SPCA New Zealand

Injuries on greyhound racetrack reiterates SPCA’s call to end ‘inherently dangerous’ commercial greyhound racing once and for all

07 November 2022

RNZSPCA was saddened and disappointed to learn of further serious injuries to greyhounds at the Auckland Greyhound Racing Club race at the Manukau Sports Bowl during the weekend.

Injuries on greyhound racetrack reiterates SPCA’s call to end ‘inherently dangerous’ commercial greyhound racing once and for all

Veterinarians tended to three dogs with broken legs at a single race event, as well as dogs suffering from muscle tears, lacerations, and significant sprains.

One dog was removed from a race after having her right front leg caught in the start boxes, while another race was entirely abandoned after the lure lost power in the run to the finish line, with several greyhounds making heavy contact.

The dogs were injured as a result of the lure malfunction, with one dog stood down for 90 days after a compound fracture to his left leg. Another suffered a split to her right foot and the third suffered a laceration to his left and right foreleg and right hind leg, with a 10-day stand-down period issued.

Last month, SPCA joined other animal welfare groups in encouraging the public to urge the Government to put a stop to commercial greyhound racing once and for all.

SPCA science officer, Dr Alison Vaughan, says these on-track injuries, while horrific, are just the tip of the iceberg for what is an industry that has demonstrated ongoing animal welfare concerns.

“This is yet another recent example of serious injuries that occur on the track,” says Dr Vaughan. “SPCA has tried to work with the New Zealand greyhound racing industry to improve the welfare of greyhounds for years. Despite the industry being currently on notice, and the possibility of a ban on the horizon, serious injuries continue to occur.

“In fact, there has been a steady increase in the number of serious injuries since the Government put the industry on notice in 2021. We’re equally concerned with their life off the track and now know – thanks to an independent survey recently conducted for us – that a majority of New Zealanders would vote to ban commercial greyhound racing if there was to be a referendum.

“The industry is on notice, but how many chances, injuries or deaths do we need to see to understand that commercial sport, which only takes place in seven other countries in the world, has no place in New Zealand’s future. SPCA supports a phased end to the commercial greyhound racing in New Zealand, to ensure the welfare of greyhounds currently used by the industry should the Government decide to announce an end commercial greyhound racing in the coming months.”

The public survey recently carried out by an independent research company on behalf of SPCA, found that 74% of New Zealanders would vote to ban greyhound racing in a referendum. This adds to the fact the Petitions Select Committee is currently considering a petition to ban commercial greyhound racing, signed by 37,827 people. It is clear that this industry has lost its social license.

In the latest racing season, while the industry has been ‘on notice’, there were 920 injuries to dogs at the track. Ten greyhounds were euthanised due to race-day injuries.

While euthanasia numbers have come down in recent years, serious injury rates have actually increased and there are many heartbreaking stories of dogs suffering with injuries.

There is still time as part of SPCA’s public campaign, which has so far seen more than 4,500 people write Minister McAnulty, to let the Government know the industry does not deserve a place in New Zealand’s future. People can use a letter template over at nomorechances.spca.nz.

We recently commissioned an independent survey to undertake a robust and representative analysis of sentiment towards commercial greyhound racing among the New Zealand population. They surveyed 1,327 respondents and ensured representativeness across age, gender and region.

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