Calls for inquiry into greyhound industry
Wednesday 24 Oct 2012 5:59 p.m.
By Tom McRae
Pressure is mounting for an independent inquiry into the number of dog deaths in the greyhound industry.
It follows Sunday’s 60 Minutes investigation, which revealed hundreds of animals listed as retired are actually being put down.
Dog racing is a rough and tumble world. Even the organising body admits hundreds of dogs every year are killed.
“Yes there would certainly be some, it could be a few hundred perhaps,” Greyhound Racing New Zealand’s Jim Leach says.
The 60 Minutes investigation found the track isn't the biggest killer - it's the dog trainers themselves. Up to 1000 are euthanised every year once they're no longer fast enough to race and win.
They're often listed as retired, but there are no official records kept once dogs finish their racing careers.
Save Animals from Exploitation (SAFE) director Hans Kreik is fed up with the industry.
“Retired actually means death, and that means like, last year 280 animals were retired, so that means they all could well be dead - we really don't know. And that's the problem with the industry, they don't keep records themselves.”
The animals hit top speeds in excess of 60km/h, and any injured during a race are usually put down.
Today Green Party co-leader Russel Norman lent his weight to mounting calls for an independent inquiry, rather than one conducted by the industry itself.
“The question is, are we willing to kill animals in order to enable our entertainment? Effectively that's what the greyhound racing industry is.”
That industry brings $75 million into the economy every year, sustaining around 750 jobs.
No one from Greyhound Racing New Zealand would appear on camera today, saying they haven't confirmed what the investigation will actually investigate. But it will most likely include what happens to the dogs once they have finished their racing life.
Regardless of what the investigation finds, if something isn't done critics say the dogs will keep dying.