Myer has ended its 40-year sponsorship of the Melbourne Cup!
The department store’s decision follows years of pressure from PETA, and the recent powerful Fashion Standing With Horses campaign from Collective Fashion Justice and the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, this will be the first time in nearly 40 years that the Melbourne Cup will be without a fashion sponsor, highlighting that lifestyle brands have distanced themselves from horse racing as people have become increasingly aware of the cruelty of this “sport”. Competitor department store David Jones dropped its horse racing sponsorship in 2019.
Horses used for racing routinely sustain injuries and die, both on and off the track, and are victims of an industry rife with drug abuse and race fixing.
Horses exploited for racing are bred in the hope that their offspring will be fast – and often this comes at the expense of good health. Many don’t even make it to the racetrack and become “wastage”.
Bred for speed at the expense of bone mass and general well-being, horses are increasingly less robust and are pushed in races far beyond their natural capacity. It’s common for horses used in races to develop debilitating medical conditions, including bleeding lungs, ringbone, and gastric ulcers. Heart attacks and fatal injuries, including broken necks, backs, and legs, are also commonplace.
When horses are no longer profitable for the industry, they often end up at knackeries. A 2020 investigation by Farm Transparency Project followed the fate of 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’s 7.30 programme revealed that around 300 horses used for racing went through a single abattoir in Queensland in just 22 days.
Farm Transparency Project
Australian horses exported overseas for racing can also end up in abattoirs. A PETA exposé revealed that Australian horses sold to the South Korean racing industry usually end up being slaughtered for meat. Even the stallion Street Cry – who sired Australian racing legend Winx – fathered a foal who was killed for meat in South Korea.
As horse racing falls out of favour with the Australian public, so will the remaining companies that continue to sponsor these cruel spectacles. Take action to ask Lexus, Seppelt, and Kennedy Luxury Group to follow Myer’s lead by dropping the Melbourne Cup:
Want to help make victories for animals like this happen? PETA is hiring a corporate liaison.