Greens want greyhound racing banned after live baiting scandal

There are calls for greyhound racing to be banned in New Zealand, with the Green Party saying the industry has been rocked by scandal after scandal.

It follows the SPCA laying seven charges against prominent central North Island trainer Brendon Cole for live baiting.

Investigations began after images emerged showing Cole tying what appeared to be a rabbit to a lure arm.

Despite the charges, he was at the Whanganui Races on Wednesday where a dog he trained claimed another win.

The Green Party wants to see an end to the industry's harmful conduct.

"We've seen numerous scandals, including a dog a day being killed in this industry last year alone," Animal Welfare spokesperson Gareth Hughes said.

"We don't think it has a place in New Zealand, and we should be a country that espouses strong animal welfare - and sadly that's not represented in the greyhound industry at the moment."

When asked if he thinks the sport should be banned, Hughes said yes.

"I think it has no place in modern New Zealand."

Racing Minister Winston Peters said the "system is working".

"You can have confidence that we're going to clean the industry up, and we are."

Craig Rendle is the former chairman of Greyhound Racing New Zealand, and co-owns at least 39 dogs with Cole's partner Lisa. He told Newsub he stands by his racing partners.

"We don't believe the charges will stand up in court."

He said he believes the live baiting allegations have come about because others are jealous of Cole's success.

"In all my time with Brendon, I've never seen any evidence of it."

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He said he'd be concerned if the allegations were true, but is sceptical because he "doesn't know who these people are".

One of those people was Shaun Rolston. He was one of several former workers who told Newshub in December 2017 that live baiting did happen.

"I saw live baiting quite often, maybe once every two weeks," he said at the time. "Some of the animals were possums, his own guinea pigs and also rabbits."

Hughes said the live baiting scandal is a symptom of bigger problems.

"Really what it shows is something rotten is in the state of the greyhound industry in New Zealand."

Greyhound Racing New Zealand has told Newshub the live baiting charges are "serious", but it's waiting on more information.

The integrity unit won't say if it will investigate, and in the meantime it appears Cole's free to continue racing at the track.