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Greyhound Racing Is Important To New Zealand And Deserves Support

Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) firmly believes that there are no grounds for greyhound racing to be banned, and maintains that the industry has a social licence to operate.

The sport has made significant progress in recent years, especially in the animal welfare space. GRNZ is committed to ongoing improvement, and will continue to put significant time and resources into ensuring that animal welfare is at the heart of everything the industry does.

GRNZ spends upwards of $8 million per annum on animal welfare, and has the highest welfare to prizemoney ratio spend of the three racing codes in New Zealand – by a considerable margin.

One of GRNZ’s key welfare commitments is ensuring that every greyhound has the opportunity to be rehomed post its racing career.

GRNZ therefore rejects the SPCA’s offer to assist the industry to rehome our greyhounds in the event of industry closure.

Notwithstanding the fact that GRNZ believes that grounds for industry closure do not exist, GRNZ would not be comfortable aligning with the SPCA in the rehoming space, as their values around rehoming do not align with ours.

GRNZ finds their “commitment to assisting the industry'' in this area ironic, given the SPCA is reputed to euthanise healthy animals which they are unable to rehome. The extent of this is unknown, as unlike its Australian counterpart (RSPCA) and many local authorities, the SPCA does not transparently report such statistical information (https://rspca.sfo2.cdn.digitaloceanspaces.com/public/Uploads/annual-statistics/RSPCAAustralia-Annual-Statistics-2022-2023.pdf).

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Accordingly, GRNZ considers the SPCA’s offer of assistance to be purely political and disingenuous. We challenge the SPCA to make its euthanasia statistics publicly available like the greyhound racing industry does.

With the support of our existing four adoption partners and the recent introduction of our America Rehoming Programme, GRNZ is in line to achieve more than 650 adoptions of greyhounds into loving homes this season (1 August 2023 - 31 July 2024).

With 481 adoptions achieved last season, this increase highlights GRNZ’s commitment to ensuring all greyhounds have a life after racing and exemplifies that we have sustainable and results-based programmes in place.

Major concerns with the greyhound racing industry from the 2017 Hansen Report and 2021 Robertson Review were:

The euthanasia of healthy greyhounds upon completion of their racing careers;

The number of euthanasias of dogs due to raceday injuries;

Breeding numbers exceeding the industry’s limited rehoming levels; and

Deficiencies with GRNZ systems and traceability of the greyhound population.

These concerns are no longer valid, for the following reasons:

Greyhound racing is the only racing code with a Euthanasia Policy that precludes the unnecessary euthanasia of uncompetitive animals. Every dog is guaranteed the opportunity to find a forever home post-racing career through our adoption programmes.

Through a number of GRNZ initiatives, the number of raceday euthanasias is down 89% from five years ago.

GRNZ has implemented the GRNZ Great Mates Rehoming Programme and the America Rehoming Programme to ensure breeding numbers do not exceed the industry’s rehoming capabilities.

GRNZ has significantly enhanced its systems and processes to ensure 100% traceability of every greyhound within the industry. GRNZ has also addressed concerns with our reporting, with full transparency and accountability through our quarterly and annual reporting processes. 

Greyhound racing also makes an important contribution to the New Zealand Racing Industry. According to the January 2024 IER Size and Scope Report:

In FY23, greyhound racing generated $159.2 million of value-added contribution to the New Zealand economy, representing a 71.9% increase since FY17.

Our relative share of economic output by code has also increased from 5.7% to 8.5% during that six-year period.

Greyhound racing in New Zealand has seen ownership increase by 125% over the same six-year period.

Greyhound racing in New Zealand provides direct full-time equivalent employment for 1,054 people.

Greyhound racing is leading the way in many areas of animal welfare across the wider racing industry, and we look forward to the Minister for Racing confirming his support for the positive progress the industry has made. We believe there are no grounds for closure, and that much of the contrary emotive debate is based on out-of-date information - or blatant misinformation. 

We look forward to a decision on the industry’s future, which will give industry participants the confidence required to continue making a positive contribution to New Zealand’s economic wellbeing.

© Scoop Media

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