GWIC Responds To Gosford Calamity

TONIGHT's Gosford program came perilously close to being abandoned after a potential biosecurity breach was flagged before the start of the meeting.

Adam Dobbin

24 March 2020

TUESDAY night’s Gosford meeting came perilously close to being abandoned after a potential biosecurity breach was flagged before the start of the first race.

Over the past 48 hours, Greyhound Racing NSW, in conjunction with the Greyhound Welfare & Integrity Commission, has moved heaven and earth to implement a raft of biosecurity measures to ensure that NSW greyhound racing can continue amid the growing coronavirus pandemic.

Those measures are set to roll out on Wednesday, including a drastic reduction in racetracks, with trainers to race in their local zones to significantly minimise travel within the industry.

And with the entire industry doing everything meaningfully possible to see racing continue in a safe and proper manner, participants and staff were left startled at Gosford on Tuesday night when veterinarian Dr. Peter Faehrmann turned up for duty in a biosecurity suit.

It’s understood those measures were undertaken due to the fact he is related to someone that works within the health industry at Gosford Hospital.

With people already on edge, the situation caused significant grief, with GWIC issuing the following statement late Tuesday night.

“The Commission is issuing this statement to set out the facts surrounding the use of enhanced personal protection equipment (PPE) by the veterinarian performing duties at the Gosford race meeting tonight,” the statement read.

“The Commission would like to assure all persons in attendance at the meeting that this person does not have, nor has had any close contact with any person who has or may have COVID-19.

“This individual decided to take their own measures to enhance their personal protection. He is connected to people who work in the health care industry, and who are in the vulnerable health category, but again we stress he has not had any close contact with any person who is, or may be, infected with COVID-19.

“The Commission apologises to anyone who was taken by surprise by the presentation of the vet in PPE.

“The Commission is working tirelessly to ensure that all appropriate bio-security procedures are implemented during this time and thanks the greyhound racing participants for their ongoing cooperation in these challenging times.”

For the industry to navigate its way through these unprecedented times an uncompromising level of common sense is needed by everyone.

Complete buy in.

It’s reasonable to suggest that the optics of what staff and participants were confronted with at Gosford on Tuesday night is worlds away from what’s required.

And it’s something the Commission is acutely aware of.