Animal Charity Urges New Zealand Government to Ban Greyhound Industry After Repeated Racetrack Fatalities

A repeat occurrence of greyhound racing incidents with fatal consequences at New Zealand’s racetracks earlier this month reportedly triggered the temporary closure of the Manukau Stadium in Auckland. As reported by Scoop, the th 7BALL CC ree fatalities occurring in a single week at this racing track also triggered the New Zealand animal rights charity SAFE (Save Animals from Exploitation) to request the Government to immediately ban Greyhound racing in the country.

Urgent Plea to Government:

Reportedly, the organization’s urgent plea comes after the authority Greyhound Racing New Zealand yesterday informed that it had temporarily suspended all racing activities at the Manukau Stadium. In the announcement, the authority explained that its decision was due to a “concerning increase in injuries” at the Auckland racetrack. According to the report, Greyhound Racing New Zealand also decided to relocate all races from Manukau to Cambridge until further notice.

Manukau Stadium’s Temporary Suspension:

However, SAFE doesn’t see the relocation as a viable measure to prevent further fatalities. Will Appelbe, SAFE Head of Investigations, reportedly considers that a temporary closure of the Manukau Stadium track would only transfer the risk of injuries and fatal outcomes to other racetracks. He said: “The injuries witnessed at this particular track are appalling, yet sadly, they are not uncommon within the confines of this industry,” as reported by Scoop.

Appelbe explained the charity’s reasons to issue an urgent plea to the state.“Injuries and deaths keep piling up, no matter the track. The Government must recognise the urgency of this issue and intervene decisively,” he reportedly said.

Three Racetrack Fatalities in Single Week:

Indeed, the urgency of the plea issued by the SAFE is grounded on recent incidents from greyhound race tracks that resulted in the deaths of three race dogs in a single week earlier this month. Reportedly, Big Time Punga collapsed and died immediately after the race held at the Manawatu Raceway in Palmerston North on 11 March; Thrilling Spiral sustained a compound fracture during the race at the Manukau Stadium, Auckland, held on 17 March; A day later, Uhlan Bale died after a catastrophic spinal fracture at the Addington Racetrack in Christchurch.

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Repeated Industry Failures and Animal Injuries:

The source also reports that the greyhound racing industry was officially put on notice on 2 September 2021. The measure was reportedly introduced after the industry had repeatedly failed to improve greyhound welfare. According to Scoop, the New Zealand greyhound racing industry has recorded as many as 2,371 animal injuries including 250 fractures and 22 fatalities.  Appelbe reportedly said: “These heartbreaking fatalities serve as stark reminders that the risks to dogs’ lives persist across the country, regardless of the track.”

Industry Ban Requested:

Therefore the recent tragic deaths of racing animals propelled the charity institution to issue an urgent plea to the Government.

According to Scoop, Appelbe explained:  “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. 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.”

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon ”acknowledged the necessity of banning greyhound racing,” Scoop reported.