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Death On Day One "An Omen"

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Death On Day One "An Omen"

August the first marked the first day of the new season for the greyhound racing industry in New Zealand.

"The fact that a greyhound was killed at the racetrack, in very the first race, on the very first day of the racing season, is an omen," Says Aaron Cross, media spokesperson for the Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand.

"Its a sign of the death and carnage to come - just so gamblers can be entertained".

"No one else in this society could treat mans best friend like this and get away with it"

The Greyhound Protection League is a grass root collective of individuals who share concerns for the welfare and treatment of greyhounds in the gambling industry. Their concerns are centered around the racing industries "No room for losers" competitive nature, and the many greyhounds who don't make the grade or become too old for racing.

"Right now there are around 10,000 missing greyhounds in New Zealand, based on breeding and import data, and council dog registrations".

He says animal control officers should crack down on greyhound breeders, owners and trainers, by launching sting operations at racetracks and at kennels.

"Why should the commercial racing industry bludge off the rest of us? Dog registration is a legal requirement. It is the law. We know that the racing industry is largely ignoring their responsibilities here. Local Councils need to take action"

As well as registration and injury issues, Mr Cross says there are serious concerns with what happens to greyhounds when owners and trainers no longer want them.

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"The dog-racing industry has really failed the greyhounds that are its backbone. Last month saw the closure of two out of three kennels that were contracted to take greyhounds into the industry sponsored greyhound adoption program."

"You'd think that after 40 years of being associated with the gambling industry, that the multimillion dollar annual turnover would have meant Greyhound Racing New Zealand would've taken adequate steps to ensure there were permanent safe-houses for unwanted greyhounds. Sadly, that hasn't happened, theres one small kennel in the Manawatu that takes in ex-racing greyhounds, with over 100 dogs waiting in the queue. Unwanted greyhounds in the South are in a very risky position right now, with no safe-house in the South Island."

"The industries attitude towards helping the hundreds of greyhounds left behind as a result of gambling activity is really disappointing, and people in the racing industry should be ashamed. Its no good celebrating the six to eight hundred dogs they have rehomed over the years, when there's over ten thousand greyhounds unaccounted for."

"These are very lovely animals that deserve the same care and respect as any other dog. Why are industry enthusiasts breeding and buying so many greyhounds when theres such a huge overpopulation with nowhere to go already?"

The answer he says, is because of money and greed.

Mr Cross says the greyhound protection movement will soon have a special focus on educating gambling patrons both locally and abroad about the harm caused by punting on New Zealand based dog races.

"It may take a decade or longer, but we are dedicated to exposing the dark side of this industry, because it is brutal to these loving vulnerable creatures, and once the New Zealand public are aware of the animal welfare issues in dog racing, they will likely support a ban for humane reasons. Failing that we will happily seek to make it uneconomic for stakeholders by discouraging punter participation."

"Have a good look at the pain and suffering this industry brings to these animals, and I feel strongly that you will find its out of step with your personal values." He said.

Aaron Cross
For the Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand


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