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Media Release 12/1/2024

ALT Release Drone Footage From Suspended Cocaine Trainer

Animal Liberation Tasmania has received drone footage from the Richmond property of suspended greyhound trainer, Nicholas Howlett.

On 22/11/23 Howlett was by stewards found to have presented a dog at Elwick Racecourse (Blackpool Poppy) who had tested positive for ​benzoylecgonine, a substance produced through the metabolisation of cocaine.

Howlett claimed an associate, who was not at the inquiry, had been present at the property who was a regular cocaine user, and that Blackpool Poppy ​had licked his hand. It was his sole explanation for how the drug came to be in Blackpool Poppy's system.

Stewards noted that whilst this was the first time Howlett had breached the rule, he had only been licenced for a very brief period before the ​offending, and suspended his trainers licence for 12 months (6 months suspended pending good behaviour).

GRV Fasttrack records show that throughout November and since, Howlett has transferred at least 14 dogs to a relative, Glenn Howlett (Pontville). ​Blackpool Poppy was transferred to G. Howlett on 4/1/24.

A significant number of these dogs originate from the mainland.

Howlett is due to return to the track in June this year.

The drone footage provided shows only two dogs visible at the property, having been reportedly taken during November as Howlett prepared for his ​suspension.

“Yet again we see dilapidated conditions and general disrepair, with dogs living in poorly constructed sheds and kennels. One kennel shows clear ​signs of stress chewing on the panels. The dogs are expected to live in bodged-together shelters whilst expensive trucks are parked all around.” -​Kristy Alger, ALT Spokesperson

“Worse, the dogs are being exposed to cocaine. Irrespective of whether Howlett’s defence is true or not, this shows a contempt not just for the rule of ​racing but primarily for the welfare of the dogs themselves. The dogs do not have a choice in who or what they are exposed to, and it has placed ​Blackpool Poppy in a situation that could have proved seriously dangerous.” -Kristy Alger

“A six month suspension, when the trainer has barely even commenced their career at the time of the offence, is far from sufficient. If Bullock is ​(rightly) facing a lifetime ban for possession of a deceased animal’s tail presumed to be used as a lure, surely exposing a greyhound to a Class A drug ​should carry an equivalent penalty?” -Kristy Alger

Animal Liberation Tasmania are calling for an urgent and wholly independent inquiry into the greyhound racing industry, with the inclusion of drugs ​within its scope. The failure of Felix Ellis MP to release the Murrihy Report in a timely manner indicates that the minister cannot and should not be ​given control over the outcomes of racing inquiries.

“There are actual animal lives at stake here. Trainers are getting a slap on the wrist for exposing dogs to drugs, dogs are being kept in appalling ​conditions across the state, illegal animal lures are being used, and millions of dollars in taxpayer dollars are propping up the entire system. An ​independent inquiry is long overdue.” -Kristy Alger

Animal Liberation Tasmania is an animal advocacy group founded in 2016, operating in lutruwita/Tasmania.

We acknowledge that we live and work on the unceded lands of the many palawa pakana peoples of lutruwita, and pay our respects to their elders past and present.

Always was, always will be, Aborginal land.

We are committed to creating safer spaces for all people, with a commitment to the principles of total liberation.

Contact us via email.

ABN 96 232 357 293

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