Kristie E. Cameron, Alison Vaughan, Marie J. McAninch, Kayla Briden, Arnja Dale

Cross-Sectional Survey of Public Perception of Commercial Greyhound Racing in New Zealand

  • General Veterinary
  • Animal Science and Zoology

The commercial greyhound racing industry in New Zealand is struggling with an eroding social license and ‘on-notice’ status. Multiple independent reviews of the industry have identified ongoing issues of animal welfare during and between races, euthanasia decisions, poor data tracking, a lack of transparency and problems with rehoming dogs, resulting in New Zealand animal advocacy agencies and the general public questioning the continuation of greyhound racing. The current paper assessed the New Zealand public’s awareness and familiarity with commercial greyhound racing, identified current levels of public support or opposition for racing, and provided context in terms of engagement with greyhound racing using a comprehensive survey of a robust sample of New Zealanders. The results confirm that the social license of the greyhound industry is under challenge with most respondents expressing disagreement with or lack of knowledge of current industry practices and indicating they would vote in support of a ban. There is scope for increasing public acceptability by addressing welfare issues, increasing awareness of positive industry practices, and encouraging transparency of the greyhound racing agency. However, as greyhound racing is on the decline worldwide, calls are likely to continue for a phase-out of commercial greyhound racing.

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