As we promised 2015 was our largest year yet. Here we will reflect on the year that was and all we did for racehorses – from demonstrations in every state of Australia, never before seen studies, controversial Television campaigns and everything in between – you can read about the biggest year in CPR campaigning below.
We kicked off New Year’s Day with a demonstration at the Perth Cup, highlighting the racing industry’s lack of a retirement plan for racehorses and the fact that many are sent to slaughter when no longer profitable.
A week after this, CPR was off to QLD to spread the same message at the Magic Millions alongside Animal Liberation Queensland.
The month of February as usual saw us preparing for the start of the cruel jumps racing season. In Australia, only Victoria and South Australia still hold jumps races – with them being illegal under animal cruelty laws in NSW and discontinued elsewhere.
February also saw us hold a demonstration at the Hobart Cup in Tasmania, educating race-goers on animal welfare concerns within the racing industry.
March saw the commencement of the jumps racing season, with dedicated CPR volunteers traveling around Victoria to document falls and deaths in this barbaric and little-supported section of the racing industry as part of our high-profile Ban Jumps Racing campaign.
“IT IS ARGUABLY THE MOST VISIBLE FORM OF VIOLENCE TO ANIMALS” – In March we also released our Proposal for the phasing out of the whip in Australian Thoroughbred Racing. We compiled this proposal with the purpose of summarising the substantial body of evidence against whip use in Australian Thoroughbred Racing. To download a copy of the proposal please visit our website:http://bit.ly/1DRVn10. To coincide with the release of our proposal, CPR met with Racing Victoria to discuss the proposal with the intention of working collaboratively towards reforming the current whip rules.
MAJOR SPONSOR OF JUMPS RACING PULLS OUT: Yalumba the major sponsor of Oakbank Racing Club announced in March that they ended their sponsorship after CPR had been targeting them for a number of years. This was a fantastic outcome and just shows that persistence pays! This was welcome news heading into the Oakbank Carnival where as usual CPR held two demonstrations on the main race days.
Later in March we attended the Golden Slipper and for a very modest turn out, CPR certainly ruffled a few feathers at the Golden Slipper. Campaign Director, Elio Celotto upon arriving by train at Rosehill Station was allegedly assaulted by Australian Turf Club (ATC) security and has filed a report with police. For the next two hours, police, ATC security and CPR were in constant negotiations over where and how the protest should take place. The ATC mounted division decided to block the protest with their 4 horses but after further negotiations with the police sergeant in charge, they were told to move on. When we thought all the drama was over a lone supporter was standing just outside the entrance when she was approached by the head of security from inside the train where all the remaining protestors were about to depart. Campaign Director, Elio Celotto then exited the train and ran to assist as the protester was being taken by the arm into the racetrack grounds. Seconds after entering the grounds, he was knocked to the ground by ATC security and hit his head on the pavement. He was then charged by police for trespass and faced court. Later that night, Elio was taken to hospital with mild concussion. When the day in court arrived it was revealed the girl who was being taken inside the track was not a supporter at all, she was an undercover security guard who came to our demonstration to try and get information to then pass on to the racing industry. We knew it was only a matter of time before this happened!
We were thrilled to hear that the Animal Justice Party secured a senate seat in the NSW state election. A huge win for animals!
CPR headed to Warrnambool to protest the Warrnambool Carnival, which is known for cruel jumps races to be the highlight. Despite these events not being supported by many in Warrnambool and the majority of Victorians, it still goes ahead year after year.
We upped the pressure this jumps racing season and held a demonstration in Ballarat and continued to monitor races.
“MYER: Not my store” campaign was launched and demonstrations were held around the country to express our disgust that Myer continue to support races with whips. While they may not have the power to change the rules of racing, they certainly do have the power to decide who and what they sponsor and could lead by example by rejecting the most public display of animal cruelty – the flogging of horses with whips.
We upped the pressure this jumps racing season and held a demonstration in Bendigo and continued to monitor races.
ONE DEATH. EVERY. THREE. DAYS. On the 1st August known as the “Horse’s Birthday” in the racing industry, and the official commencement of the breeding season, CPR were remembering the horses who didn’t make it out of the racing industry alive. We also released our second deathwatch report which included 116 horses who have died from 1 August 2014 – 31 July 2015.
At the end of August we were off to Morphettville for our last jumps racing demonstration for the year. This one was especially important to us, as the South Australian Jockey Club (SAJC) had previously announced they wanted to scrap jumps racing – labelling it ‘bad for business’ and we knew the SA government were in the process of setting up a committee to determine its fate.
In September the South Australian Government appointed a Parliamentary Select Committee to determine whether jumps racing should continue in SA.
SPRING RACING CAMPAIGN: Our 2014 “Is the party really worth it?” 22 metre long billboard and mobile billboards put racehorse welfare in the spotlight. After brain storming for Spring Racing we came up with a number of exciting campaign ideas. Our initial idea of an outdoor advertising campaign including multiple Billboards and Taxi Backs across Melbourne was rejected after extensive negotiations. Approval was given from the Outdoor Advertising Association but was then rejected by the owners of the billboard sites and taxi companies. However this hurdle did not stop us and we got to work developing a new campaign – a Television Campaign! The TV campaign which aired for 2 weeks had a fantastic response with its aim to educate the wider public about the lack of a retirement plan in the racing industry. You can view our TV advert here
MARCH FOR THE HORSES: To coincide with the Animal Activist Forum held in Melbourne in 2015 we joined with Melbourne Against Horse-Drawn Carriages to hold a March for the Horses. With almost 100 people in attendance, our voices were certainly heard as we expressed our concerns about racehorses and horse-drawn carriages in the Melbourne CBD.
As usual we held a demonstration at the Cox Plate Day and although all horses appeared to survive unscathed there were sadder scenes at Randwick in Sydney, with Kasiano Lad “breaking down’ in race 4 and being euthanised. He appeared to be tiring and crashed to the ground just before the winning post. Kasiano Lad was 5 years old, began racing as a 2 year old, and had 10 starts. The incident happened right in front of the crowd, causing silence among the shocked racegoers. His jockey only narrowly escaped injury.
During November, we kept up the pressure at Spring Racing Carnival events, holding demonstrations at Derby Day, the Melbourne Cup Parade and the Melbourne Cup – highlighting animal welfare issues within the industry and racehorse slaughter.
Melbourne Cup saw 10 year old gelding Red Cadeaux being taken to Werribee Veterinary Hospital following an injury in the running of the Melbourne Cup. Although at first it appeared Red Cadeaux would survive his injuries and retire sadly about 10 days following Melbourne Cup he was euthanised following complications. It was reported by Racing Victoria that he lost blood flow to the leg he injured. His death meant that in the past three years, three horses have died from injuries following the Melbourne Cup. Red Cadeaux wasn’t the only victim on Melbourne Cup day with two other horses racing on other Australian racetracks sustaining injuries that took their lives – ‘Modrich’ fractured his pelvis at Kembla Grange (NSW) and ‘Miss Written’ suffered an injury to her off side hock at Alice Springs (NT).
On top of our presence across the four events in Melbourne, counter rallies were held by supporting groups in NSW and WA, plus an alternative to the Melbourne Cup fundraiser in every state of Australia on Melbourne Cup Day.
It was reported that the 2015 Spring Carnival attendance was the lowest it has been since 16 years ago in 1999. It is entirely possible that the ever-mounting evidence of cruelty and the lack of retirement plan in the racing industry is deterring the community from attending.
New Whip Rules were implemented in December. Racing Australia has removed the distinction between forehand and backhand whip strikes to ensure there is a limit of five strikes regardless of method prior to the 100 metres. There will also be stronger penalties for those who breach the rules, including greater emphasis on suspension for serious breaches.
We wrapped up a massive year of campaigning in December with our annual Christmas party and fundraiser for 2015. This year we teamed up with the Animal Justice Party Victoria for a bigger, better event than ever. All funds raised were split between the two organisations to help fund 2016 campaigns.
THANK YOU to all of our followers, donors and volunteers. We couldn’t have had such a huge year without you. Join us in 2016