The Racing Minister’s decision to push back on questions about the future of greyhound racing has the New Zealand Green Party worried. The Green Party of Aotearoa New Zealand believe the Racing Minister is gambling with dogs’ lives in unnecessary and self-imposed delay. Because for the party, greyhound racing does not meet animal welfare standards.
The Party has, through its Animal Welfare Spokesperson, Mr Chlöe Swarbrick, expressed concern over reports that the Racing Minister is delaying decisions on the future of greyhound racing until after the election.
“This is a bizarre concession to an industry that has spent the last ten years failing to meet animal welfare standards,” said Chlöe Swarbrick.
He sees the existence of the greyhound racing industry as a threat to dogs.
“As long as the greyhound racing industry continues, dogs will unnecessarily die and be injured. These deaths and injuries are not a bug, they are a design feature,” he said.
The Green Party challenges the government on its responsibilities in the face of what it considers a scourge for animal welfare.
Chlöe Swarbrick believes the government has all the evidence it needs to decide that the practice does not belong in Aotearoa, New Zealand, which he says remains one of just a handful of countries in the world that continues to allow it.
“We’ve had three reports in ten years that have told them things are not getting better. This is why the Government stated it was putting the industry ‘on notice’ in 2021,” he recalled.
The Green Party animal welfare spokesman said an independent poll commissioned by the SPCA found that 74% of New Zealanders would support an end to greyhound racing if it were put to a referendum.
He showed that Parliament’s own Petitions Committee signaled last year, with an all-party consensus, that there were serious and persistent problems with the industry.
“This parliamentary report raises doubts about whether the greyhound racing industry still has a social license to operate in its current form, and serious concerns about the way the industry currently operates,” he stated.
For this Green Party official, the Minister’s decision to kick the can down the road will mean more unnecessary dog deaths and suffering. This will mean more time for the industry to continue pushing for even more extensions.
He considers that the only obstacle to action is the government itself. He thinks the minister can change his mind and present his document to cabinet.
“He can and should also publicly release the information and evidence he’s currently sitting on so New Zealanders can form an understanding of his priorities – or lack thereof – on animal welfare,” Chlöe Swarbrick said.