Spring Carnival sponsors need to hear from you! Take action here.
This is why.
Just two weeks prior to the 7:30 investigation exposing the horrific slaughter of thousands of racehorses that sent shock-waves through most Australians, CPR had been in contact with several companies and organisations in regards to their sponsorship of/affiliation with the Melbourne Spring Carnival. In expressing our concerns over this we highlighted the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) these companies and organisations professed to embrace. Sadly, in many instances, horse racing flies in the face of these responsibilities. It is as if they have conveniently deviated from their CSR for the almighty dollar and the brand exposure to be gotten from associating with horse racing.
However, it’s not just animal cruelty that makes a mockery of their CSR commitments. Despite these commitments having an underlying theme of making the world a better place and helping to create stronger communities, it appears that this is conveniently ignored too, considering gambling (that, along with animal cruelty, horse racing is predicated on) has serious consequences for the community.
There are many companies and organisations involved with the Melbourne Spring Carnival and we didn’t have the time to contact all of them. Also, getting in contact with the relevant people proved to be harder than anticipated, thanks to hierarchical structures and lack of information regarding contact details on homepages and when making telephone contact.
We did, however, manage to contact twelve, including some of the major sponsors. In some cases we were ignored so a follow up e-mail was sent but we continued to be ignored in some of these cases.
The responses we did receive were disappointing but not surprising. In fact, some were nothing but industry spin, the usual rhetoric.
Lion (of which Furphy is a brand), after much chasing up, responded claiming the following:
- A focus on the welfare of thoroughbreds before, during and after racing is a priority for the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), the Victorian racing industry and Lion as a Major Partner and Sponsor.
- The Club works closely with all sectors of the industry, as there is a clear need to continue the increased focus into horse safety and welfare.
- The VRC is confident that those involved in racing at Flemington hold the welfare of horses as paramount and works closely with the racing industry body, Racing Victoria, to understand and address these areas.
- Equine welfare is one of the Club’s main priorities and the Club is currently looking at ways to optimise facilities on course for horses to train, race and recover.
- Racing Victoria and the racing industry as a whole are committed to the welfare of horses and have a long-term strategic plan which includes ongoing consultation with industry stakeholders and animal care and protection groups.
You couldn’t make this stuff up!
Asahi (of which Schweppes is a brand) responded with something in the same vein, stating that Racing Victoria and the racing industry as a whole are committed to the welfare of horses and have a long term strategic plan which includes ongoing consultation with industry stakeholders and animal care and protection groups.
Kennedy Luxury Group, after much chasing up, came back with a response that very much blew us off. They said that such issues are a matter for the sports governing body and to this end they recommend we direct our enquiry to Racing Victoria Limited (RVL) or the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), a fine example of passing the buck and not taking responsibility for their own complicity.
Sofitel Melbourne on Collins stated they acknowledge our concerns and appreciate the explanations we gave. They also said they regularly review their various sponsorship agreements and take many factors in to consideration and will take our “views” in to consideration during their next review.
A follow up e-mail asking when their next review will be has been met with silence.
We also approached a few NPOs involved with the Melbourne Spring Carnival including DrinkWise, whose primary focus is to help bring about a healthier and safer drinking culture in Australia, and Very Special Kids, an organisation assisting families with children with life-threatening conditions.
DrinkWise promptly responded and we decided not to pursue this further as it may come off as irresponsible when they are encouraging responsible drinking.
Very Special Kids required a second e-mail to garner a response. They eventually responded by saying the opportunity to be a Victoria Racing Club 2019 charity partner is providing them with an amazing opportunity to raise much-needed funds for their vital work, especially as they are 80 per cent self-funded. They said they take their corporate partnerships very seriously and factor in all aspects when making these decisions.
They also claimed they know that the Club works closely with all sectors of the industry as there is a clear need to continue the increased focus into horse safety and welfare. They said they were pleased to see that the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry continues to lead the way in equine welfare with $350 million spent annually on the training, care and welfare of racehorses in Victoria, equating to more than $40,000 per horse per annum.
They ended their message by stating Victoria’s race day fatality rate is among the lowest in world racing.
Bumble, who originally responded with something completely unrelated demonstrating they had not even bothered to consider the contents of our email, have since (according to the SMH) donated $130k to Racing Victoria’s Off the Track program. Horse racing is an industry that generates $19 billion in betting turnover alone. It must be asked, why Bumble are donating large sums to an industry built on horse exploitation and suffering when there are countless not-for-profit organisations across Australia in desperate need for funds to actually end animal abuse and address other important social justice issues?
Unfortunately the City of Melbourne are also official supporters of the Melbourne Cup. Each year you will even see the Lord Mayor join the Cup Eve parade. We have only just sent emails to each councilor and we look forward to their response. Randwick (NSW) Councillor Philipa Veitch will be putting forward a motion for the Randwick Council to express their strong condemnation to cruel horse racing practices and to cease all further involvement in racing events at Royal Randwick racecourse. We would like and expect the City of Melbourne to follow suit, including the Lord Mayor Sally Capp withdrawing from the Cup Eve parade.
Lexus, Myer, Seppelt, and Pallion (ABC Refinery, who makes the Melbourne Cup trophy, is the refining division of Pallion) have not taken the courtesy of responding despite two attempts at reaching them. Grinders Coffee responded after the 7:30 investigation aired expressing interest in talking to us. We look forward to speaking with them.
As you can see, these companies need to hear from you so that they are made aware that you do not accept their support of this animal abuse industry. Please head on over to our TAKE ACTION page, where in just a few seconds you can easily get in touch with these companies and express your concern.
Note: It is important to reiterate that our emails detailing the inherent cruelty and systemic slaughter of horses in the racing industry were sent out to these companies and organisations prior to the damning 7:30 investigation. The Sydney Morning Herald has since reported ‘Major Sponsors Pressure Horse Racing Bodies Over Horrific Footage’ (read here). Sadly, they are still refusing to withdraw their support. They need to hear from you. Take action here!