Former High Court Judge/QC to conduct welfare inquiry

Published: Tue 22 Nov 2016 01:58 PM
Press statement:
Aaron Cross, on Behalf of
The Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand.
21 November 2016
Animal welfare advocates plan to present a petition to the government in December seeking a ban on greyhound racing, but in a surprise strategic move, the New Zealand Racing Board has announced it’s own inquiry into animal welfare issues for racing dogs.
“It’s a bit deja vu”, says Aaron Cross, Greyhound Protection League spokesperson.
“In 2013 we petitioned the government for an independent inquiry into where greyhounds were disappearing to, and in response the industry provided it's own not-quite-independent inquiry which relieved the government of the responsibility of investigating”
“The 2013 inquiry had some key flaws but even then it showed the industry had serious shortcomings,”
“Here we are again, petitioning the government and the industry is again offering to take over and do the legwork, on it’s terms”
“We of course welcome the Racing Boards inquiry and are pleased to be invited to contribute.”
The inquiry is to be conducted by former High Court Judge and Queens Counsel Hon Rodney Hansen.
“Regardless of this inquiry, the evidence indicates the industry has changed little and continues to resist reform,” says Mr Cross.
Last week Argentina passed legislation banning greyhound racing and the National Party in Uruguay has also this week tabled legislation seeking to prohibit the activity in the South American nation.
The Australian New South Wales state government also recently announced it's intent to ban the pastime, but the announcement was the last straw for an already disenfranchised rural sector, who responded by ousting a Nationals seat and filling it with a candidate from the Fishers and Shooters party in the electorate of Orange.
“The NSW Premier did the right thing by enacting a ban, the problem was he did so when the NSW coalition had already agitated Australians, by limiting bar opening hours, forcing council amalgamations, and lifting environmental protection laws, among other things.”
“The media promoted the notion that losing the Orange by-election was about the greyhound issue, but in fact it was a number of issues. Reversing the ban made the government unpopular in all corners, but it's greyhounds who will continue to pay the price for people's bad decisions.”
“Premier Mike Baird’s first instincts were the right ones, the humane ones, but he panicked and let a lot of people- and greyhounds, down”
“In New Zealand, the industry had it’s moment of panic was when we presented our petition 3 years ago, and now it’s time to mark their performance since.”
“I sincerely wish we didn’t have to do this,” says Mr Cross. “I wish greyhounds weren’t killed and injured for the benefit of the gambling industry, but without the harm, the industry simply can’t function.”
“It’s tragic that greyhounds have continued to suffer for so long.”
“It’s not easy to advocate for loss of employment, loss of income and loss of lifestyle, and we certainly don’t campaign for this lightly. Unfortunately the core nature of this activity is inhumane and at odds with mainstream values.”
“We’ll do everything we can to protect these vulnerable animals,”
“We’ll do this for as long as it takes for the government to reach the ethical, humane, and obvious decision.”

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