After horrifying revelations of widespread illegal live-baiting practices in the Australian greyhound industry earlier this year, Racing Queensland will use drones to help police the sport.
The state racing body began using drones late last year to film race meetings but the trial has been extended to inspect properties where greyhound training occurs.
CASA-certified operators Droneit Group will trial patrols of greyhound training premises and kennels as part of improved industry integrity measures.
Racing Queensland general manager legal Services and strategy Sam Adams said the drones could fly at a height of up to 120m by a contracted operator and could be used to inspect any property that trains greyhounds in Queensland.
“This is one of a number of measures implemented to expand our integrity capabilities but it is by far the most progressive,” Adams said.
“The operator will fly the drone over the properties, obtain the footage and provide it for the stewards to review. Obviously if an individual is breaking the law or the rules of racing, they will then be dealt with by the stewards.”
Racing Minister Bill Byrne said the practice will help to restore public confidence in greyhound racing within Queensland.
Droneit Group managing director Lee Carseldine, who has been assisting with the trial, said using drones was an incredibly efficient surveillance method.
“We are seeing drones used more and more in both the sporting and corporate world and there is no doubt they could be extremely useful in a number of different aspects of racing operations,” he said.
The trials will be ongoing over the next few months and will undergo constant reviews.