Making kind choices in your everyday life.

horse racing

Melbourne Cup alternatives

Posted by on Nov 3, 2013 in horse racing | 0 comments

“We love booze and hats, but not at the expense of the 7 in 10 thoroughbred horses that get “discarded” as “wastage” or the multitude of injuries and shameful conditions that many racehorses are subjected to. And just in case you think we’re tiresome, humourless, do-gooder bleeding hearts, we challenge each and every one of you to a drinking-champagne-in-the-sun competition” – The Low Road Cafe, Brisbane Queensland.

horseeye

Photo from Animal Quotes, Animal Rights & Religion facebook page

A round of applause for The Low Road Cafe. Not only are they donating 50 cents for every coffee sold on Melbourne Cup day to The Coalition For the Protection of Racehorses but their quote is so spot on.

If the glitz and enthusiasm surrounding the  “race that stops a nation” leaves you feeling a bit flat, it does not mean that you are an “un-Austrayan” bleeding heart kill joy.

It may mean that you are disturbed by the fact that :

* over 10,000 racehorses end up at the abattoir each year (some who have been found to have won hundreds of thousands of dollars in prize money for their owners) as a result of not making it to the track in the first place, not performing well enough as a racehorse or having retired from horse racing. Over breeding of the animals is rife as only an estimated one third of the 17,500 thoroughbreds bred for racing each year actually make it to the track. Some are re-homed as pleasure horses, police horses etc but these instances are in the minority as there simply are not enough homes for these animals to go to.

* Injuries are common in all racehorses but particularly in undeveloped 2 year old horses. 

* 22 hour a day confinement in a stable is akin to keeping a bird in a cage but this is the way most racehorses live.

* Humane slaughter of these animals is impossible. Horses are highly sensitive, skittish animals who get spooked by the likes of a rustling plastic bag. Their slaughter involves being shot in the head with a rifle just a couple of meters away from those horses waiting behind them to be shot. A hard to watch but informative video shows what happens here  – wastage. There are only 2 horse abattoirs in Australia – one in South Australia and one in Queensland which means massive travelling distances for many horses prior to being killed.

* The sight of little men whipping a beautiful creature who is obviously already trying their hardest in front of a roaring crowd is sad.

* Or you may simply find the egalitarian aspect of the racing world where the rich get richer and the poorly paid stable hands earn a pittance, to be a bit of a wank.

Treating these majestic animals as disposable pieces of garbage because they cannot bring an economic return is plainly unacceptable.

The racing industry is a massively lucrative industry and the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses is trying to convince The Australian Racing Industry to allocate 1 % of the $15 billion collected  from the betting ring to giving retired or unsuccessful race horses a good home rather than being sent to the “doggers”.

What you can do to help

* Attend one of the alternative Melbourne Cup day festivities being held around the country (Nup to the Cup in Melbourne, Not the Melbourne Cup in Adelaide and Escape the Race in Canberra). I am donning a frock and going to drink some champers at Sydney University’s “Not the Melbourne Cup“.

* “Like” The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses on Facebook to receive regular feeds of interesting information.

* Consider a donation to a re-homing organisation such as Quest Equine Welfare or Amanda Vella’s S.A.H.A Horse Rescue and Sanctuary or awareness / policy fighting groups such as The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses.

* Write a letter to the CEO of the Australian Racing Board expressing your concern about the thousands of horses being sent to the abattoir each year . Things can be done through the Animals Australia’s page here.

* Read this great article, “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?” which featured in the Good Weekend in September 2013.

Although the focus of this posting has been on thoroughbred race horses, it applies to Standardbreds used in harness racing too (except these animals are harder to re-home due to their unusual gait).

 

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