The fallout from the use of live possums, rabbits and pigs as bait to train greyhounds, revealed on Four Corners last Monday night, has seen another CEO step down, with Greyhound Racing Victoria (GRV) tendering his resignation this afternoon.
It follows the sacking of the New South Wales racing board and its CEO by the NSW minister for racing last week.
Peter Caillard, a former Sky Channel CEO, gaming executive and legal counsel for Crown Casino, came from outside the industry in 2012 in the wake of a damning Ombudsman’s report about poor practices and conflicts of interest among senior executives at GRV.
Despite his best efforts, including a new board and senior management clean out, replacing them with people outside the industry, he took personal responsibility for VRC’s failure to uncover the use of live baiting and fell on his sword, saying he did not believe he could not remain as chairman.
“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.
“I believe in accountability for a Chairman of an organisation and that it is in the best interests of the industry that a new person be appointed to this position.”
Caillard said GRV was “a very different organisation” since his arrival three years ago, with improvements in kennel inspections and drug swabs, a better adoption program and an integrity Council.
“The behaviour shown by those engaged in live baiting is contrary to my personal values and to those of the broader industry and the community. I firmly believe that this practice is not widespread,” he said.
However, despite assurance, I can no longer be satisfied that live baiting was restricted to the small band of immoral criminals at Tooradin.”
Caillard’s resignation comes after a greyhound previously banned from racing because of live baiting was allowed to race on Saturday night and won $30,000.
Fairfax Media reports that Awesome Project – banned because its trainer was Darren McDonald, a key figure in the Four Corners report now under investigation by authorities – was allowed to race after the GRV reversed the decision following legal threats from the affected dog owners. The dog came second.
Citing legal advice, the GRV board reversed its Tuesday decision to suspend dogs trained by the 15 people currently under investigation if their owners signed statutory declarations that they did not know live-baiting was occurring.
Suspensions imposed by GRV on 15 people accused of involvement in live-baiting remain in place.
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