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GREYHOUNDS: Quantifying levels of positives simply cost- prohibitive says HFL.

Byline: JIM CREMIN

TRAINERS at a seminar this week were surprised to learn that for the vast majority of positives detected, no actual amount is detailed. Cost implications were blamed, with a threshold limit only applying to a narrowly defined list of drugs approved by the NGRC.

Steve Maynard, head of operations at the Horserace Forensic Laboratory, revealed the news at Romford Stadium to an audience of 30, mainly trainers.

David Miles, a leading owner present at the gathering, was among those who expressed concern. He said: "I do believe the HFL and the NGRC should quantify the amounts actually found-as happens, for instance, in alcohol testing by the police."

As well as the cost, Maynard explained that knowing the amount had little relevance without also knowing when and how much had been administered.

He went on to detail the devastating effect drugs used for the euthanasia of fallen stock can have on greyhounds via `knacker meat'. He said there is a combination of drugs used for welfare reasons to shut down both the brain and slow the heart, but via the food chain these can have fatal results for greyhounds.

A strong recommendation followed from Dr John A Lowe, an independent nutritionist, for trainers only to use meat where its history is known.

The meeting had been organised by Romford when the management had been impressed with Dr Lowe at a recent conference.

He has a retainer from the NGRC to advise on nutrition, the Club having become increasingly concerned about the number of positives emanating via knacker meat-and the occasional poisoning tragedy.

Dr Lowe explained that greyhounds and foxhounds were the only breeds of dog now allowed to eat `unfit meat' under new regulations. He expressed surprise at the exemption, which he claimed was an attempt to keep the knacker meat industry alive, and that the use of knacker meat continued to have real potential to cause injury or death to greyhounds.

He also stated salmonellosis is common in greyhounds, but not in other breeds of dog, and explained that drugs used in dying stock were not damaged by heating and can cause many bacteria problems. "These also impair the ability of the gut to absorb nutrition."

Dr Lowe emphasised that the pet food industry now operated under the new regulations, and that it sourced its meat back to suppliers where the history was known. He said greyhound trainers should use similar sources.

Reacting to disquiet from those present about the availability and cost of such meat, Dr Lowe undertook to ask the NGRC to examine this is greater detail.

Maurice Newman, the Harlow trainer, said: "Nine out of ten greyhound trainers are on the floor, and the industry is not putting enough back to allow us to pay over the odds for meat. This must be cost-effective, and if the NGRC can find us good, safe meat at 40p per pound, then we will be interested."

Dr Lowe said he was not arguing for dry complete meals, and that the NGRC was only seeking to bar unfit meat in the run-up to racing (currently it cannot be used 24 hours before a race, with the NGRC advising 48 hours). "You cannot feed 100 per cent of dogs 100 per cent of the time on one diet," said Dr Lowe.

Pat Quinn, assistant to Pam Heasman, said: "It's a guessing game. Some greyhounds race better on raw meat, others on dry food. The training skill is working out the best for each individual."

Linda Mullins, former Champion Trainer, cautioned against only using nutritional biscuit, and said greyhounds require a certain amount of fat: "In my experience greyhounds reared with little meat are scrawny and brittle."

CAPTION(S):

David Miles Expressed concern
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 17, 2002
Words:623
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