7 facts about horse racing that will change how you feel about the Melbourne Cup forever

Horse racing struggles to maintain relevance throughout the year. Some people don’t even realise it runs outside of Spring. If you enjoy a flutter and a drink or two at the races, these hidden facts will make you reconsider.

1. Thousands of failed racehorses are slaughtered each year
Nothing says “we love our horses” like sending thousands of them to slaughter every year, right? While you’ll be hard-pressed to find a Melbourne Cup winner at your local knackery or slaughterhouse, there are 13,000 racehorses exiting the racing industry every year… And the majority of them aren’t the winners you see on the TV or in the newspaper during Spring Carnival.

In Australia there are multiple knackeries in every state that process failed and former racehorses for pet food, as well as two abattoirs that kill horses for human consumption in South Australia and Queensland. Some of their ‘horse steaks’ are served in a select few Melbourne restaurants, but the majority are exported to European countries like Belgium and France.

2. Racehorses die on the track … regularly
Unless you live ~under a rock~ you will have heard about the four Melbourne Cup deaths over the past three years. The industry would have you believe these are ‘freak accidents’ and ‘rarely occur’, right? Wrong.

One racehorse dies less than every 3 days in Australia. 116 racehorses have died since last year’s Melbourne Cup on 3 November 2015. They most commonly suffer catastrophic limb injuries, cardiac arrests and massive bleeds causing them to collapse and die. We compile them all in our deathwatch report, which you can read here.

3. Studies have shown whips hurt
One of the most public displays of animal cruelty.

While the RSPCA would be quick to charge you for whipping your dog, cat or rabbit – whipping in horse racing is exempt from this rule, even normalised and celebrated, despite the fact studies have shown whips hurt racehorses.

4. Jumps racing is 20 times more dangerous than flat racing
Jumping. While. Racing. It’s as ridiculous as it sounds.

While there are no jumps races at official Spring Carnival events anymore, they do run throughout the season. Jumps racing is 20 times more dangerous than flat racing and kills multiple horses every single year when they fall on their heads and necks, or break their limbs.

Paying for a ticket to the races supports this.

5. Less ‘valuable’ foals are discarded
‘Nanny’ mares are kept in foal in order to have a milk supply, and when a prized broodmare dies giving birth to a thoroughbred foal, the nanny mare will step in to raise the thoroughbred ‘foster’ foal, and their own biological foal is discarded.

They are the bobby calves of the racing industry. And it’s a practice barely spoken about, but you can read the story of one lucky survivor here.

6. Some participants use drugs
With so much money at stake in horse racing, it’s no wonder that some owners and trainers resort to using drugs on their racehorses.

The recent cobalt saga with numerous high profile trainers is just one example of using stimulants to push horses beyond their physical capabilities.

7. Horses are raced before their bodies are mature enough
A famous trainer once said “Two year olds, as we know, can be here today and gone tomorrow.”

It’s the perfect way to sum up 2-year-old racing. What good can come of racing young horses well before they are skeletally mature? And who would want to support that?

Instead of going to the races, on Melbourne Cup Day take part in something to help racehorses. Find out how here.

5 reasons to never place a bet again

Going to the races might seem like harmless fun. But hidden behind the glitz of racing are hundreds of dead racehorses. This is the story of just 5 of them.

1. Hazy Blur
Hazy Blur died only days ago. You won’t have heard about her death because it wasn’t in a big race like the Melbourne Cup. She broke her fetlock 500 metres from the finish line. She is just one of the racehorses that dies less than every 3 days on Australian racetracks.

2. Secret Stealth
Secret Stealth was 10. Years. Old. He won over $179,000 for his owners. But while racing in Cairns just a few months ago, he fractured his shoulder and was killed.

3. Da Vine Warrior
Da Vine Warrior was only 3 years old when his life ended. In his short career he had already been brought over from New Zealand to race in Australia, commenced on the track at just 2 years old in NSW when he was not skeletally mature. He collapsed and died of a cardiac arrest on a South Australian racetrack in September this year.

4. Caprivi Strip
While crowds were cheering on a winner at this year’s Cox Plate, on the same day at a different racetrack, Caprivi Strip suffered a massive internal bleed and died. Right then and there on the course.

5. Arwoc
Arwoc died in a jumps race at the start of Spring Carnival. He fell and broke his leg at a country racetrack far from the gates of Flemington. He was the 40th horse to die in jumps racing since Racing Victoria backflipped on their decision to end the sport in 2010.

While no official Spring Carnival events hold jumps races anymore, you can bet your ticket to the Melbourne Cup is paying for the continuation of this cruel ‘sport’ that’s banned on animal cruelty grounds in other states.

Glamorous, right?

These horses are just 5 of 116 racehorses who have died on Australian racetracks since the 2015 Melbourne Cup. And they are five good reasons to never place a bet again.

Wondering what you can do on Melbourne Cup Day without funding this cruelty? We’ve got you covered.

Our newest campaign

You might have seen our newest campaign – street art across Melbourne. Our design is stenciled on with spray chalk, so it’s a totally legal way of sending a strong message. Get in touch with us via Facebook or email if you’d like to get involved.

While crowds were cheering on a winner at the Caulfield Cup on Saturday, a lesser-known horse at a lesser-known track in South Australia collapsed and died after rupturing a major blood vessel.

RIP Caprivi Strip. Is the party really worth it?

New South Wales to expand racehorse welfare program

After years of campaigning, we finally have a breakthrough in our fight to end the slaughter of racehorses!

On September 7, Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys announced that every racehorse deserves a home, and committed to funding a retirement plan for racehorses. The fund will initially start off with a $2 million investment (or 1% of prizemoney) for retirement and rehabilitation of racehorses in NSW.

This is a direct result of our high profile wastage campaign, demanding that horses are looked after for their entire lives, not just while they are racing.

“Racing NSW has committed to a multi-million-dollar expansion of its racehorse welfare program as it moves to stave off pressure from an increasingly influential animal rights lobby.”

-Chris Roots, Sydney Morning Herald

Peter V’landys clearly understands that we at CPR are committed to changing the world for racehorses, and we won’t stop until we achieve our goals.

“The youth of today care more about animal welfare than any other generation and we need to keep up with their expectations… Every horse in NSW will be re-homed, whether it has raced or not.”

-Peter V’landys, CEO Racing NSW

Sign the petition to send a message to the racing administrator and minister in your state.

New South Wales bans greyhound racing

HUGE NEWS: New South Wales will be the first state in Australia to ban greyhound racing. This is a massive win for animals.

New South Wales is progressive on jumps racing with it being illegal under animal cruelty laws and now progressive on dog racing. We hope to see other states follow!

Read more here

Myer sponsored cruelty

CPR calls on the general public to express their disgust towards Myer’s unwillingness to sponsor a whip free race and continue to be a major partner of a sport that physically and psychologically abuses horses through the use of the whip. Take action today

Making a killing

Tomorrow night (Monday Feb 16), “Making A Killing” will be aired on Four Corners (ABC1 at 8.30 pm). This chilling exposé is set to rock the greyhound racing industry, with numerous trainers already being suspended and tracks shut down upon the footage being shown to authorities.

If you care about racing greyhounds and want to create a kinder world for them, then encourage everybody you know to tune in tomorrow night. Then, take action (we will share how after the footage goes to air).

Pictured: Sarah, an ex-racing greyhound who was adopted by one of our kind volunteers. Sadly, not all are as lucky as her.

A picture speaks a thousands words

This photo has been sent in by a few supporters and we felt it was important to share. This is a truck leaving the Echuca sale yards yesterday – destined for an abattoir that kills horses for human consumption. Eating horses is legal and happens in some parts of Australia, however the majority of the steaks produced here are sent overseas to countries such as Belgium and France.

While we can’t tell the breeds of horses from this photo – there were a lot of ex-racehorses at the sale yards yesterday (both Standardbreds and Thoroughbreds) which we know ended up being sold to meat buyers.

This devastating scene serves as a harsh reminder of the desperate need for breeding reform in all areas of the equine industry, as well as a mandatory retirement plan for horses exiting the racing industry.

Rest in peace to these innocent horses. You can take action for those next in line here.