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Racing funding boost is no help to animals

April 28th, 2017

Greyhounds used for racing are placed at high  risk of being injured or killed on the track, while hundreds are  discarded every year when no longer fast enough to make money. Just like  horseracing, the greyhound racing industry is based on financial  return: prize money for the race winners and the major revenue coming  from gambling profits. The animals are always the losers when profit is  the primary motivation.

It has been announced that the New Zealand Racing Board is increasing  its funding by $24 million in prize money for greyhound and horse  racing over the next two years. None of this extra money, however, is  being put into improving animal welfare or the re-homing of ex-racing  dogs and horses.

“This is 24 million dollars of tax-exempt earnings going straight  into the pockets of racing industry beneficiaries, and not a cent for  the industry-funded rehoming initiative, Greyhounds As Pets (GAP), nor  any efforts to care for ex-racing horses,” says Aaron Cross,  spokesperson for the Greyhound Protection League.

This leaves GAP without the money it needs to re-home all the dogs  discarded by the racing industry and it tries to make up the shortfall  by advertising for volunteers and donations to help the small number of  dogs they are able to find homes for.

The greyhound racing industry is very secretive about the exact  number of injuries dogs are suffering on the racetrack, as well as the  number discarded when they are no longer making money. Greyhound  investigators have repeatedly called on the government for transparency  around the number of dogs killed and injured, and the exact proportion  of dogs that are re-homed, as opposed to euthanised. The racing  industry’s response, however, has been to withdraw what little  welfare-related information it was previously sharing publicly;  information that is still being withheld from the public.

It is left to investigators to use detective work to uncover the  truth from the information available. This shows that a huge number of  greyhounds simply disappear – between 500 and 600 greyhounds per year  euthanised in New Zealand, which includes approximately 50 dogs killed  annually after being injured on the track.

The government has allowed greyhound racing to police itself and the  industry is long overdue for an independent enquiry into the treatment  of dogs while racing and their fate when no longer wanted. It is time  New Zealand stopped gambling with dogs’ lives!

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