Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Don't bet on cruelty, or: think twice about the Spring Racing Carnival (please).

More videos from Animals Australia

It is spring in Melbourne. Windows flourish with floaty dresses, floral adornments, teetering shoes. The city is chattering with fascinators, hats, gloves, heels, dresses, marquees, sport of kings, trifectas, quadrellas, win or place, and who got the favourite in the sweeptakes. People plan their outfits, their picnics, their drinks. David Jones is a jungle of sky-high floristy and the sun shines and the horses race and we all get a public holiday and drink a lot of champagne.

The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is here, and I had planned and wanted very much to write a well-researched, well-argued essay about horse racing and its cruelties. This didn’t happen with life and work and family and so on, so instead I am posting a video from Animals Australia which is sad, not too graphic, and very very real.

The race season can be fun with all the dressing up, sunshine and champagne. It’s easy to hear why it’s all so enjoyable

“The horses love it!”

“They were bred to run!”

“They’re worth millions!”

“Its good for our tourism!”

“It’s good for our economy!”

“I wish I could retire to stud!”

“They’re an investment; they’re treated well!”

and easy to forget

the jockeys too who fall and break bones and die

the horses who fall and break bones and inevitably shot

the road to the knackery upon retirement for all but the luckiest who go to stud

how many horses are not good enough to race and are slaughtered before they
even make it on to the track

the horses who can remain 22 hours a day in a stall, fed periodically and denied the right to graze in the open as a part of a herd

the way that we have bred thoroughbreds so far from a natural state that their bones break and shatter under the pressure of the race

This isn’t right; it’s cruel and unnatural and just because it involves frocking up and drinking bubbly doesn’t make it fun.

Just because the aim of the game isn’t the death of the animal, like in dogfighting or cockfighting, doesn’t make this any less cruel – they will live in misery and eventually they will all be killed and be forgotten and we will continue to bet on their lives.

This Spring Racing Carnival, please look behind the flash and glamour. Don’t bet on cruelty.


Mandee said...

Fantastic post, Miss T.

I went in September 2 years ago, a month after going vegan. I didn't really think about it beforehand or while there but after I'd been I thought "what on earth was I doing there?"

It's not something anyone should be supporting.

Seitahn said...

Thanks for the post.

My uncle died whilst horse racing (many years ago, in New Zealand- he was also top of his game) and it saddens me that people still follow and bet on this stuff. My sister is one of those people. She is not vegan (and doesn't understand it either), and her partner bets heavily on horses DAILY. I have tried to have a discussion with her about it but she believed I was making up stuff and then we turned to dog racing and she said the only thing she didn't like about dog racing was the small cages they were put into. Why are people so ignorant? Even after losing a relative?
I was born on my uncle Grant's birthday - a small little treasure. He is missed.