After a collision at the Perth Cup on New Year’s Day left 5-year-old mare Chili Is Hot dead and Dom To Shoot lame, the rescheduled race attracted protesters, who set up a “horse graveyard” outside the gates of Ascot Racecourse.
Activists held nine gravestones bearing the names as well as the birth and death years of horses who had died at Ascot since October 2021.
A total of 21 horses have died on West Australian racetracks since October 2021.
You Bet – Horses Die
The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses’ most recent “Deathwatch” report revealed that 139 horses either died or sustained a life-ending injury on Australian racetracks between 1 August 2021 and 31 July 2022. That’s one dead horse every 2.5 days.
However, these recorded track deaths are only the tip of the iceberg. Most states don’t even report deaths that occur during training or in trials, and stewards aren’t required to list the deaths of horses caused by on-track injuries if an animal is removed from the track on race day and killed later.
Even horses who survive the gruelling ordeal of racing aren’t guaranteed peace. Regardless of pedigree or past earnings, many horses bred for racing are discarded once they’re no longer useful.
A 2020 investigation by Farm Transparency Project followed the fate of ex-racing Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses to two Sydney knackeries, where hidden cameras captured their slaughter and sale as food for companion animals. Many of the horses seen there were officially listed as “retired” on the Racing Australia website. And in 2019, ABC’s7.30 programme revealed that around 300 horses used for racing went through a single abattoir in Queensland in just 22 days.
Horses bred by the Australian racing industry are also sometimes sold to the racing industry in South Korea, where they’re slaughtered for meat when they’re no longer considered useful. A PETA exposé of that country’s largest horse abattoir shows castoffs from the racing industry being beaten repeatedly in the face as they’re forced into the abattoir and killed for their flesh.
Stop Sending Horses to an Early Grave
The Perth Cup – and all other events in which horses are whipped past their limits and their lives are placed at risk merely for entertainment – should end.
No one needs to be harmed for human entertainment.