Ealier today, the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) joined forces with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) to protest against the Melbourne Cup. Wearing geometric horse masks we stood outside the gates of Flemington Racecourse carrying signs reading, “Nup to the Cup” and “You Bet They Die” and cracked “horse whips”, shooting blood-red smoke into the sky.
“A spate of recent controversies has exposed the racing industry’s ruthless slaughter of thousands of unwanted racehorses, and yet, nothing has changed,” says CPR Communications Director Kristin Leigh. “Racehorses are still being sent to slaughter while the industry pretends to have cleaned up its mess.”
A report and documentary recently released by CPR reveals that every year, nearly 5,000 racehorses are killed at one Australian slaughterhouse alone. “With one other slaughterhouse killing horses for human consumption and approximately 30 knackeries, we estimate the number of Thoroughbred racehorses being sent to slaughter each year to be more than 10,000,” Leigh adds.
CPR’s Death Watch reports that between August 2019 and July 2020, 116 horses died on Australian racetracks after sustaining catastrophic injuries or from heart failure. Even more horses are killed away from the track. Horses forced to race commonly suffer from stomach ulcers, internal bleeding from the lungs, and are painfully whipped to the finish line.
“While media coverage glosses over the bleeding lungs, broken bones, and tragic loss of life, horses on Australian racetracks are subject to severe abuse and even death,” says PETA Senior Outreach and Partnerships Manager Emily Rice. “How many more deaths will it take before we call time on this disgraceful demonstration of national senselessness?”
As documented by PETA US in 2019, many horses bred by the Australian racing industry are sold to South Korea, where they’re eventually slaughtered for meat. Since the 1970s, more than 3,000 horses from Australia or who had Australian parents have been killed for their flesh in South Korea. Following the release of this investigation, police in Jeju, South Korea, charged the abattoir where the footage was obtained, along with three of its workers, with killing horses in full view of other horses in violation of the nation’s Animal Protection Act.