27 March 2016
DISCIPLINARY HEARING results from the Greyhound Board of Great Britain in March 2016 show details of the continued use of the prohibited substance, Stanozolol, in Irish greyhounds. Professor Tim Morris – independent advisor to the GBGB Regulatory Board, who, in 2014, led the Irish Greyhound Board review of anti-doping and medication procedures – gave evidence that stanozolol is “a Class C Controlled drug which is not available as a veterinary medicine in the UK or Ireland the importation of which into the EU would, in his opinion, not be permitted. Stanozolol is a frequently abused anabolic steroid which affects dogs in terms of building muscle. It has many serious side effects and studies suggest that its effect can be long lasting. It is by its nature a substance that could affect the performance of a greyhound or could prejudice its well-being.”
Greyhound Rescue Association of Ireland has long-called for the Irish and UK greyhound authorities to work together in cases of doping, and indeed all relevant welfare issues. GRAI is pleased that the GBGB have contacted the IGB in reference to a March 2016 GBGB hearing involving the greyhound Matching Robbie. Matching Robbie had given a positive sample for stanozolol. Irish vendor, Mr Murty Ahern, submitted written evidence to the GBGB Hearing that “he gave the greyhound a 2ml injection of stanozolol” after a trial at Tralee.
GRAI calls for the IGB to take action and further investigate the relevant previous trainers/owners, and vendors, following further GBGB hearings, in March 2016, into positive samples of stanozolol from Irish greyhounds Moorhamm Loch and Droopys Ford.
The GBGB Disciplinary Committee reminded all trainers of their responsibilities for ensuring that greyhounds that enter their care are free from prohibited substances. In particular they should make proper enquiries of vendors and sales agents particularly when purchasing greyhounds from Ireland or from vendors and agents of whom they have limited knowledge or past dealings. This reminder follows an urge from GBGB Disciplinary Committee, in a 2014 hearing for a positive sample of stanozolol, that “all trainers to exercise due diligence in assessing the drug status of greyhounds they purchase from Ireland.”
5,331 samples were taken from greyhounds at tracks in Ireland in 2015. This is a massive drop of 1,976 from the 7,307 samples taken in 2013. The 2014 Indecon Report into “Certain Matters Relating to Bord na gCon” reported that here had “been an increase of over 50% in the number of tests in the two years from 2011 to 2013. In percentage terms, the number of positive tests is less than 1% and declining. However in absolute terms, the number of positive tests is of concern as are the delays in publishing findings and also the gap between positive results and adverse findings. In Indecon’s view the numbers of positive tests and numbers of adverse findings published, as well as the number of cases dismissed, are potentially damaging to the reputation and perceptions of the greyhound industry.”
GRAI is extremely concerned at the drop in samples taken in 2015. The doping of greyhounds is a huge welfare issue and must be addressed seriously with full transparency.