The chairman of Victoria’s greyhound racing body has quit because he can no longer be certain the use of live animals to train greyhounds is restricted to a small group of trainers.
Greyhound Racing Victoria chair Peter Caillard said he firmly believed the practice was not widespread, but admitted it could be wider than the suspended trainers from a private Tooradin training facility, who he called immoral.
“Despite assurance, I can no longer be satisfied that live baiting was restricted to the small band at Tooradin.”
Mr Caillard, brought into the role during controversy over betting at GRV, said he was distressed to discover that live baiting was occurring in recent times.
“Had this practice been brought to my attention earlier then it could have been stopped earlier. It was not and I did not,” he said in a statement on Monday.
The board of Greyhound Racing NSW and its CEO agreed to step down last week after revelations of live animals being used to “blood” greyhounds in NSW, Victoria and Queensland.
Mr Caillard said a chairman had to be accountable and it was in the industry’s best interests that a new person was appointed to the position.
Mr Caillard became chairman in 2011, amid investigations into a culture of staff betting on the sport during business hours that led to the board being dissolved and almost all of the senior management team being replaced with people from outside the industry.
“However, the extensive changes at GRV were not enough to prevent the type of sickening practices seen at the privately-owned Tooradin trial track,” he said.
He said live baiting went against his personal values and the vast majority of industry participants shared his repulsion at the illegal practice.
Fifteen Victorian trainers have been suspended amid investigations into live baiting.