As the Melbourne Cup wraps for another year, animal activists and racing enthusiasts are clashing over the well-being of the animals.
This year’s Melbourne Cup is the first Melbourne Cup since 2012 that a horse has not died after racing in the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Since last year’s Melbourne Cup, 132 horses have died on Australian race tracks and animal activists have said “enough is enough”.
Animal activist and veterinary student Isabella Mahon says people should research about horse racing before they decide to bet.
“It’s proven that whipping does indeed hurt horses when they race. It’s the exact same as whipping cats and dogs. If you whipped a dog you would go to jail, but when you whip a horse, it’s broadcasted on national television.”
Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses hosted ‘Farshans on the Field’ on Melbourne Cup day to dissuade people from attending the races and urges others to hold similar events.
The event is described as ‘just like cup day only without the senseless torture of animals’.
PETA campaign coordinator Claire Fryer has been a strong animal activist for over 20 years and is calling for people to boycott horse races.
“The deaths of Admire Rakti and Araldo in 2014 got a lot of attention and dominated the headlines but what’s really sad is that deaths like those happen regularly and it’s business as usual,” she said.
“There’s nothing sport-like about a past time where animals routinely suffer and die. The horses are pushed so hard that their lungs bleed, there’s blood in their wind pipe, among many other issues, most horses have stomach ulcers, people just don’t seem to be aware of the systemic suffering.”
Despite activist’s best efforts, the Melbourne Cup shows no signs of slowing down.
Race enthusiasts argue that this year’s winner, Almandin was brought back from death because of racing.
Owner Lloyd Williams bought Almandin in Germany with a tendon injury and rehabilitated him to race in Australia.
“He was broken down after we brought him from Germany” Mr Williams said.
“He had a tendon injury but they rehabilitated him and it’s an amazing staff performance. We would not be successful unless we had the team we’ve had. We’ve got a very good property but it’s the human resource that we have that has taken us to this level today. This horse is been set for this race since far back as July. But he’s gone through all the various pain barriers and I’m very proud of him. I’m very proud of the team”.