For Immediate Release:
1 November 2018

It’s ‘Un-Australian’ to Celebrate Cruelty

Melbourne – Because 119 horses died on Australian tracks between August 2017 and July 2018 – which is an average of one every three days – PETA sent a letter this morning asking Minister Philip Dalidakis to cancel Melbourne Cup Day and instead move the public holiday to a more suitable day, such as World Animal Day.

In the letter, PETA points out that Aussies value kindness to animals – so the Melbourne Cup, which epitomises the dark side of the racing industry, is fundamentally “un-Australian”. Last year, Regal Monarch broke his leg during the race and was later euthanised, and in 2015, Red Cadeaux sustained the same deadly injury.

A copy of the letter is available here.

“Behind the champagne and fashion of the Melbourne Cup are thousands of broken-down, slow, and old horses who have been discarded by the racing industry,” says PETA Campaign Advisor Mimi Bekhechi. “There’s nothing ‘sporting’ about sentencing horses to suffering and death, and PETA is asking Minister Dalidakis to help stop the cruelty in ‘the race that stops a nation’.”

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – notes that it’s common for horses in the racing industry to suffer from internal bleeding, including exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhaging (or bleeding from the capillaries of the lungs), which can cause blood to pour from their nostrils. Researchers at the University of Melbourne discovered that more than half the horses used for racing who they studied had blood in their windpipes – an abnormal condition that indicates that the animals are being pushed beyond what their bodies can safely withstand.

In addition to sustaining trauma to the respiratory system, most horses in the industry develop stomach ulcers. Studies in both Sydney and the US have found that more than 85 per cent of Thoroughbred horses used for racing had lesions in their stomach lining.

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