Greyhound Racing New Zealand hits back at SPCA call to end greyhound racing

Greyhound Racing New Zealand () has launched back at an attack from the New Zealand Society for the Protection of Animals () calling their efforts “entirely inappropriate” and a waste of “significant time, money and resources”.

The actions of GRNZ and the welfare of greyhounds in New Zealand has been under review since the Robertson Review was published in September 2021, pointing out the review is still currently ongoing.

GRNZ maintain that the SPCA should stop wasting charitable donations lobbying against the industry while an independent review is still ongoing.

The full statement reads:

GRNZ were disappointed to learn that the SPCA has launched a campaign advocating for the end of commercial greyhound racing in New Zealand.

Many people are aware that our industry has been under review since the Robertson Review was published in September 2021. This review is currently ongoing and GRNZ will be submitting its final progress report to the Minister for Racing in mid-December. It would be premature for any decisions to be made prior to then.

GRNZ has made significant inroads in the spaces of and in recent years, and has made exponential progress in the past year alone.

Euthanasias of greyhounds for no reason other than them no longer being competitive at a racetrack has now been entirely eradicated.

We acknowledge that injuries still exist, but we are constantly working on ways to prevent, reduce and mitigate the effects of injuries.

The Rehabilitation to Rehoming Programme continues to be our gold standard rehabilitation programme for greyhounds who sustain raceday injuries. This is a GRNZ-funded programme, where greyhounds who are injured at the track are rehabilitated back to health before they enter the rehoming programme.

In April 2022, we introduced a Preferred Box Draw Pilot for low grade greyhounds, where greyhounds are assigned their boxes according to their early racing traits (rail, straight, wide), and early evidence suggests this is effective at reducing the rates of serious injuries. Preferred Box Draw racing is an Australasian first.

We also continue to make significant investments in track safety and infrastructure. For GRNZ, animal welfare is paramount, which is why we are about to commence construction of our first straight track in New Zealand. This track will be located in and we anticipate it will open in April 2023.

Additionally, GRNZ has recently employed a new National Track Manager, who is a leading track authority in Australasia. This person will oversee all greyhound tracks in New Zealand, including the training of track curators, thus ensuring the safest possible presentation of our tracks.

Further, the GRNZ Animal Health and Welfare Committee and Serious Injury Review Committee play integral roles with regards to injury prevention, reduction and mitigation.

Since 1 March 2022, all registered racing greyhounds have been required to be vaccinated, and puppies have also been required to be vaccinated since 1 September 2022. Again, New Zealand is ahead of its Australian counterparts in this area.

The love and care that our licensed persons have for their greyhounds is second to none, and the fact that 521 greyhounds were rehomed through the Great Mates Rehoming Programme last season is testament to how well socialised these beautiful animals are. In addition, when our greyhounds enter the Great Mates Rehoming Programme, there are no time pressures or constraints around when greyhounds must be adopted. Every greyhound is given the opportunity to live out the remainder of its life as a pet at the end of its racing career.

GRNZ does not have anything to hide.

All raceday reports are available on our website, and all of our quarterly reports are also published on our website. Our quarterly reports contain greater details around all of the improvements that our industry has made and continues to make.

These quarterly reports also include all injury statistics, along with raceday and non-raceday euthanasias and mortality information. Conversely, we note that the New Zealand SPCA does not publish their euthanasia rates anywhere. The Australia, however, does this annually.

In summary, we consider it entirely inappropriate that a is spending significant time, money and resources on this campaign – especially when a robust independent review process is already underway.

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