Greyhound Welfare

Greyhound welfare refers to how well a greyhound is coping with the conditions in which it lives. This is how a greyhound’s health, comfort and mental wellbeing are affected by its physical and social environment. All owners, trainers, breeders and other registration holders have a duty of care to their greyhounds to ensure the best greyhound welfare outcomes are achieved. That means that greyhounds must be provided with the Five Animal Welfare Domains described below.

The Commission’s Code of Practice for the Welfare of Greyhounds will be based on the Five Domains of animal welfare. These are measures of the experience of animals. Nutrition, Environment, Health, Behaviour and Mental State make up the Five Domains.

The five domains of animal welfare are depicted below.

The Five Domains Model by D.J. Mellor 2017

The physical/functional domains one to three: Nutrition, Environment and Health direct our attention to internal states essential to a greyhound for survival. This refers to food and water quality and intake; thermal environments; noise; predictable routines; and disease and injury.

The behaviour or fourth domain focuses attention on external situation-related circumstances and gives us a clue to how greyhounds might be experiencing their internal states. For example is the greyhound active or inactive; silent or vocalising; nervous or confident; sleeping or anxious in the context of their current physical state. Examples of normal behaviours include eating, sleeping, grooming, exercise and playing.

The way in which greyhounds experience their combined physical and behavioural states is called their mental state or affective state and is the basis for domain five. These states may be overall positive or negative. Providing enrichment opportunities for example: opportunities to engage positively with their environments; opportunities to bond with humans and other greyhounds; opportunities to explore and play may result in situation-related negative behaviours being replaced by positives ones. Greyhounds should be offered a range of pleasurable activities to improve their mental sates.

The Commission’s inspectors will be enforcing the new Code of practice for the Welfare of Greyhounds and will use the specifics of the Code in conjunction with the Five Domains to assess Welfare states.

For any assistance with Greyhound Welfare please contact the Commission on 13 49 42.