In this newsletter:
- Dismal Spring Carnival Attendance
- Inside the Track
- Outside the Track
- Dinosaur Dash Cup Eve Action
- Protests Run from East to West Coast
- Succesful Nup to the Cup Launch
- Ambivalence Against Horse Racing
- Fashion Standing with Horses
- Fascinature Lapel Pins and Head Pieces Still Available
DISMAL ATTENDANCES AND RECORD-LOW TV RATINGS SHOW THE SPRING CARNIVAL HAS RUN ITS RACE
Plummeting track attendances, poor TV ratings and a celebrity drought at this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival have revealed an inconvenient truth for the racing industry: horse racing is out of fashion with celebrities and the community alike who will no longer turn a blind eye to the death toll and cruelty.
The sharp decline in crowds at Flemington saw only 45,000 attend Oaks Day, which once surpassed Melbourne Cup day itself in attendances and was spruiked as the carnival’s day of fashion. This was a significant drop from the pre-Covid 2019 crowd of 57,296 and the lowest Oaks Day attendance since 1986. Overall, there’s been a drop in attendance of around 10% to all the major race days in Melbourne since the Caulfield Cup.
The Melbourne Cup is now a cruel reminder to the public of the eight racehorses that died at the event over the past decade. The public also now knows of the horrific fate that lies ahead for many racehorses who are injured or not deemed profitable and will be prematurely killed out of expediency. No major celebrity in 2022 wants to align themselves with animal cruelty and that is what the horse racing industry now represents.
While the racing industry might attempt to blame the weather for this year’s dismal crowds, the Melbourne Cup’s television ratings also nosedived this year drawing the lowest viewership since records began 20 years ago.
A Lonergan Research poll commissioned by the Greens found that 59 per cent surveyed thought horse racing was cruel while 54 per cent believed horses should not be raced for gambling and entertainment.
Despite governments and the racing industry continuing to prop up the Melbourne Cup while ignoring the industry’s death toll of at least 139 horses killed on track over the past year, (see Deathwatch 2022) the event has lost its social licence with the community and a growing number of celebrities who are publicly expressing their opposition to horse racing.
The dearth of international celebrities at this year’s carnival shows they no longer wish to risk any backlash from being associated with an event mired by animal cruelty and death. This trend follows pop star Taylor Swift’s cancellation of her scheduled performance at the Melbourne Cup in 2019 after social media criticism.
During this year’s Melbourne Cup Day, the #NupToTheCup hashtag was one of the top trending topics on Twitter with thousands condemning the industry’s animal welfare record while talkback radio was swamped with callers asking why the event is still run.
Radio host Abie Chatfield reportedly turned down a significant appearance fee to attend the races and chastised other celebrities for attending the event on social media (more here).
TV host and singer David Campbell and writer Phillip Adams were also among the diversity of voices saying “Nup To The Cup” on social media.
The huge success of Nup To The Cup events across Australia has shown that Australians can still celebrate on the day without having to condone a so-called sport that kills animals,
The racing industry has tried to overturn growing opposition by introducing some token safety measures for the big Spring Carnival races only, but it doesn’t go anywhere near fixing the cruelty of racing or addressing the massive numbers of horses killed every year just because they no longer bring in profits for their connections.
At least one horse on average continues to die on Australian racetracks every 2.5 days.
INSIDE THE TRACK
Watching those Melbourne Cup leading horses taking a brutal beating as people cheered was quite the sickening display! But the moment those most concerned held their breath was seeing Interpretation quickly drop back from the field.
SUMMARY – if you trust the reports:
Three horses were *found to have bled from the lungs (EIPH).
**Heresy bled so badly it came through both of her nostrils and that wasn’t the first time.
Noonday Gun pulled up lame.
Three horses were ‘over’ whipped.
Three jockeys were found to have engaged in careless riding.
But the attention was drawn almost entirely to four year old Interpretation, who failed to finish in the Cup.
Born in Ireland, the stallion was moved to Australia in December last year. After his fourth race in this country, being the recent Geelong Cup, he was found to be lame in the near-fore leg and embargoed for eight days before being given the all clear just three days prior to the Melbourne Cup.
Yet, he was then found to be showing signs of lameness in both his off-hind and near-fore leg but was cleared for the big race at the 11th hour, vets stating the lameness had improved. His trainers claimed a nail in the wrong place was causing the issue.
Post failing to finish the race, his jockey was reported to have stated “He’s not right, that horse.” Yet Racing Victoria vets claim the horse is completely fine and his trainers have put the horse failing to finish the race down to a breathing issue likely caused by heart fibrillation (which apparently is of no concern to them).
Whilst this may be true and it would not change the fact that horse racing is a barbaric industry, it would be nice if there was some independent oversight so people could actually believe what is reported by Racing Victoria officials and it’s participants. But after years of cover-ups and blatant lies which still continue, it is impossible to really know what’s what, particularly on this day when the eyes of the world are watching and essentially expecting another horse to die – that’s the current odds.
The jockeys who forgot how to count to five were:
Damien Lane, whipping Lindemann seven times before the 100m free for all beating. He received a $700 fine and short suspension. His winnings for the day were at least $4,165. He was also “severely reprimanded” for careless riding.
Damien Thornton, whipping Realm of Flowers nine times before the 100m free for all beating. He was fined $4,000. His winnings for the day were at least $17,875.
Daniel Moor, whipping Daqiansweet Junior nine times before the 100m free for all beating. He received a $2000 fine and short suspension. His winnings for the day were at least $8,150.
Patrick Moloney’s “high level” careless riding in the Cup where he made at least $55,000 received a $20,000 fine and short suspension.
Blake Shinn’s “mid-level” careless riding landed him no fine and a short suspension. His total winnings for the day were at least $17,825.
*almost all horses bleed from the lungs when being raced to varying degrees.
**unknown horse pictured
OUTSIDE THE TRACK
Nup to the Cup private parties, public events, workplace activities, luncheons and more took place across the country. Each year we see more individuals, organisations and businesses getting on board. Whether they come to this important movement initially out of concern for the horses, gambling harm, increased domestic violence or economic disparity (something the impacts of the floodwall could not have made any clearer), all help to educate on the other associated issues.
Our own original Nup to the Cup / Farshans on the Field event opposite the Melbourne Cup Carnival of Cruelty was a bit hectic, but rain, hail, gale force winds and bitterly cold temperatures couldn’t keep some of you away. Huge love and thanks to all those who braved the extreme weather to join us. You truly deserve a NupCup trophy. It is in these moments that we bond even closer in our mutual desire and dedication towards our long term goal of ending horse racing cruelty. If you didn’t brave the weather, no judgement – it was challenging that’s for sure.
Extra special thanks Tenfingerz and artist Sebastian Berto of Farshans on the Field, and to all the CPR volunteers for their help in the lead up to and on the day. You are all AMAZING. And to our satellite team in New Zealand for running their CPRNZ protest in Auckland.
MASSIVE love and gratitude also to the genrous businesses, individuals and organisations who ran fundraisers for us at CPR and other animal organisation. Also HUGE thanks to those who donated funds to our campaign efforts and/or food to our own Nup to the Cup event and raffle. Red Sparrow Pizza, Serotonin Eatery, Vegan Perfection, Goodwill Wine, Vegan Style, Wombat Cafe, Vegan Grocery Store, Transformative Therapy, Mt Nebo Railway Carriage and Chalet, Bunnings Warehouse, Natio Australia, Melbourne Hunt Saboteurs, Goje, Brother Bon, Woking Amazing, Terry Daktyl, Teveton Centre, Free The Hounds, Little Oak Sanctuary, Free Spirits Farm Sanctuary, Canine Cup, Seeds of Life, Vegie Tribe, The Owl and Pussy Cat, Union Kiosk, Project Fresh Start, Shift Eatery The V Spot and the many workplaces who hosted private inhouse events.
To anyone around the country who ran their own #NuptotheCup event, no matter how big or small, please don’t forget to upload your images here for us all to see.
DINOSAUR DASH CUP EVE ACTION
On the eve of the Melbourne Cup, dinosaurs converged on Flemington as PETA and CPR teamed up to stage a t-rex race.
Running (and sometimes stumbling) toward a giant banner that read “Finish The Cruel, Prehistoric Melbourne Cup Now”, activists donned inflatable Tyrannosaurus rex costumes and carried signs reading: “Horse Racing Is Prehistoric”. The entertaining event was fun, but the message was serious: cruel and archaic horse racing should be relegated to pre-history.
The stunt attracted wide-spread media, including this SBS article.
Check out our video of the race here.
PROTESTS AGAINST HORSE RACING RUN FROM EAST TO WEST COAST
Commencing with the Caulfield Cup, CPR continued our protests outside Derby Day, the Melbourne Cup Eve Parade, and on Cup Day itself outside Flemington VIC, Ascot WA, and Eagle Farm QLD (alongside Animal Liberation QLD, Brisbane Animal Save and Coast to Coast Animal Friends). ALSA also gathered outside Morphettville, SA.
The Melbourne Cup Eve parade was a dismal affair that we very successfully disrupted. All other protests were effective in ensuring all attendees knew exactly what it was they were about to support. The shame was evident on many faces before they even entered the gates.
Thank you to all the groups and individuals who came together to ensure we made our voices heard for the horses.
A SUCCESSFUL NUP TO THE CUP LAUNCH
The event to launch our Nup to the Cup campaign for 2022 was a huge success. We were thrilled to see so many friendly faces, some familiar and some new.
We launched our brand new Nup to the Cup song, viewed the artwork of our collaborator Anthony Breslin (available here), ate delicious food and danced the night away with DJ Shimmy Barnes. Huge love and thanks to everyone who came along, to the wonderful venue staff at The Gertrude Hotel, the DJ and band, our volunteers and artist Anthony Breslin, all who collectively ensured we kicked of this years extra special #nuptothecup campaign with a BANG! For more images of a night well spent, click here.
AMBIVALENCE TOWARDS HORSE RACING
“In recent years, though, the meaning of the race has changed in people’s minds. It’s become controversial, associated with things people don’t want to be associated with, like animal cruelty, gambling problems and wealth disparity.”
In case you missed it! Click on the article below.
FASHION STANDING WITH HORSES
We are very proud to join our friends at Collective Fashion Justice in their Fashion Standing With Horses campaign to move fashion beyond cruelty.
TAKE ACTION in two EASY steps
1. Head to their website here and fill in your details to send a pre-made (or personalised) email to MYER, a fashion department store and primary sponsor of the Melbourne Cup.
2. Share the campaign with your friends via email and socials.
FASCINATURE LAPEL PINS AND HEAD PIECES STILL AVAILABLE
Whilst our Nup to the Cup events may be over for this year, Fascinature lapel pin and head pieces can of course be worn for any occasion.
We’d like to send our deepest gratitude to Janet Mills for creating this beautful concept and hand-making all wearable protest and remembrance pieces, dedicated to each of the recently fallen on Melbourne Cup Day.
Fascinature head pieces available here.
Fascinature Lapel Pins available here.
Featured: The Cliffsofmoher Lapel Pin #3
The Cliffsofmoher was killed in the 2018 Melbourne Cup. He suffered a broken shoulder directly in front of the crowd where he was euthanised behind the green screen. He was born in Ireland and was raced between there and England fifteen times before being moved to Australia for the Spring Carnival where his third race was his last. Being the seventh horse to die at the Cup in seven years, his death marked what we observed to be a huge shift in public sentiment towards horse racing. He was four years old
Featured: Anthony Van Dyck #4 head piece
Anthony Van Dyck was also born in Ireland and raced in the big money spinners across Ireland, England, America and Hong Kong before being transported to Australia in 2020 – his owners chasing a Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup win. In the Melbourne Cup he suffered a fractured fetlock that was clearly catastrophic by the way his hoof flapped in the opposite direction, yet his suffering was delayed to remove him from the course before euthanasia in what CPR believes to be an attempt to avoid further bad PR for the country’s biggest race. An equine vet of 50 years provided a statement to CPR in which he said “It is apparent Anthony Van Dyck suffered a race induced catastrophic skeletal injury associated with extreme pain and suffering. The usual humane response would have been to euthanase the stallion, there and then, on the track, without inflicting any further pain transporting him to a new location. It is alleged this was not done despite the stallion being ‘unfit to load’. It is claimed Anthony Van Dyck was loaded and transported. The ethical nature of this decision needs investigating as a possible violation of animal welfare”. He was four years old.
Thank you for reading and remember… speak up, always!
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Thank you to all of our supporters who have donated recently. It is much appreciated and allows us to continue working towards justice for horses.
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I worked in the HQ of the Races this year and happy to report that VRC made a few false claims about their attendance numbers. Their attendance for Melbourne Cup day was actually only around 55,000 – 59,000. Not 73,000 as they falsely claimed