SPCA New Zealand

No more chances - end greyhound racing

14 October 2022

Time is ticking for commercial greyhound racing in New Zealand and we need your help. 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’.

No more chances - end greyhound racing

SPCA has tried to work with the New Zealand greyhound racing industry to improve the welfare of greyhounds for some time. However, we support an end to the commercial greyhound racing in New Zealand due to ongoing concerns about widespread, intractable welfare problems.

Injuries continue to occur at an unacceptably high level. While some steps have been taken to reduce injury rates, the industry regulator (the Racing Integrity Board) has stated that the overall trend for serious injuries at the track is a steady increase.

Their lives off the track is also of great concern to us. These issues include:

  • breeding practices that lead to poor welfare outcomes;
  • physical overexertion, distress or injuries that result from excessive demands being placed upon the animals during training;
  • lack of socialisation and environmental enrichment;
  • poor nutrition;
  • inadequate housing;
  • tested positive for banned or illegal substances;
  • the export of greyhounds;
  • the possibility of illegal live baiting;
  • and the difficulties in rehoming greyhounds once their racing career is over.

To call for the end of an industry is not a position that our organisation takes lightly. As an animal-welfare organisation, SPCA accepts some uses of animals by humans provided their physical, health and behavioural needs are met. We want to ensure they have a good life, with opportunities for positive welfare.

However, in this case, SPCA has tried for years to work with the industry to improve greyhound welfare and has found that the greyhound racing industry has demonstrated a history of being unwilling and unable to adequately address its significant animal welfare problems.

Minister McAnulty has stated that part of his decision rests on whether the industry has a ‘social license’ to continue. Now is the time to show the Minister that New Zealanders want to be on the right side of history. No more chances – end greyhound racing.

Racing Minister Hon Kieran McAnulty will give a recommendation to Cabinet in the coming months on whether commercial greyhound racing has a future in our country, so this is the window of opportunity for us to stop these dogs suffering for sport.

SPCA is calling for the end of commercial greyhound racing. We are asking New Zealanders to show the Racing Minister that the industry is out of chances.

Commercial greyhound racing only exists in seven countries, and it is time for New Zealand to get on the right side of history and make it a thing of the past.

A public survey just carried out by an independent research company on behalf of SPCA, also 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.

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.

How many predictable cycles of exposés, doping scandals, independent reviews, dog deaths and petitions does the Government need to see? It is clear that this industry cannot meet its animal welfare obligations and is no longer acceptable to New Zealand society.

"I want to be clear today – the greyhound racing industry is on notice: either make the improvements needed or risk closure.”

- Previous Racing Minister Hon Grant Robertson in 2021

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