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Greyhound Racing’s Shameful Welfare Status Quo Continues, Latest Damning Reports Show

Two new reports from the Racing Integrity Board (RIB) released yesterday into the state of the greyhound racing industry in New Zealand show the shameful status quo of systemic animal welfare, transparency, and data collection continues, despite a decade of reports and calls for reform.

Racing Minister Kieran McAnulty published the progress reports following the Government placing the industry on notice in September 2021. The Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand (GPLNZ) spokesperson Emily Robertson said little has changed since.

“The findings are absolutely damning: the report found a third of the recommendations for improvement from the Robertson Review in 2021 have not been met. Of those implemented, the RIB said the momentum achieved is a result of a 15-month RIB work programme, without which it is unlikely much would have changed.”

Ms Robertson said perhaps most tellingly, the report goes on to say: ‘If animal welfare was at the heart of decisions being made by the GRNZ Board, more progress would have been made’ and that “many of the concerns are as relevant today as they were 10 years ago’.

Ms Robertson said, “Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) can’t – and won’t – make the improvements required of it, even with significant external oversight. With independent research showing 74 per cent of Kiwis would vote to ban greyhound racing in a referendum, it is clear the industry has lost its social license in Aotearoa.”

GPLNZ also called on Minister McAnulty to fast-track his decision on the future of the “sport”. In December 2022, when he received the first RIB report, he said, “The findings of the RIB progress report have made it clear that the status quo of the industry is no longer acceptable”. However, GPLNZ notes that these comments, which were reiterated on the release of the reports yesterday that the status quo cannot continue, are directly at odds with his actions in allowing the industry to continue as it is, with no decision on the future of the industry forthcoming.

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“This shameful status quo has dragged on too long already. It is past time we stopped gambling with the lives of greyhounds in Aotearoa. The Minister has all the information he needs to make an informed decision, and we implore the Hon. McAnulty not to prolong the inevitable and bring an end to greyhound racing in New Zealand now,” Ms Robertson said.

The reports also highlighted racing injury rates are going up. Given that in the previous season (2021-2022), 41 per cent of greyhounds that raced suffered at least one injury, the public has good reason to be concerned. Of those injured, 22 per cent had what GRNZ classifies as a medium to major 2 injury – an injury requiring 11 to 42 or more days of recovery and treatment before they can return to racing – if they do at all.

© Scoop Media

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