Greyhound Racing New Zealand defends sport

Phil Holden says the racing industry in New Zealand was "fundamentally different" to Australia. Photo / File
Phil Holden says the racing industry in New Zealand was "fundamentally different" to Australia. Photo / File

New Zealand's greyhound racing body is defending the sport as it is practised here after today's announcement it would be banned in New South Wales and the ACT after a livebaiting scandal.

The findings of an inquiry into the sport in NSW was handed to the state government last week.

It found evidence of animal cruelty, including the use of kittens and piglets as live bait to train greyhounds, footage of which was shown by the ABC, who uncovered the scandal.

Mass killings of greyhounds were also discovered during the special commission of inquiry.

Premier Mike Baird said between 48,000-68,000 dogs were killed in past 12 years in NSW because they were deemed "uncompetitive".

Live baiting was widespread, and Greyhound Racing NSW had a policy of deliberately misreporting the number of dog deaths and injuries, he said.

The report also found "up to 20 per cent of trainers engage in live baiting and 180 greyhounds a year sustain catastrophic injuries during races, such as skull fractures and broken backs that resulted in their immediate deaths".

Baird said he did not believe the industry was capable of reform.

Greyhound Racing New Zealand boss Phil Holden defended the sport, saying the racing industry here was "fundamentally different" to Australia and operated under a different regulatory framework.

"Unlike Australia, New Zealand has an independent body, the Racing Integrity Unit (RIU), which monitors dog racing, including undertaking kennel inspections, drug testing, race day attendance and investigations," he said.

"Greyhound Racing New Zealand works very closely with the RIU to ensure the safety and good treatment of all dogs in the industry. In recent years, significant steps have already been taken to improve greyhound welfare in New Zealand following our own independent review."

Animal welfare was taken extremely seriously by the New Zealand racing industry, he said.

"We were appalled by the findings of the special commission of inquiry into the NSW greyhound industry and we will continue to have zero tolerance for anyone in the New Zealand industry being involved in any of the practices identified in the Australian report."

The Australian ban will come into effect on July 1, 2017.

- NZ Herald

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