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As part of The Big Smoke’s Next Gen program, Bailey Mason believes that the Melbourne Cup, the race that stops a nation, should be stopped indefinitely.
It’s the race that stops the nation and has the nation in a state of celebration, but there’s a darker side to the Melbourne Cup. The unsettling reality about horseracing is that horses keep dying on the racetrack and thousands more are slaughtered in Australia for being too slow.
The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses has revealed in its fourth annual Racehorse Death Watch report that 119 racehorses were killed on Australian racetracks over the racing year, including Regal Monarch who broke a leg on Melbourne Cup Day in 2017.
In Australia, thousands of beautiful horses are slaughtered each year and many are killed for simply being too slow to win a race. The statistics are shocking, with more than 25,000 horses slaughtered annually in Australian slaughterhouses. Approximately 2,000 tonnes of horse meat is exported overseas for human consumption each year.
On the racetrack, horses are often repeatedly whipped which is obviously animal cruelty. Why does society turn a blind eye to the suffering of these horses? If someone was to absolutely flog a horse with a whip in a paddock, that person would be charged with animal cruelty, but for some reason the same treatment is accepted when it’s race day.
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Former New South Wales premier Mike Baird announced a ban on greyhound racing in 2016 and was angrily confronted by opponents from the racing industry; he also received heavy bullying from other interested parties. One of the issues raised was whether horse racing would be next, and in my view of course it should have been next on account of all the cruelty, otherwise banning one and not the other would have been hypocritical. The former premier, unfortunately, back-flipped on his original decision, but calls for the government to end greyhound racing continue to mount.
There is much celebration during the Melbourne Cup with the drinking, fashion and of course the gambling on exploited animals. However, there is also growing opposition, and even some celebrities have vowed to boycott the Melbourne Cup. Peter Siddle, Anna Weatherlake, David Campbell, the Veronicas, Lisa Oldfield, Imogen Anthony and more have all said “Nup To The Cup” in protest against animal cruelty.
We should not celebrate the Melbourne Cup. We should protest against the racing industry’s complete disregard for animals.
This article is part of a series for The Big Smoke Next Gen.
The Big Smoke Next Gen is a program which matches professional and experienced writers, academics and journalists with students who wish to write non-fiction articles and voice their opinions on what is shaping the nation.
For more information about our program at The Big Smoke, or to become a mentor, please contact us.