Clarification re misinformation distributed by SAFE

Greyhound Racing New Zealand publicly released its 2021 Annual Report on Monday 13 December.

On the morning of Tuesday 14 December, SAFE issued a press release, which claimed that 232 greyhounds “were killed” during the 2020/21 racing season, and further claimed that the Annual Report “shows that the greyhound racing industry is clearly not addressing animal welfare concerns.”

These claims are factually inaccurate.

The Real Facts

The 2021 Annual Report discloses that 187 greyhounds died or were euthanised during the 2020/21 racing season for reasons unrelated to racing.

Of these, 117 greyhounds were euthanised for various medical reasons on advice of vets and 60 died of old age, illness or accident. 

There were 15 puppies that died after birth and three were euthanised on vet advice. Research on the mortality rates for puppies in the general dog population indicates a range of 11-13 per cent is expected. The greyhound puppy mortality rate in New Zealand for the past season was two per cent, so a factor of five times less than all other breeds.

The number of euthanised dogs related to racing activity was 27 – not 232 as SAFE appears to claim. This represents a significant reduction from all previous seasons, with no dogs euthanised in the last six months of the racing season.  

Various initiatives developed and implemented by Greyhound Racing New Zealand have led to this marked improvement. Such initiatives have included track refurbishments, the introduction of a raceday injury rehabilitation programme and increased rehoming opportunities for retired greyhounds.

The greyhound racing industry has undertaken major reforms in recent years following both the Hansen and Robertson reviews to improve the safety of racing and ensure a reduction in injuries. 

The figures from the last season demonstrate that these initiatives are proving successful, particularly with no dogs being euthanised due to racing activity in the last half of the year.

Greyhound Racing New Zealand accepts that there are people who are anti-racing, but we do feel it is important that the true facts and figures in context are released and published.

Posted on 14 December 2021

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