but as far as we are concerned there was only two, three at most, and I should know, I have to take them away.
“Since July, last year, we have only had one, so if the report was right we have had a 90 per cent reduction, but it is not correct.”
The four tracks that recorded the highest mortality and injury rates in the state were all non-TAB tracks, in Tweed Heads, Coonamble and Coonabarabran, suggesting that the lower funding levels and higher rates of death could be linked. Wentworth Park recorded the best statistics with less than one death per 1000 starters.
The UTS report made 11 wide ranging recommendations to GRNSW on how to improve greyhound race track design, and in turn improve greyhound safety and welfare outcomes.
The key considerations included the industry looking at purpose built straight tracks, such as the one in Healesville,Victoria, after research confirmed the majority of injuries occur on bends.
Other recommendations included removing distances that meant starting boxes were set on corners, ensuring the corners had the correct camber, which was also shown to dramatically reduce injuries, as well as reducing the number of runners in each race from eight to six.
President of the Greyhound Breeders, Owners, and Trainers Association, which owns the Gunnedah and Wentworth Park clubs, Geoff Rose, didn’t disagree with the sweeping recommendations.
“You can’t argue with safety, and the industry can’t continue to do things that are not acceptable by society,” Mr Rose said.