Animal safety group calls for Government to ban greyhound racing over number of dogs killed or injured

An animal safety group is again calling for the Government to ban greyhound racing, citing the number of dogs either dying or suffering injuries.

The Government won't do that yet, but the industry only has one year to improve.

Greyhound racing is a declining industry all over the world due to concerns about its safety and the sport has been under the spotlight in New Zealand in recent years.

A third Government review took place this year with a stern warning issued that things need to improve or the dogs will be banished from New Zealand's race tracks. 

But an animal welfare group believes the latest figures show little improvement.

"It's pretty disturbing to be honest and it's a dark stain on the industry," Will Appelbe from SAFE NZ told Newshub. 

SAFE said over 230 racing dogs died last season and 900 animals were injured.

"Those numbers compared to the previous year, the difference is negligible," Appelbe said. "So it's clear that the industry is still having a big issue with protecting greyhounds, and actually, they're having a disgraceful effect."

But Greyhound Racing NZ said SAFE is wrong because many of the greyhounds die away from the racetrack, unrelated to racing.

Still, the Racing Minister is demanding more.

"We've put them on notice and now we'll see if they can improve what they do," Racing Minister Grant Robertson said. 

The Government is affording the industry more time, but it's running out.

"We're going to wait, we've given them through to the end of next year to improve the way that the industry operates," Robertson said. "If it doesn't improve, then their social license to operate disappears."

Greyhound Racing NZ said in a statement that it's making improvements, such as injury rehab programmes and track refurbishments. It said the latest figures show success, not failure, particularly given that no dogs were euthanized in the season's last six months.

SAFE believes the only option is to ban the sport as other countries have but it's the Government that'll decide if the dogs have had their day.

Watch the full story above.