The Melbourne Cup of Horse Cruelty

It’s been going on for the last 158 years – The Melbourne Cup, a horse racing event, marketers and fans refer to as the “race that stops a nation“. However, animal right activists and animal lovers want the nation to stop the race instead and asking everyone to boycott it.

The sheer amount of pain these gentle creatures have to go through like the gruelling training sessions, being whipped fiercely on the 3200 meter racecourse and even being put to death if they seriously hurt themselves- should cause any human heart to crumble. Yet for most people, it’s a day of enjoyment… immersed in socializing, drinking, getting fashionable and plenty of gambling opportunities. Surely, that is more valuable than the life of a living being.

For those of you are not aware of this event, here is a snapshot:

  • First race held on Thursday, 07 November 1861 (2 horses died on this race)
  • Australia’s most famous thoroughbred horserace
  • Held every year (in November) at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, Australia
  • Total prize money 2019 is $8 million (2019)
  • Racecourse crowd has fluctuated over the years with a record 120,000-odd in 2003 to 80,000-odd in 2018.

It’s a national event boasting participation from international racers and major attractor of tourists for the country too. But horse racing is increasingly being considered by many as a national shame.

As per “Horse Racing Kills” website (managed by The Coalition for The Protection of Racehorses), 122 horses were killed between August 2018 – July 2019) on Australian race tracks.

That’s 1 dead horse every 3 days.

Few years ago, The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) filmed a documentary exposing the cruelty on race horses in Australia. You can watch the video here:

The episode created a stir but after a few days of war cries from animal lovers; the media covered other interesting news; the public got distracted with their lives and the whip continued to rain on the poor horses.

What the race horses endure

If you have time, read this article that appeared in 2017 in the Sydney Morning Herals, one the country’s leading newspaper:

Why the Melbourne Cup is actually one of the cruellest days on Australia’s calendar
by Laura Weyman-Jones

The life of a racehorse if not one of glamour but of immense pain:

  • Gruelling training sessions cause fractures, trauma, ruptured ligaments and bone injuries.
  • Pushing a 500 KG animal to race at incredible speed (so close to each other) is often a recipe for disaster. And when a disaster happens often having a horse break its leg badly, the track officials/veterinarians/owners takes a “compassionate” approach – end his/her (the horse) life. 
  • Horses have no time to recuperate from injuries and are given heavy dosage of painkillers and other drugs which ruins their health even more.
  • During the mad race, internal bleeding can occur in the horse – evident from blood pouring out of their noses.
  • Aggressive whipping causes intense pain and tissue damages to the horses.

Did you know that horses who don’t win or win sufficiently enough are sent to the slaughterhouses to be buthered for pet food? It’s true. 

  • 130,000 American horses slaughtered in Mexico and Canada in 2015
  • An investigation showed 33 horses transported to an abattoir on a 36 hour journey without food, water and rest
  • They then killed horses using a strong electricity shot but some were still conscious after the bolt

If the animal is not-so-schweeeet, then it don’t deserve to live.

This is how most humans feel about animals – if they are not cute enough (like our cats and dogs) or not endangered enough (panda or the dolphins), then by all means, please use them for food, hunting, sports, medicine and scientific experiments. 

Take a look at the global stats of animals killed every year. As per Sentient Media, a nonprofit media organization working to create transparency around animal rights; over 150 million animals are killed for food around the world every day! That comes to a whooping 56 billion/year just in the USA. In Australia, between 500-600 million animals are killed in abattoirs alone as per Aussie Abattoirs website.

Animals should not be mistreated, misused or killed. Like humans, the life of an animal is also sacred, important and has a purpose. They also have the right to live, to be protected, to raise their young ones and to lead a full life.
Don’t we already have sufficient races on earth – car races, bike races, plane races, truck races and cycle races, the 100m sprint, the relay, swimming etc. Aren’t they enough?

Humans have created so much havoc in society with their uncontrolled desires. From pollution to mass killings, their powerful intelligence has caused more harm than good. Instead of being an instrument of unconditional love & positive change; we prefer to exhibit control & violence. Our schools should teach kids on how to be affectionate, build long-lasting relationships and prevent corruption for the sake of all living beings. What will chemistry, geography and English grammar achieve?

So, if you are thinking of going to the races or perhaps watch it on TV, this is my advice to you – don’t do it. Turn the offer down. Stand up for what is right. Then, proudly and confidently let everyone know why you have taken this stance. 

horse portrait

Written by

Manoj loves all things related to internet, productivity, self-improvement, spirituality & entrepreneurship. He has written close to 400 articles online over the last 10 years. He is also a podcast host at "Manoj Speaks" + YouTube content creator at "Manoj Videos" + managing an online service "", to assist international students to Australia with tips & advice. You can follow him on Twitter at "@manojthinks".

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