In a landmark moment for animal welfare, both the Labour and National party leaders pledged to ban greyhound racing during last night’s 1News Leaders’ debate.
In response to the question “should greyhound racing be banned,” Labour party leader Christopher Hipkins replied “Yes. It’s time,” and National party leader Christopher Luxon responded “Yes. There’s a review coming and I think that’s the place to be. Yep.”
SAFE Campaign Manager Anna de Roo says this is a momentous occasion and a win for greyhounds everywhere.
“New Zealand is one of only a handful of countries to legally allow commercial dog racing,” says de Roo.
“For decades greyhounds have been injured and killed in the name of entertainment but the tide is going out on animal cruelty.”
Public opinion firmly supported a ban, with an independent poll showing 74% of New Zealanders would vote to ban greyhound racing in a referendum.
“Tens of thousands of New Zealanders signed the petition and emailed the racing minister in support of a ban. Many companies also withdrew their sponsorship after learning of the realities of the industry.”
“The resounding ‘Yes’ from both party leaders is a clear acknowledgment of the overwhelming public support to protect greyhounds.”
The latest review of the industry conducted by the Racing Integrity Board found that injuries continued to “trend upwards,” and stated that “many of the concerns are as relevant today as they were 10 years ago”. The final decision will be made by Cabinet after the election.
While it will take time to translate the ban into law, SAFE says that the political leaders’ comments are heartening.
“This commitment reflects a growing compassion for animals and a desire to put an end to an industry rife with harm.”