The Government has put the greyhound racing industry on notice following a review of animal welfare and safety in the industry.
The Government announced the review earlier this year - conducted by Sir Bruce Robertson, a former senior judge and the current Chair of the Racing Integrity Establishment Board - following calls for a complete ban on greyhound racing.
The report from the review found three fundamental issues that still need to be addressed:
1. Data recording
2. Transparency of all activities
3. Animal welfare generally
Racing Minister Grant Robertson said the report shows the industry's "social licence" is under challenge.
"Sir Bruce Robertson carried out a thorough review of the industry, meeting with interest groups from both within greyhound racing and outside. He also met with individual trainers and breeders," Grant Robertson said.
"His report makes it clear the social licence to operate the sport of greyhound racing is under challenge. He concluded that if Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) wants to secure its future it must demonstrate the decency of the industry, but it has made its job harder by unnecessarily obfuscating information and pushing back against those with an interest.
"All information should be recorded and it should be available. Arguably GRNZ has data to support its stances on the issues raised in Sir Bruce's report but it is seen as unwilling to share it."
Robertson said improvements need to be made in the industry or "risk closure".
"I am asking the Racing Integrity Board to identify a specific set of indicators over each of the three headings above that will be used to assess the industry's progress, reporting back to me before the end of 2022.
"This is shorter than the period Sir Bruce has recommended but I believe the urgency of the matters raised in the report justify that.
"I want to be clear today – the greyhound racing industry is on notice: either make the improvements needed or risk closure."
The Associate Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri said she welcomes and supports the recommendations from Minister Robertson.
"The Improvements needed from the greyhound racing industry must be taken seriously. The welfare of greyhounds must be a key focus for the industry," Meka Whaitiri said.
According to the report, the number of greyhounds euthanised in the first seven months of the year has been 103, with a number for "no reason given".
"The number of greyhounds euthanised has reduced significantly over the last four years, from an annual total of 348 down to 103 in the current year to date (7 months)," the report reads.
"However, the inability to justify euthanasia in 462 instances in four years was an issue raised many times by submitters monitoring the industry. 'No reason given' for euthanasia is the most common reason by a significant margin.
"This raised concern regarding the detail in which information is kept, and in some cases, it was submitted that this suggested GRNZ was intentionally obscuring the data."
Findings from a 2017 review into the industry, undertaken by former High Court judge Rodney Hansen QC, revealed more than 1440 dogs had been euthanised in just four years.
Animal welfare groups Safe NZ and the Greyhound Protection League delivered a 37,000 strong petition to Parliament last month, calling for a ban to the greyhound racing.
"This industry is killing hundreds of dogs every year. People are justifiably outraged," said Safe spokesperson Will Appelbe last month.
"It is unacceptable for dogs to risk injury and death for the sake of gambling."