12 Dec 2018

Hundreds of greyhounds euthanised last season

7:08 pm on 12 December 2018

Animal activists are calling for a ban on greyhound racing, saying it is outrageous that 353 dogs were euthanised last season.

Greyhound racing

Photo: 123RF

A Greyhound Racing New Zealand report published this week has revealed, for the first time, how many of their dogs were killed after sustaining injuries on the racetrack, falling ill or being unsuitable for rehoming.

SAFE spokesperson Marianne MacDonald described the figures as a "damning indictment" on the industry.

"We've got almost one dog being killed every day and that is totally unacceptable," she said.

"What people need to remember - this is about putting animals lives at risk for betting profit - and animals are going to be in this situation until this industry is stopped."

SAFE is demanding a complete end for greyhound racing in the New Zealand and calling on the government to take action.

But Greyhound Racing New Zealand said the figures were an improvement on past years, and they were working to keep the number of deaths to an absolute minimum.

This week's figures follow a 97-page report, commissioned by former High Court Judge Rodney Hansen QC last December, reporting unacceptably high rates of dog euthanasia.

Hansen found that between 2013-2017 1300 dogs were euthanised and he gave 20 recommendations to the greyhound racing industry.

A spokesperson for Greyhound Racing New Zealand said not only have they taken the step of publishing euthanasia figures, but they are actively implementing all the other recommendations.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the organisation said the welfare of their dogs is of paramount importance.

"We have an intensive programme of work planned for the coming year to further improve," they said.

The spokesperson said they intend to make changes to rules around breeding to assist in achieving the right level of animals that supports the industry, but strikes the right balance with opportunities for rehoming.

They are also working to expand the Great Mates Prison Fostering Programme with the Department of Corrections and with other organisations to increase rehoming opportunities.