Little did we know that yesterday when Betty, Lonia, Chris, and I were protesting outside Hatrick Greyhound Racing Stadium that it would be the last meeting ever at those premises! The Racing Integrity Unit announced today that owing to the track’s terrible safety record it will be closed indefinitely, effective immediately. For ‘indefinitely’ you can read ‘forever’, I cannot see them coming back from this. Otago Greyhound Racing can’t find a ‘home’, so that leaves just 5 operating tracks. Click, click, click. The dominoes are falling! Greyhound Racing has well and truly lost its social licence, and it will soon be banned for good.
I would like to thank Aaron Cross, Hannah Joy, Emily Robertson (and any others I don’t know of) of the Greyhound Protection League of New Zealand, especially Aaron, who started GPLNZ around 10 years ago and has worked tirelessly all this time to see dog racing banned for good. Aaron, I remember joking that you are very ‘dogged’, that you won’t let go of your end of the bone and other bad puns, but it’s your tenacity and persistence that has brought about this great result for the dogs. We need to acknowledge the wonderful MP, Chloe Swarbrick who has a private member’s bill to see greyhound racing banned, and of course SAFE, and in particular their press person Will Applebe have played an enormous part in this – heartfelt thanks to you all. I’m feeling quite emotional, what a great victory for the dogs.
It would be very remiss of me not to thank the small group of activists in Whanganui who have also played a small part in bringing this about. As well as our weekly demonstrations we have done work behind the scenes, such as contacting the Whanganui Chronicle and other sponsors, manning stalls at the market, and writing letters to the editor. Thankyou Anna, Lonia and Betty for your determined action these last 10 months. Activists in other areas, if you are near a greyhound racing track, think about holding demonstrations there – I have seven great signs that I can send you. We don’t need them any more!