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A Slow Race To The Bottom: Racing Minster’s Comments On Greyhounds Spark Concern

Animal rights organisation SAFE was stunned to hear Racing Minister Winston Peters' recent comments about the future of greyhound racing.

Winston Peters made headlines with his remarks during a select committee meeting and to media on Tuesday this week, stating he won't ‘rush his decision’ on the future of greyhound racing due to fears about potential legal risks.

Despite his comments, Peters would not clarify what he meant by these risks.

Adding to the confusion, Peters expressed concern about the potential for mass euthanasia of greyhounds if the industry is banned.

Just last month, animal protection organisations from across the country stepped forward with a joint commitment to assist with the rehoming of greyhounds into permanent, loving homes should the industry be closed down.

SAFE has formally sent a letter to the Minister seeking clarification on his concerns.

SAFE Campaigns Manager Emma Brodie says given the dire state of the industry, with dogs suffering catastrophic injuries and fatalities at alarming rates, Peters’ comments are both baffling and deeply concerning.

"We are deeply frustrated by the prospect of further delays in deciding the future of greyhound racing in Aotearoa. The previous government kicked the can down the road for far too long, and we hope that Peters will act swiftly and make the right decision by these dogs."

"The Minister has all the evidence he needs to make his decision, and dogs continue to suffer catastrophic welfare outcomes while this decision is pending."

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"Last month alone, 90 dogs were injured, 10 suffered broken bones, and four greyhounds died. As long as greyhound racing remains legal, dogs will continue to be injured and killed."

There is clear cross-party support for a ban, with the Greens, Labour, and even the Prime Minister supporting an end to greyhound racing. Public sentiment is also overwhelmingly against the practice; a recent poll showed that 74% of Kiwis would vote to ban greyhound racing in a referendum.

"With four separate reviews over the past decade, the greyhound racing industry has had 10 years to clean up its act. Despite intense social and political scrutiny, the industry continues to demonstrate that greyhound racing is inherently dangerous," says Brodie.

"The Minister has stated he is 'utterly opposed' to animal cruelty, we hope this sentiment will be reflected in a decision to ban greyhound racing in Aotearoa without delay, to protect these gentle animals from any further harm."

© Scoop Media

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