An investigation into the outcomes of missing racing greyhounds has exposed the industry to widespread public criticism and has raised questions regarding the industries legitimacy in the face of changing animal welfare expectations.
"What we've seen as a result of this investigation, is that healthy young greyhounds are being killed simply because racing industry participants cannot or will not care for them once they are no longer of financial value." Says animal welfare advocate, Aaron Cross.
"We think this is appalling and completely out of step with societies values towards animals"
A television (3rdDegree) investigation found that the industries Chairperson for Animal Welfare, had numerous partially decomposed and incinerated greyhound bodies on his Pokeno property. He was also a board member for Greyhound Racing New Zealand, the President of the Auckland Greyhound Racing Club, and a trustee on the Greyhounds As Pets charitable trust.
"This situation exemplifies the wider problem because he is regarded as a pillar of the greyhound racing industry, and sadly his behavior is an indicator of attitudes right across the racing code," says Mr Cross.
"If this is how the animal welfare chairperson operates, what does that say?"
"We've conducted extensive research into the outcomes for greyhounds, and we remain firmly convinced that the racing industry cannot or will not account for 6 out of every 7 greyhounds born or imported for racing. Thats over a thousand missing greyhounds in this country, every year."
"It has to end, this behavior is unacceptable."
Cross says that its time for the Minister For Racing to step in and clean up the industry.
"The chairman of the racing board needs to take responsibility for this. He has already been stood down from the Racing Integrity Unit because as their representative on the RIU, he was caught presenting a greyhound with morphine in her system for racing. Its not just the killing, its the drugs and injuries these dogs are victims of as well."
"The Racing Minister needs to act. Both the Chairman of the board and the board member exposed in this scandal are complicit in the routine disappearance of greyhounds. This is how this industry operates, and New Zealanders are now supporting our mission to shut this industry down for good"
"Either greyhound racing must be banned, or we're going to have to live with the ongoing slaughter of these beautiful animals, just so gamblers can be entertained."
Mr Cross says its time for mainstream political parties to realize that this is a mainstream issue.
"Any political party who is willing to take the lead on ending this deliberate mistreatment of animals stands to win the support of animal lovers right across the political spectrum."
"This is a mainstream issue. New Zealanders from all walks of life are upset by this and so they should be. Its time for action at the highest political levels".