Why Are Horse and Greyhound Races Still Going Ahead During the COVID-19 Lockdown?

Posted on by PETA Australia

Sporting events, festivals, and weddings in Australia have been cancelled because of the COVID-19 crisis, as the government cracks down on “non-essential” gatherings of more than two people in an attempt to slow the transmission of the virus.

But as the rest of the world reorganises work and social schedules so that people can stay at home and flatten the curve, the horse and greyhound racing industries have decided they will continue to hold events.

So far only the Tasmanian state government has intervened, shutting horse racing down for at least four weeks.


Staff members at a typical race meeting include trainers, jockeys, vets, strappers, farriers, stewards, handlers, and stable and kennel staff. They’re required to be in close proximity, and many travel considerable distances to attend.

Even without a highly contagious virus, horseracing is risky during the best of times (and we don’t just mean the obvious risks to the horses). Jockeying is rated as one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet, with higher rates of injuries and deaths than skydivers, professional boxers, or motorcycle riders. Diverting emergency services at this time to take care of riders put at risk for the sake of a few bets is unconscionable.

While all “non-essential” services and sports have supposedly been closed down, it’s inexplicable that these exploitative entertainment industries continue to torment animals.

Several media exposés have proved that animals used for racing are victims of an industry rife with cruel treatment, drug abuse, injuries, and race fixing, and for many, their careers end in terror at abattoirs in Australia or overseas.

The government should shut down these vile industries immediately. Their history of whipping horses and baiting greyhounds as well as the vile way in which animals are killed after they’re no longer profitable are further reasons why they should be shut down permanently.

Please join us in asking the federal Minister for Health Greg Hunt to ban all horse and greyhound racing immediately. You can contact him on social media via the buttons below. Please feel free to use the text in this blog to formulate your comment, but remember that personalised messages always work the best.