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Animal welfare advocates present petition

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Today on the steps of parliament, animal welfare advocates handed a petition over to Green Party MP, Mojo Mathers, that asks the government to seek transparency regarding the injuries and outcomes of racing greyhounds.

The greyhound racing industry have offered up what it calls an independent inquiry, but a closer look reveals it's anything but.

"We expected a crooked sham from the racing industry, and they haven't let us down" says Aaron Cross for the Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand.

"What they've done is bought themselves an insurance policy. They've put former Racing Board CEO Bill Colgan at the helm of the investigation, and they have the audacity to call the investigation 'independent' ."

"They are effectively asking Mr Colgan to assess the animal welfare shortcomings of the very industry that he presided over. If he admits to the poor outcomes for greyhounds in his inquiry, it will reflect on his tenure as CEO. He certainly has motive to compromise any investigation.

Since the greyhound racing industry was exposed for misleading the public over greyhound injuries and raceway deaths late last year, they have reacted by curtailing publicly available information around race injuries.

"Instead of the usual under-reporting of broken hocks and raceway euthanasia, we now have a new generic description: "referred to the vet for assessment" of which there were 22 instances for the month of January. We know there have been fatalities during this period, and we're concerned that this manner of cover-up compromises the integrity of raceday vets, an issue we're discussing with the New Zealand Vet Council."

The Greyhound Protection League launched an online petition in December asking MPs to back the group's call for an independent inquiry into the outcomes of retired racing greyhounds that have left the industry. They reached their goal of 1500 signatures. This number is symbolic for the group as it reflects the number of greyhounds introduced to the racing industry annually.

The GPLNZ say the number rehomed annually is little more than ten percent of that.

"We believe if the racing industry has nothing to hide they should co-operate with the demand for a truly independent inquiry into the extent of injuries and the outcomes for racing greyhounds."

"After all the foolish moves the dog-racing industry has made since we began launched our campaign, we were wondering if they were finally going to do something smart. Electing one of their own 'old boys' to oversee an investigation and calling it independent proves that they're not there yet."

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