Tuesday, December 10, 2013

New Zealand Dog Track Official: Animal Welfare Means Digging a Good Death Pit

A New Zealand greyhound death pit, image by Farmwatch
In the December edition of On Track Magazine, Greyhound Racing New Zealand official Greg Kerr gave bizarre advice to trainers on how they should make greyhound death pits.

In part, Kerr wrote that while "dealing with the disposal of your animal can be very unpleasant" it is "necessary."  He went on to remind greyhound trainers of the factors they need to consider when burying dead greyhounds:
"Regardless of the method of disposal you choose, make certain you have all the facts and information first before proceeding. Always be aware of wells, surface water, public areas and property lines. Also consider if seasonal water will be an issue: often different times of year will cause the water table to rise."
Kerr added that trainers must take local wildlife into account in disposing of their dead greyhounds:
"If composting or burying, take steps to ensure wildlife or other animals on your property cannot access the carcass."
Kerr also told greyhound trainers that when burying their dead greyhounds, they should think about what season it is:

"Consider your options well in advance, and make plans for different seasons: for example it may be impossible to bury a carcass during the winter months due to frozen ground and high water tables."
On Track Magazine is the "official information bulletin" of Greyhound Racing New Zealand (GRNZ), and this essay appeared under the header "welfare news." In fact, Kerr is the official "Animal Welfare Manager" for the industry.

This is not the first example of the New Zealand dog racing industry using death pits. Just a few weeks ago, news program 3rd Degree reported on a greyhound death pit that was found on the property of GRNZ Board Member Phil Green. Their reported followed an investigation by the Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand and Farmwatch. When he was caught, Green was the chair of the industry's supposed animal welfare committee. He has since resigned his position.

It's clear that for Greyhound Racing New Zealand, animal welfare means little more than being thoughtful when burying your dead greyhounds.  In his essay, Kerr actually claimed that the advice he was giving was a way of showing greyhounds "dignity and respect." He wrote:

"Carcasses should be disposed of immediately, and treated with the dignity and respect they deserve."
Rather than focus on digging good death pits, the New Zealand dog racing industry should begin showing greyhounds a little dignity while they are still alive.


  1. Yes showing dignity to greyhounds would mean establishing programs to rehome them after their racing careers are done! They aren't wind up toys. Perhaps NZ needs a re-education program when it comes to humane practices towards animals. With the effort this man put into describing a kill pit, he could have written a beneficial and compassionate greyhound retirement manual instead!

  2. I hope everyone involved in this horrific treatment of these greyhounds is reincarnated as a greyhound and suffers a million times more than they could ever imagine. PAY BACK IS A BITCH - shame on all of you. It is time to stop using these animals for your financial gain and sick pleasure of watching them race.

  3. I owned a greyhound for almost 10 years and they make a wonderful pet after they are finished racing.