SPCA New Zealand

Greyhounds - a life after racing

14 October 2022

What does life look like for greyhounds should the industry close? SPCA wants a ban of the greyhound racing industry – which will take some time – and will result in many greyhounds needing to be rehomed. Do you know what great family pets greyhounds can be?

Greyhounds - a life after racing

There are approximately 3,000 racing greyhounds in New Zealand with approximately 700 new registrations per year.

In the event that the industry is closed, we recognise that it will take some time to wind down the industry. People depend on it for their income, and there will be practical and logistical barriers to overcome. SPCA’s main concern would be for the welfare of racing greyhounds during any wind-down period. With a large number of dogs potentially needing new homes, careful planning is required to facilitate a smooth wind-down process.

While we know that greyhounds can make excellent pets [see article here], some greyhounds may need extensive, specialised behavioural and medical care to prepare them for a companion home.

SPCA is willing to work with Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ), other animal rescues, existing rehoming organisations and greyhound trainers to facilitate rehoming greyhounds, in the event that trainers cannot keep all of their dogs. We would work alongside the specialised greyhound rehoming services, provide expertise and where possible taking some of the more vulnerable dogs into our care temporarily.

We're urging for planning to begin so that the potential closure of the industry can be implemented in a manner that protects people and animals.

What are we calling for?

SPCA is calling for an end to commercialgreyhound racing in New Zealand – one of only seven countries left operating commercial-level greyhound racing. Recently, the US States of Arkansas, Florida and Iowa have all announced phase-outs of greyhound racing.

In addition, we want the decision to be transparent.After a decade of reports on the industry – each identifying widespread animal welfare issues – last year the Government took the unprecedented step of putting the industry ‘on notice’.The performance of Greyhound Racing New Zealand will be measured based on key performance indicators, and the results will be used to make the decision in the coming months. With the end of the year now in sight,where are these indicators, and what are they measuring?

Over the last decade there have been three independent reviews into the welfare of dogs within the greyhound racing industry: the 2013 WHK Report, the 2017 Hansen Report, and the 2021 Robertson Report.

All of them have reported significant animal welfare issues both on and off the track, problems with data recording and a lack of transparency. The 2021 Robertson Report highlighted some of the same concerns that the WHK Report raised eight years earlier. This demonstrated lack of change is not acceptable.

In response to the 2021 Robertson Report, previous Racing Minister Hon Grant Robertson stated that “I want to be clear today – the greyhound racing industry is on notice: either make the improvements needed or risk closure.”

With a recommendation by Minister McAnulty to Cabinet due at the end of this year outlining whether commercial greyhound racing has a future in our country, this is the window of opportunity for us to stop these dogs suffering for sport. Will you join us?

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