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Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - Page 51


Page 52 - Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 Melbourne


Sport Extra

One in four bets placed on dogs ■ Greyhound Racing Victoria unveiled its Strategic Plan last week, and one of the key objectives of the organisation is that it will become the world's most respected greyhound racing body within five years. They also intend to become one of the world's most repsected racing authorities, and a world class operator in the administration of racing. Currently, 20 per cent of TAB revenue, and one in four bets placed on Victorian racing is on the greyhounds, a figure which naturally delights the code but also has administrators of thoroughbred and particularly harness racing worried, as the greyhound sport has really improved its attractiveness to punters in recent years. Greyhound Racing Victoria will continue to develop and grow the industry in areas such as welfare, racing operations, membership, club enablement, wagering, people and culture, technology, reputation and stakeholder engagement. GRV Chairman, Peter Caillard, said the Strategic Plan is the next step in the development of greyhound racing in the state and has been designed to sustain the success the sport has been having and usher in a new age of professionalism. Greyhound Racing Victoria Chief Executive Adam Wallish will present the Strategic Plan to members at The Meadows, Warragul and Ballarat in the coming month. These sessions will be held at the following venues: The Meadows: Wednesday, April 23at 6:30pm; Warragul: Thursday, April 24 at 6:30pm; Ballarat: Tuesday, May 6 at 6:30pm.


with Kyle Galley

Cup Final ■ Bendigo will stage its Cup Final this Sunday night (April 20) with the main race set to contain a superb field of dogs. Outside of the Cup there will be several other feature events containing some of the state's best greyhounds. The holiday weekend timeslot should draw a large crowd of local's and visitors to the Lord's Raceway track. The Cup meeting at Bendigo will be the second on their state of the art racing circuit, located alongside the harness racing track beside the McIvor Highway at Junortoun. Racing has come a long way at Bendigo with the current track and spectator facilities among the best in country Australia. The Bendigo Cup was first staged in 1957 and for many years the Bendigo Greyhound RacingAssociation raced on a track at Eaglehawk, before moving to Junortoun in the late 1970s.

Over the years the distance of the race has varied from the 400 metre sprint course, and occasionally over the middle distance of 545 metres. Now the race is staged over 425 metres and was last year won by top sprinter Ronan Izmir. Many top chasers of past years have won the race, with names such as Lansley Bale, Brumby Lad and El Galo figuring in the last decade.

Money back ■ Members of the Sale Greyhound Racing Club’s Salegreys Syndicate will at least get their money back when the syndicate winds up in a few months. Investors paid $250 each for a share in three greyhounds for a two year period. Those three dogs, Salegreys Late, Salegreys Chatta and Salegreys Power have all recorded numerous wins and placings, including Salegreys Power giving the syndicate their first Melbourne city class win at The Meadows recently. All three dogs still have some racing in them yet, so their could be further riches in store for connections. This latest venture has been the most successful of the numerous syndicate packages that have been offered by the Sale club over the years, and no doubt there will be a good deal of interest in the next package when it becomes available.

Flashback ■ Australian greyhound racing administrators were celebrating in late

● Salegreys Power

1976 when they secured a five-year sponsorship deal from the American based electronics company, Fairchild Camera and Instrument Corporation, valued at more than $650,000. The Fairchild company came on board to sponsor two new feature events on the calendar - the Commonwealth Sprint Championship and the Commonwealth Distance Championship. The races were open to greyhounds from all states of Australia and New Zealand, with first prize in the sprint worth $20,000 and $15,000 for the distance race. Runners would qualify in home state divisions, before racing against one another at a central location to decide the overall Champion of Champions. The venue for the event would rotate between the states each year, with the first staging set for the Harold Park track in Sydney in March 1977. Meanwhile, more than $64 million was bet on greyhound racing in Victoria during the 1975/1976 financial year. This represented almost 19 per cent of the total of over $440 million wagered on the three racing codes via

the TAB. It is interesting to note that the best part of 40 years later, greyhound racing is still around the same mark (currently 20 per cent of turnover), however the current figure has risen substantially after often dropping well below the 19 per cent mark during those four decades.

Upcoming race meetings ■ There are a number of changes to the regular racing calendar this week to accommodate the Bendigo Cup Carnival and Good Friday, when there is no racing. Wednesday: The Meadows (Day), Shepparton (Twilight), Bendigo (Night), Warrnambool (N); Thursday: Geelong (D), Bendigo (T), Sandown Park (N), Ballarat (N); Friday: Good Friday (no racing); Saturday: Bendigo (T), The Meadows (N); Sunday: Sandown Park (D), Healesville (D), Bendigo (T), Sale (T); Monday: Traralgon (D), Geelong (T), Shepparton (N); Tuesday: Horsham (T), Warragul (N). - Kyle Galley

Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - Page 53


New breeding code for cats, dogs Some breeds easier to train ■ Zforce Sweet Surrender, or ‘Jessie’ was advertised as being free to a good home. Her owners said she was destructive and they were finding her difficult to train. When Lisa Staszek read the ad she knew the 18-month-old American Staffordshire Terrier would be perfect for her family as they already had another dog of the same breed and age that they adored. “We already had our Amstaff boy Dezzy and trained him with the Ballarat Dog Obedience Club so we knew that Jessie would be welcome there too,” said Mrs Staszek. “The club is fantastic and has never discriminated against our dogs for their breed. They are registered, pedigree dogs, well bred and extremely well socialised.” Lisa’s 11-year-old daughter Tamika bonded to Jessie immediately and began working with her to train in obedience and compete in tracking competitions. She found Jessie was easy to train and eager to please her new young owner. The pair has now earned two “very good passes” in the sport, a bragging right that even experienced competitors in the sport envy. “It just goes to show that every dog is trainable,” said Dogs Victoria President Peter Frost. “Some can be more challenging than others, but with good instructors and the right attitude any dog can become a well-trained pet .”

■ The Victorian State Government says it is improving welfare standards for companion animals with a new mandatory code for dog and cat breeding and rearing businesses coming into force this month. Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh, said there had been extensive review and public consultation on the new Code of Practice for the Operation of Breeding and Rearing Businesses. “The revised code sets a new benchmark for animal welfare and management in Victoria, ensuring dog and cat breeding and rearing businesses have clear rules for the care and attention that animals must receive,” Mr Walsh said. “This is the first revision of the code since its creation in 1996, and the new version is far more detailed with new and expanded sections covering all aspects of animal welfare. “The new code delivers a number of major improvements in animal welfare standards that makes it the most comprehensive in Australia and a global benchmark for animal welfare. “These include: breeding limits; health checks; record keeping; nutritional, exercise and socialisation requirements; bans on wire cage floors; and minimum staff to animal ratios. The new code also has clear euthanasia guidelines that ban the use of blunt force trauma.” Mr Walsh said dog and cat breeding and rearing businesses must abide by the revised code or face stiff penalties. “Under changes made by the Victorian Coalition Government, penal-

Farming pups for profit

● Peter Walsh, Victorian Minister for Agriculture ties for unregistered and non-compli- ing to the RSPCA to help investigate ant business include fines up to and shut down rogue operators. “The Victorian Coalition Govern$35,512, bans of up to 10 years on owning animals, and the confiscation ment also set up the $1.6 million Animal Welfare Fund to help animal care of animals and property. “As well as the crackdown on ille- and rescue groups with activities like gal puppy farms and the new Breed- foster care programs, emergency reing and Rearing Code, the Victorian lief services, subsidised desexing proCoalition Government has also de- grams, and animal care infrastructure livered greater powers and more fund- and equipment.”

■ Dogs Victoria supports the RSPCA in a campaign to stop dogs being used by uncaring people operating puppy farms in Victoria. “Dogs Victoria promotes the responsible breeding and ownership of dogs,” says the President of the not-for-profit organisation, Peter Frost. “The Dogs Victoria code of ethics is very clear on this: breeding should not be done for commercial purposes or profit, but rather to improve the breed’s function, health and temperament.” This problem must be approached from both ends: the producer and the consumer. Dogs Victoria and the RSPCA advise purchasing a puppy from a reputable breeder or adopting a pet from a shelter or rescue organisation. In addition to educating consumers, Dogs Victoria has been in discussions with the State Government to legislate against these high-volume breeders. “Dogs Victoria has its own strict code of ethics,” explains Mr Frost. “We encourage the government to use this as a model, holding all dog breeders in the state to the same high standards of DogsVictoria registered breeders.” Dogs Victoria believes this will reduce the over-supply of dogs and puppies in Victoria.

Page 54 - Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Country Living

Govt. action to save Leadbeater’s Possum

■ The Victorian State Government has this week announced a new plan to help the recovery of the state’s faunal emblem, the threatened Leadbeater’s Possum. The Government has accepted all 13 recommendations from the Leadbeater’s Possum Advisory Group, a group jointly convened by the Victorian Association of Forest Industries and Zoos Victoria, and will invest $11 million for implementation. Minister for Environment and Climate Change, Ryan Smith, and Minister for Agriculture and Food Security, Peter Walsh, said the goal of the Leadbeater’s Possum Advi-

sory Group had been to find ways to support the recovery of Leadbeater’s Possum while also maintaining a sustainable timber industry. “The Coalition Government’s plan will provide greater protection than ever for the habitat of the threatened Leadbeater’s Possum,” Mr Smith said. “For two years, following Black Saturday bushfires in the Central Highlands, which burnt almost half of the possums’ protected habitat, Labor sat on their hands and did nothing.” Mr Walsh said that accepting the Advisory Group findings meant altering timber har-

vest practices in the Central Highlands. “The Victorian Coalition Government acknowledges the challenges ahead for the timber industry as the recommendations are enacted, but there is now much-needed operational certainty for the future,” Mr Walsh said. Mr Smith and Mr Walsh thanked the Advisory Group members, scientists and stakeholders for contributing their expertise for a positive outcome to a complex issue. The Leadbeater’s Possum Advisory Group recommendations and Government response is at www.depi.

$500,000 boost to enhance Men’s Sheds

Melbourne 0401 059 277

■ Grants of up to $30,000 are now available to help local communities redevelop and modify existing Men’s Sheds across Victoria to meet increased community demand or improve access, Minister for Community Services Mary Wooldridge announced this week. Ms Wooldridge said that $500,000 is available through the latest round of grants from the Victorian Government’s Strengthening Men’s Sheds Program. “The Coalition Government is a great supporter of the Men’s Shed movement, which plays a significant role in the lives of many Victorian men, providing a place where men can develop new skills in a supportive and social environment,” Ms Wooldridge said. “This funding for existing men’s sheds will increase the capacity to attract new members, operate sustainably and continue to make valuable contributions to local communities.” The new funding round is part of the $4 million Strengthening Men’s Sheds initiative introduced by the Government. “This additional $500,000 builds on the funding the Coalition Government has already provided to refurbish 36 men’s sheds and to build 41 new sheds,” Ms Wooldridge said. Grants can be used for refurbishment to increase shed capacity to meet a growing need or community demand, modifications to increase disability access or modifications to meet OHS standards. Victorian Men’s Shed Association President Paul Sladdin said that the VMSA welcomed the announcement. "This funding will provide valuable support

● Mary Wooldridge, Victorian Minister for Community Services to ensure Victorian Men’s Sheds continue to provide safe and welcoming environments as well as providing opportunities for Sheds to expand their range of activities,” Mr Sladdin said. Applications for grants close on Friday, June 27.

Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 16, 2014 - Page 55

Page 56 - Melbourne Observer - Wednesday, April 16, 2014

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Melbourne Observer. 140416F. April 16, 2014. Part F. Pages 51-56