16 Apr 2021

Review into greyhound racing launched

3:33 pm on 16 April 2021

Racing Minister Grant Robertson is launching a review into greyhound racing, warning he is not satisfied with the industry's work on animal welfare.

Greyhound racing

Photo: 123RF

A major report in late 2017 uncovered "unacceptably high" rates of dog euthanasia as well as high numbers of injuries and unaccounted-for dogs.

Robertson said recent events showed the sector still had "some way to go" to reach appropriate safety standards as recommended by the report.

"I have informed Greyhound Racing NZ that I am not satisfied the recommendations are being implemented in a way that is improving animal welfare, and with their failure to provide sufficient information on changes they are making.

"It is the responsibility of the industry to hold itself accountable and ensure the best possible standards of welfare for greyhounds.

"Should the review show that progress has not been sufficient, a further fundamental look at the greyhound racing industry may be required," Robertson said.

In January, animal rights group SAFE labelled the Whanganui Greyhound Track "death track" and called for it to be shut down after five dog deaths over summer.

Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri said Greyhound Racing NZ had ignored her earlier suggestion that it resume "regular progress reporting" on how it was proceeding with the 2017 report's proposals.

"This review will now address these matters," Whaitiri said.

The National Party is backing the review.

Racing spokesperson Ian McKelvie said he was comfortable with how the sport had been making progress.

"I think the minister probably had little choice but to call this review.

"I think there's probably been some challenges in the greyhound industry which certainly they've been doing their very best to address, but clearly the minister's not satisfied with it and I think given that a review probably is necessary."

McKelvie said he expected the review to show that the greyhound industry had made some good progress.

The review - which is due to be completed by 1 August - will be led by the chair of the Racing Integrity Establishment Board and former senior judge Sir Bruce Robertson.

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