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Urgent Calls For Government Intervention As Fatalities On Greyhound Racetracks Soar

In the wake of three recent fatalities within a single week and the temporary closure of a racing track following a surge in injuries, SAFE is issuing an urgent plea to the Government: immediately implement a ban on Greyhound racing in Aotearoa.

Just yesterday, Greyhound Racing New Zealand announced it has temporarily suspended all racing and trialling activities at Auckland’s Manukau Stadium due to a "concerning increase in injuries". Races originally planned for this track will now be relocated to Cambridge.

However, SAFE Head of Investigations, Will Appelbe, says a temporary closure of the Manukau Stadium track merely shifts the risk of injuries and deaths to other racetracks.

"The injuries witnessed at this particular track are appalling, yet sadly, they are not uncommon within the confines of this industry."

"Injuries and deaths keep piling up, no matter the track. The Government must recognise the urgency of this issue and intervene decisively," says Appelbe.

Recent tragic incidents further underscore the urgency of this matter. Within a single week this month, three dogs tragically lost their lives during races:

1. Big Time Punga (11 March, Manawatu Raceway, Palmerston North), who collapsed and died suddenly post-race,

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2. Thrilling Spiral (17 March, Manukau Stadium, Auckland), who was euthanised after sustaining a compound fracture in their right leg, and

3. Uhlan Bale (18 March, Addington Racetrack, Christchurch), who died due to blood clots following a catastrophic spinal fracture.

Further, since the greyhound racing industry was formally put on notice on 2 September 2021 due to repeated failures in improving animal welfare, the industry has amassed a staggering 2,371 injuries, including 250 fractures and 22 tragic deaths.

"These heartbreaking fatalities serve as stark reminders that the risks to dogs' lives persist across the country, regardless of the track," says Appelbe.

"The recent surge in injuries and fatalities is a clear indication that the industry's self-regulation is failing. The only effective measure to protect the health and welfare of greyhounds is to ban the industry altogether."

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon acknowledged the necessity of banning greyhound racing during a pre-election debate.

"It's now critical the Prime Minister turn words into action and put an end to the suffering endured by dogs in the greyhound racing industry."

© Scoop Media

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