Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kiwis Speak Up For Greyhounds

Christine and I meet with Lynn Charlton, Bob Kerridge & Lucy
Last week, GREY2K USA Worldwide President Christine Dorchak and I embarked on our most ambitious journey yet to fight for greyhounds, a two-week, four country campaign swing across Australasia and China.

Our trek began in New Zealand. After twenty hours of air flight, we were greeted by dynamic greyhound advocate Lynn Charlton. Lynn is a leading voice for racing dogs in the country, and graciously allowed us to stay with her and her three adopted dogs.

The morning after our arrival, we held a strategy meeting with key greyhound campaigners from across the country, including Saving Wilma and the Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand. Together, we attempted a site inspection of the Auckland Greyhound Racing Club, a visit that was cut short when we were asked to leave a few moments after we asked questions about how the track operates. I was surprised by the level of anxiety we encountered at the track, which bordered on paranoia. In all my years advocating for greyhounds, I have never encountered a track that so clearly has something to hide.

On our second day in New Zealand, we met with Safe for New Zealand, a tenacious animal protection group that fights animal cruelty on many fronts. Safe is dedicated to ending greyhound racing completely, and is a valuable ally.

After meeting with Safe we sat for an interview with barrister, journalist and author Catriona MacLennan. Catriona thoroughly reported on our fact finding trip for greyhounds, and the sad reality that greyhounds in New Zealand face.

Finally, on our way to the airport we visited with Bob Kerridge at the Auckland SPCA. Bob is a titanic figure in the New Zealand animal protection community, and has worked to help animals for decades. The greyhounds have a good friend in the Auckland SPCA, and in Bob.

Even though we were only in New Zealand for less than 48 hours, it's clear to me that the pieces are already in place to secure the passage of significant reforms for greyhounds. Industry insiders should think twice about their current bunker mentality, which will only hasten the end of commercial dog racing in their country.

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