The Race That Stops Heartbeats

It’s that time of the year, everyone is preparing to celebrate the great race that stops the nation – Melbourne Cup. For Melbournians there’s even a public holiday so everyone can be involved! But for many, this is seen as the race that stops innocent heartbeats, and not in a good way.

While the nation’s population spends months preparing for the annual event, ladies finding their gorgeous designer dresses, men suiting up, champagne flowing for the masses, those that are being celebrated are suffering. Over the average 5-year lifespan of a racing thoroughbred, they will be subjected to many forms of abuse by their owners and trainers in the hopes they’ll be champions. Drugged, whipped, shocked and pushed far past their limits, they are left open to illness and injury that you and I couldn’t fathom experiencing.

According to the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, in the last year alone 122 racehorses have died after sustaining injuries during a race. Injuries range from bleeding in the lungs to broken legs and necks due to falls and fatigue. The Melbourne Cup alone has seen the death of 6 horses in the past 6 years, with five being due to limb fractures and one due to heart failure following the race. What’s the motivation behind the worldwide success of horse-racing if the impact on the animals is so great? Entertainment and financial gain.

Each year in Australia, approximately 15,000 colts and fillies are bred for sale. Breeding is forced on mother’s who will spend 90% of their life being pregnant, with foals staying with them for only 6 months before being taken away to start training. When the mothers are no longer needed for breeding, they are sent to slaughter to keep from being bred by others.

Once they reach 1-2 years of age, foals become yearlings and go to sale. These sales see the industry rake in a whopping hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars, with all owners hoping their purchase will pay off for them. For those lucky enough to be chosen, they will be treated to a life far better than the others, but still filled with hefty training routines, routine drugging, fear and pain. Those that aren’t selected to race are sent off to meet their fate much sooner than the rest.

Recent studies show approximately 9000 horses from the racing industry are sent to slaughter each year. Over the 150 years the racing industry has been active we’re talking about over 1 million lives that have been lost for the entertainment and financial gain of humans

Image: Marylou Salon

This really only scrapes the surface. The racing industry is one of greed, cruelty and death and it saddens me that in this day in age, in 2019, we still turn a blind eye to the reality of what we are doing to these creatures.

This Melbourne Cup day I encourage everyone to say “Nup to the Cup” and be conscious of the damage the racing industry is doing.

Click here for a list of Say Nup to the Cup events!


Shannon - Founder