Fine clothes and bubbly may have their appeal, but for the horses
there’s a side to racing that is far from glamorous.
It’s race day. The lawn is freshly mown, and the scent of money is
in the air. Young beautiful horses are paraded about. Crowds are
dressed up like minor royalty, the champagne is flowing. It’s a day of
eveningwear in the morning and drinks before noon, high bets and high
They say that fortunes can be won and lost on days like this. But so
Have you ever considered what’s really being wagered at the races?
Here are four things you can make a sure bet on…
Thousands of horses are bred in Australia every year in the
relentless search for ‘winners’ — up to half of these young horses will never see the
track, and of those who do not every one can be a place-getter and
achieve ‘success’ for their owner. ‘Wastage‘
is the term used by the industry to describe these horses who aren’t
‘up to scratch’ — and their fate is grim.
Every year thousands of thoroughbreds are sold at auctions for a few
hundred dollars apiece, only to be ferried away and ‘processed’ into
pet meat. Horses like Nature’s
Child who was still listed on the website of Racing Victoria as
‘spelling’ (ie. resting) when she was brutally killed at a Victorian
Horses not fast enough for elite level racing are sometimes
‘retired’ to jumps racing. Jumps racing is 10 – 20 times more
than flat racing, and the injuries sustained can be horrific
— with horses suffering broken legs, backs and necks. With Racing SA recently announcing the cancellation of the 2022 jumps racing season, Victoria is the only state in Australia allowing this cruelty to continue.
They may try to flee from danger, but horses can’t escape the
tormenter saddled to their back — which makes whipping tired and
defenseless animals all the more unconscionable. Whips hurt.
There are no two ways about it.
An RSPCA-commissioned review by the University of Sydney found that whipping horses does not make them run faster. The study found that how a horse runs in the first part of the race — when they aren’t being whipped — is the most critical factor in determining racing success. So horses are flogged near the finish line, when they are at their most exhausted, for no ‘benefit’ whatsoever. One veterinarian and horse behaviourist has described whipping as “the most public form of violence to animals in Australia today“.
While it has traditionally been taboo to consume horse meat in
Australia, records reveal that at least 700 horses every month are
slaughtered here for the export market. Many of these horses are
young and healthy thoroughbreds who simply didn’t make it on the race
There are lots of things that may appeal about the culture of
racing: the chance to dress up, have fun with friends, and open the
bubbly at midday — but it’s time to leave the horses out of it.
You can help!
- Take the pledge to never bet on cruelty. You can help achieve a kinder
future for racehorses by refusing to support events that could cost
them their lives.
Australian racing bosses to ban whips.
for a ban on jumps racing in Victoria – the only
state subjecting horses to the dangers of jumps racing in 2022.
- Party! Check out these great ways to celebrate Melbourne Cup day without hurting horses.