A call is being made to ban greyhound racing in New Zealand following a report revealing 353 dogs were killed during the last season.

Greyhound Racing New Zealand said in its 2018 annual report released this week that the 353 dogs were euthanised after failing to be rehomed.

Chief executive Mauro Barsi said the group was working hard to reduce this figure and was pleased to say that rehoming had increased by 25 per cent to 517 dogs last season.

But animal welfare advocacy group SAFE said this was a "damning indictment" on the industry.


"353 greyhounds killed is totally unacceptable," said SAFE head of campaigns Marianne MacDonald.

"The report states that they have tried everything they can but they still put hundreds of dogs down.

"This has been a problem all along, and after many years of reforms they still can't get their breeding down to a level that stops them from killing unwanted greyhounds."

Last year, an independent review commissioned by the NZ Racing Board and conducted by former High Court Judge Rodney Hansen QC made numerous recommendations to improve the welfare of racing greyhounds.

These included better kennel inspections, dog tracking, dog rehoming, stricter enforcement of dog health and welfare, and approvals regime before a dog could be euthanised.

Racing Minister Winston Peters said at the time that the report was deeply disturbing and "simply unacceptable".

Macdonald said the industry was killing almost a dog a day for entertainment and gambling profits, and that this was a "black stain" on NZ's reputation.

"The industry is literally betting on these dog's lives," she said.


"This cruelty has been banned in the Australian Capital Territory and Florida, USA. New Zealand is falling behind and our Government needs to take action to protect these vulnerable dogs."

Barsi however said the welfare of dogs was of "paramount importance".

"GRNZ has deliberately taken the step of publishing it's rehoming and euthanasia figures this year as part of a wider project to modernise the industry and share more with the community," Barsi said.

"We are committed to implementing all the recommendations outlined in last year's independent greyhound welfare review including transparency of animals euthanized whether or not that is due to illness, old age or unsuitability for rehoming."

Barsi said there was an intensive programme of work planned for the coming year to further improve.

These include changes to rules around breeding to help achieve the right level of dogs to support the industry, but strikes the right balance with opportunities for rehoming, and the expansion of kennel facilities and working with more rehoming partners.

"Our primary focus for 2019 is on further improvement and showing the community the results of our efforts," Barsi added.