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Clean up your act … Greyhound racing industry on notice

Wairarapa MP and Racing Minister Kieran McAnulty says he will seriously consider banning greyhound racing if adequate industry changes are not made to improve the welfare of dogs by the end of the year.

Discussion around the ethics of the industry surfaced again this week after Green MP Chloe Swarbrick appeared on 1 News to promote her member’s bill calling for an end to the practice.

“This is not a brand-new stance this is an ongoing Green Party stance for around a decade now,” she said.

“We are one of seven countries in the world that continue to allow commercial greyhound racing and the death and the trauma and the injury that comes along with that.

“I guess the bottom line really boils down to this: there are plenty of other things that we can be gambling on. If we are really prioritising our animal welfare and we consider ourselves as a country to be prioritising it, greyhound racing has no place here.”

There have been nine dogs euthanised at the track so far in the current racing season, Greyhound Protection League spokesperson and ex-Featherston resident Aaron Cross said.

An abused greyhound.
An abused greyhound. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

A further 214 dogs have had major injuries, including 75 with orthopaedic fractures and 20 with a torn gracilis.

Cross, who started the petition to get greyhound racing banned, said it was not the first time the organisation had petitioned against the racing industry

“This is the third time we’ve petitioned. The first time wasn’t for a ban but for an independent review in 2013.

“It showed record-keeping was really poor and enforcement was really poor.”

Cross said it was now too late to reform the industry and a ban was the only way to prevent harm to the animals.

“The industry has never really committed to reform because they don’t believe they have a problem, so they found it really hard to change.

“And now it’s just too late.”

McAnulty said the industry had been put under notice and if changes were not made by the end of the year a ban could be suggested to Cabinet.

“There are options available to the industry that they need to strongly consider, such as straight tracks. With 68 per cent of injuries occurring at the corners, this is something the industry really needs to address.

“I have no desire to end the greyhound racing industry, but if it does not take significant action by the end of the year my hand may be forced.

“The outcome of the report is completely up to the decisions made by the industry. I will seriously consider proposing a ban of the industry to Cabinet if adequate changes have not been made.”

About eight years ago, 18 dogs were rescued from a greyhound racing kennel in Mangamaire.

The dogs were starved and had a variety of injuries. Some of the dogs rescued from the kennel did not survive.

 

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George Shiers
George Shiers
George Shiers is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age interested in politics and social issues. He reports regularly on a range of topics including infrastructure, housing, and transport. George is also the Tararua reporter and helps cover police, fire and court stories.

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