Horse Racing: 5 questions for the anti-racing lobby (and associated keyboard warriors / bandwagoners)

Yesterday the Melbourne Cup was run and won at Flemington.  In the aftermath of the race two horses sadly passed away.  In case you missed the news:

  • Admire Rakti collapsed after the race in his stall and died on course.
  • Araldo was spooked by a spectator on the way back to the mounting yard, suffered multiple leg fractures and had to be euthanized at the Werribee Vet clinic.

The death of these horses is a stomach wrenching event that no true fan of the sport of horse racing will consider with anything other than sadness.

Unfortunately, and not surprisingly, the loss of the horses has been used as a launching pad for an assault on the sport of horse racing by both the protest lobby that is a constant in the horse racing industry and the usual key board warriors looking for 30 seconds of social media fame.

Let me be clear here: I am a horse racing fan.  I have been since my grandfather Col first talked to me about racing as we listened the scratching report on a Saturday morning when I was a 10 year old.

Even if I was not such a fan though I would be absolutely infuriated by the response from those with everything gain but no investment in the industry taking advantage of the death of these two horses.  To those taking said advantage I want to ask 5 questions:

  1. Do you concede that the death of Araldo, if fault is to be vested for the horse’s death, rests with the idiot waving a large flag at the horses and the lax security staff that allowed the flag to be in the race course? Could you explain to me how that conduct is the fault of the horse racing industry?
  2. Thoroughbred horses are bred for the principal purpose of racing under a saddle.  In addition to racing, Thoroughbreds compete in eventing, show jumping and dressage at the highest levels of international competition, including the Olympics. They are also used as show hunters, steeplechasers, and in western riding speed events such as barrel racing. Do you intend also to seek a ban of EVERY event a thoroughbred horse competes in?
  3. Do you also protest, or intend to protest, injuries and fatalities that befall other types of horses such as injuries and fatalities that occur in farming? By extension do you intend to seek a ban of horses being used in working contexts? Horses are beautiful animals but they are also fragile and injuries happen to them in many contexts outside of horse racing.
  4. Do you also protest, or intend to protest, the slaughter of animals bred to provide meat and other products humans eat and drink? If you decry the death of an animal bred to race surely you must also protest the death of an animal bred for meat?
  5. There are no definitive statistics as to the number of humans who have died playing sport in 2014.  You maintain statistics for the number of deaths of thoroughbred horses so I assume you have access to the same statistics for humans? Do you intend to protest and seek a ban of every sport in which a human died in 2014?

I am advocate for debate in every form but I am an even stronger advocate for a balanced debate.  When the anti-racing lobby and their hangers on can answer the questions above cogently then I will listen to their arguments: until then their approach smacks of sensationalism as best and woeful opportunism at worst.

The fact is that yesterday two horses, bred to race, died at a horse racing carnival, one as a result of being spooked by an alleged fan of horse racing.  As a fan of horse racing I remain gutted at the loss of these horses and my condolences go out to the horses’ connections.  Your loss should be honoured rather than used as a pulpit.

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