A New Zealand animal welfare group that goes by the acronym SAFE (Save Animals From Exploitation) has brought to light the damaging nature of brushing over the euthanization of injured dogs on the greyhound racetrack.
Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ) recently uploaded footage of a race at Manawatū Raceway in Palmerston North. The race took place on Friday 18th March. Among the raising, dogs was a dog that went by the name Have A Yak, who tragically did not make it to the end.
When the video was uploaded by GRNZ they had chosen to remove a section of the footage that showed the euthanization of Have A Yak following the dog suffering a compound fracture during the race. The footage was removed from the video for “sensitivity reasons” according to GRNZ.
Save Animals From Exploitation has highlighted this choice made by GRNZ, with SAFE spokesman Will Appleby explaining that the intentional lack of transparency by the racetrack is a big part of the problem facing greyhound racing.
Photo Credits: STACY SQUIRES/STUFF
According to Appleby, the choice by the greyhound racing industry to “sanitize its impact on dogs” by removing footage such as this before supplying said race footage to the general public is in blatant disregard of their instructions to improve transparency.
“Dogs are still suffering from major injuries and [Greyhound Racing New Zealand] seems more concerned with its public perception,” Appleby explained.
Greyhound racing has always been inherently dangerous, and according to Appleby, SAFE is of the opinion that the industry as a whole has repeatedly proven that greyhound race tracks cannot be trusted to protect the dogs that they use.
“Until the Government implements a total ban on greyhound racing, it is clear that dogs will continue to suffer.”
The chief executive of Greyhound Racing New Zealand, Glenda Hughes, has come forward to explain the decision made to remove the euthanization footage, explaining that seeing the dog fall will have been upsetting to the viewers.
She has gone on the explain that they had made the judgment call to remove the aforementioned footage in order to protect those that wished to watch the footage from becoming upset by it. According to Hughes, it was a decision made out of sensitivity not only for the viewers but for all greyhound lovers that may find the footage.
She goes on to defend the decision by highlighting that the concealment of euthanization in animal racing is common practice across all animal racing sports.
The stipendiary steward’s report – a descriptive report published on the New Zealand Greyhound Racing website alongside the race footage and results – explains in better detail the incident that led up to the eventual demise of the injured greyhound.
According to the report Have A Yak made contact with another dog on the final bend, which resulted in the loss of balance and a severe fall. A veterinarian was then brought in to examine Have A Yak and found that he had suffered a compound facture in his left leg, leading to euthanization.
When asked to comment on the welfare of the dogs at her track, Hughes assured new outlets that the race track is constantly working to improve animal welfare, expressing that they have always put animal welfare first.She defends this incident by explaining that “there have been 18 fewer race day deaths so far this season than there were at this point last season.” Additionally, Hughes has stated that transparency when it comes to both general information and statistics is also a top priority of theirs.
The euthanization of Have A Yak will be reviewed by the serious injury review committee.
“We ensure that every serious injury is reviewed so that we can best mitigate any future risks of injury.”
The greyhound racing industry was put on notice last year by racing minister Grant Robertson stipulating that animal safety needed to be improved as well as improvement on data transparency and data recording. SAFE hopes that by bringing this incident to light, it will instigate necessary changes to improve animal welfare throughout the Greyhound racing industry.