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Horse racing deaths highlight cruel gambling activity

For immediate release.

BEGINS/

The recent deaths of two Melbourne Cup horses highlights the cutthroat nature of the racing industry say animal welfare advocates.

Aaron Cross from the Greyhound Protection League:

"These two tragedies are sadly a predictable outcome when you combine racing activity with a hugely powerful gambling industry. Last year’s Melbourne cup also brought a needless death."

"The sheer amount of money that is funneled through the TAB clouds the judgement of everyone involved, and it's the animals who pay the deadly price for this cruel form of unnecessary entertainment."

"Thoroughbred Racing New Zealand said that four out of 30,031 race starters died on the track. When they say 'starters', they are counting the same horses many times over, intentionally bloating the figures. In greyhound racing there are around 50 deaths on the track every year, and in New Zealand we love dogs. Treating them this way is completely out of step with mainstream Kiwi values, and the government needs to seriously think about phasing out greyhound racing."

"While horse racing clearly has issues, it's actually worse with greyhounds"

"Racing dogs are easier to keep than horses, so unfortunately it's an easier prospect to engage in economically."

"Couple that with the fact that greyhounds can have up to 12 pups, where a horse may birth a single foal, and it's not hard to see why reckless overbreeding is a huge problem in self-regulated dog-racing."

"The greatest problem of all is the TAB and unwitting punters supporting racing. Money drives everything, and it has taken an activity of casual racing and turned it into an extremely harsh business model where there's no room for losers and in greyhound racing, many dogs are injured, and many more culled, for economic reasons."

"The greyhound racing industry has created the illusion of animal welfare reform and is desperate to sell an ethical image to the government and public, but it’s a very thin veil and people will see this as smoke and mirrors."

"The SPCA's statement in the aftermath of the tragic loss of Admire Rakti and Araldo on Tuesday is that there was no cruelty in horse racing. Regarding greyhounds, SPCA staff often don't even know where dog racing tracks are, so there's no way they could say that about greyhound racing. The death toll of greyhounds on the racetrack speaks for itself in any case. One death for no good reason is one death too many."

"The government will be reviewing the welfare standards of the greyhound racing industry but what’s really needed is an authentic independent inquiry as to where thousands of dogs have gone, independent animal welfare oversight, and complete honesty and transparency from the industry about what’s happening to these dogs in day-to-day racing."

"Greyhounds are fantastic animals, and they make great pets. How the racing industry treats them is inhumane. Dog racing is cruel, and the government already recognizes the moral issues around using dogs for gambling."

"Greyhound racing is expected to post a significant financial loss this year. It’s an ideal time for the government to wipe its hands of such questionable activity."

/ENDS


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