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SPORT

Nov 4, 2014

Yes, I hate the Cup -- and for damn good reason

The horseracing industry is cruel, exploitative, unsafe and reliant on organised crime and rentseeking. It shouldn't be celebrated.

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As part of our 15th birthday celebrations, we’ve trawled through the archives to bring you some of the best, weirdest and most salacious articles published on Crikey since our launch on February 14, 2000.

*This article was originally published on November 4, 2014.

 

One of the most painful aspects of the Melbourne Cup is its intensely formulaic nature. Painful, that is, for humans; if you’re one of the “equine athletes” (yes, the racing industry actually uses that term) forced to take part in being flogged around a paddock for the pleasure of 100,000 drunken halfwits, there’s an altogether more immediate pain involved. But for those of us merely forced to endure it from afar, what sticks in the craw most is the kabuki-like repetition of proceedings every year, with only the beasts’ names being altered. Otherwise, it’s the same coverage, the same relentless banality, the same clichés, the same stock photos of young women (sorry — “fillies”) wearing the same silly frocks and shit in their hair, the same lame jokes, the same post-race pictures of racegoers lying passed out, vomit-spattered formal wear akimbo, the same touching story of how Jockey X overcame tragedy/scepticism/something-or-other mildly inconvenient to achieve victory.

But one way in which the annual Cup ritual is changing is that, slowly, the wretchedly cruel nature of horseracing is receiving more and more coverage. My own conversion on this was as a Year 8 student crowded into what was called “the video room” at high school to watch the 1981 Cup, at which hot favourite Dulcify came last (how we easily amused 13-year-olds laughed at that Tall Poppy moment) and was afterward euthanased with a broken pelvis. While the media could only discuss the winner, I could only contemplate the fate of the animal killed during the course of such a celebrated event. In the ensuing decades, the death toll from horseracing has become ever more apparent and subject to public comment, until the point where a token article on the toll of horseracing is now part of most Cup coverage. There’s also the infliction of pain on horses via whipping, an action that would see the perpetrator fined or jailed off a racecourse but not merely approved of but encouraged on one. Racing fans dismiss such concerns as needless, declaring that horses are “creatures of flight” and “love to run”, an argument I’m happy to accept the moment they produce a signed consent form from a horse.

Then again, as a meateater, I’m hardly in a position to parade my hoity-toity chattering class latte-sipping inner-city doesn’t-enjoy-a-beer-and-a-punt-on-the-geegees superior morality. I don’t need to eat meat, but do it anyway, and thus help fund the killing of and cruelty to animals purely for my own pleasure. Thus, I can really have no issue with horseracing fans and punters funding the killing of and cruelty to horses purely for their own pleasure, at least not with any consistency, although even my most debauched meals don’t feature drunken corporate executives ending their careers with a grope or dancefloor-sprawl in a Flemington marquee.

In any event, if the wanton cruelty of horseracing doesn’t turn you off, its appalling rentseeking should. For all the image of glitz and high… well, medium-fashion, the horseracing industry is massively subsidised by taxpayers, usually by state governments, to the tune of millions of dollars. In 2012, the supposedly cash-strapped Newman government in Queensland, while slashing funding for other government services, gave a remarkable $110 million to racing in Queensland. Despite the NSW government handing millions of dollars to the NSW racing industry, the latter still complained about not getting enough money — and it looks as though the Baird government will come through, with an $80-100 million windfall for the industry. The Victorian Auditor-General last year examined a program that had given the racing industry in Victoria $40 million and found it riddled with administrative problems, with no one having the faintest idea whether the money was having any benefit. The Victorian Racing Club in its annual report proudly refers to support from the state government, but good luck finding the level of support quantified in its financial statements — although its 2010 annual report mentioned a glamorous $60 million in handouts to the industry.

Now, taxpayer support for an industry that systematically inflicts cruelty on animals is one thing, but where would horseracing be without organised crime? The racing industry is crucial to the ability of criminals to launder money via owning racehorses — indeed, the federal money laundering agency AUSTRAC last year provided a step-by-step diagrammatic guide to how organised crime uses the horseracing industry to launder the proceeds of crime. And that’s before you get to the common problem of racefixing.

Oh, but wait, like a drunken racegoer throwing up on the bus home, there’s more. Horseracing doesn’t just kill horses, but jockeys as well: the recent death of apprentice Caitlin Forrest in South Australia was the fourth fatality in just over a year, all female jockeys. In fact, horseracing is one of the most lethal workplaces per employee in Australia, a 2009 study found, second only to ocean fishing. Exploitation of jockeys and other members of the industry workforce is also rife, fueled by the popularity of the industry with people who enjoy working with horses.

So, let’s chow down on a listeria-ridden chicken drumstick and raise a glass of carbonated cat’s piss to the cruel, unsafe, rentseeking industry reliant on organised crime and exploitation of its workers that stops a nation. Hope you pick a winner.

Bernard Keane — Politics Editor

Bernard Keane

Politics Editor

Bernard Keane is Crikey’s political editor. Before that he was Crikey’s Canberra press gallery correspondent, covering politics, national security and economics.

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73 comments

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73 thoughts on “Yes, I hate the Cup — and for damn good reason

  1. AR

    Oh and apart from the animal cruelty, waddabout the cruelty to the gamblers and their dependents – esp given the boofhead in the following article.

  2. AR

    QUite a reaction and none of the usual rabble-soothing trolls (hi OneHand!) tried to derail.
    Dr Lew, re footy thugs being put down, we can only hope.

  3. Venise Alstergren

    DR LEWIS RASSABY: Dream on. Sigh!

  4. Venise Alstergren

    PETERPAN: You ignore the obvious difference between humans racing and horses racing. Humans volunteer, horses don’t have that option.

  5. Peterpan

    Do not compare a horse to a person. Go to an event like the Noosa triathlon or Port Macquarie triathlon if you want to see 120 kg individuals put them themselves thru 10- 12 hours of effort – for no prizemoney. Lucky horses gets pretty good attention – the athletes in the three stage marathons only get a bloody good soaking of sun and water.Yes yes very upsetting. All the racegoers should really be home brewing coconut milk lattes and tending to fertilizer free vegetables.

  6. dieter corzelius

    No I don’t think its acceptable to claim that they run their horses to death and Im not sure where that information comes from ,yes there is abuse and it should be stopped but its not just horse racing although this is the topic.The only way to stop horses going to the knackery is to stop the breading of horses entirely.I do understand your point I just don’t agree with you saying its entirely currupt and those who enjoy it are all drunkards. Its like saying all journalist would rather a good story than the truth .I think we will have to agree to disagree on this.

  7. Brendan

    I honestly hope that you don’t believe the treatment of horses is a binary question of either racing them or letting them starve in a paddock, even though that’s what it seems as though you’re getting at. Do you think it’s acceptable for the racing industry to run their horses to death and send all those who don’t make the cut to the knackery as long as they treat the prime runners well in their off-season?

  8. dieter corzelius

    Brendan I they do die of boredom or neglect in a paddock we own a couple of horses and if they are just fed and watered they do stress. The horses follow people around and enjoy the company but maybe you are the horse mind reader I can only judge it from what I see. I also know racing is not always run clean I am neither naive or stupid . Horses actually do like to run they often do just that in the paddock if they have room but sadly a lot dont have the freedom to do that. Personally I would rather see a horse very well looked after than left to quietly die in paddocks unattended. I have seen horses with rugs on when is 35c in the sun with no shade half starving.Now I have not actually got this from the horses mouth but at a guess I would call that cruel.Two sides to every coin.

  9. Brendan

    dieter – at least horses don’t die of boredom. Or do you have it on good terms that horses prefer a glorious death on the race track to living quietly on a paddock, too? It’s amazing how racing apologists seem to be able to read horses’ minds. Horses love to run and don’t mind being whipped – yeah, sure. Their refusal to enter a stall is just pre-race jitters, too. Their lips say no but their eyes say yes yes yes, etc.

  10. Pamela

    Why was that large Australian Flag being waved at the races anyway?
    Some nationalist zealot scaring the horses for no good reason?

  11. dieter corzelius

    Did anyone actually see the race there are rules on how often a jockey can use the whip. The rider of the winner this year barely used the whip in the home straight, he waved it out beside the horse and made very little contact. If you want to see real cruelty to horses go look at horses stuck in a paddock will poor feed wearing winter rugs hail rain or shine. Feet cracked coats mangy basically un-cared for by their once loving owners. You dont see the RSPCA removing horses from well run horse racing farms but they are kept busy with those poor animals elsewhere,The horses in these paddocks also have no stimulation and you can they are bored .

  12. GideonPolya

    A lot of racing is dirty but the Melbourne Cup may be “clean”. However the handicapping of the best horses with up to circa 60 kg added weight means that it is no longer the formerly simple matter of determining “which horse runs fastest” (an investigation of which would at least have some scientific merit).

    And with only 2 out of 22 starters being Australian on Tuesday the Melbourne Cup is no longer even a race to determine “which variously handicapped Australian horse runs fastest”.

    Here is a personal testament to the dodginess of horse racing and why it is a mug’s game. Years ago I took a distinguished foreign dignitary to the trots in Melbourne . He had helped put himself through university arts-law in pre-Whitlam Australia by playing poker and also betting intelligently at the races. He recognized the name of a bookmaker he knew from the old days and sent one of his sons around the track to say hallo. The bookie sent back a message that he was tied up with interstate bets but offered 6 tips for 6 races – they ALL came first.

    Of course gambling in general obscenely exploits an evolutionarily-selected behaviour to take risks (stay in the cave and you starve). In that sense it is like using semi-naked women to sell cars in exploiting evolutionarily-selected behaviour.

    And of course wasting half a day on the Melbourne Cup costs Australia’s $1.5 trillion GDP an estimated 0.5 x $1,500 billion/365.25 days = $2 billion, money that could have been spent on stopping Ebola abroad or addressing the carnage at home of 80,000 Australians dying preventably each year (see Gideon Polya, “Australian State Terrorism – Zero Australian Terrorism Deaths, 1 Million Preventable Australian Deaths & 10 Million Muslims Killed By US Alliance Since 9-11”, Countercurrents, 23 September, 2014: http://www.countercurrents.org/polya230914.htm ).

  13. Dr Lewis Rassaby

    Weird! There I was thinking that vets were trained in fracture management. Can we look forward to heavily insured footballers being “put down” (murdered) for fractures sustained on the field?

  14. Dr Lewis Rassaby

    Don’t vets spend a few years learning how to fix fractures? Maybe its the insurance payout.
    Can we expect to see heavily insured footballers put down for injuries sustained on the field?

  15. Dr Lewis Rassaby

    Don’t vets spend a good few years learning fracture management? Is it the insurance payout? Can we look forward to heavily insured footballers being “put down” for similar injuries?

  16. Dr Lewis Rassaby

    I think the interview with the boss vet was puzzling. Don’t vets spend at least five years studying fracture management? Is it the insurance payout? Can we look forward to heavily insured footballers being put down for injuries sustained on the field?

  17. peter bridle

    great article, thanks a lot

  18. puddleduck

    Well said, Bernard. I couldn’t agree more.
    Ghastly doesn’t begin to cover it – the cruelty, the pain, the death (human animal and non-human animal), along with the tacky, vulgar spectacle.
    I don’t care if people of all kinds want to desport themselves in a vulgar manner, but I do care that animals suffer for it.
    Let them canter around the paddock themselves (the human animals). Leave the poor horses out of it.

  19. Boston the Dog

    The ability of humans to amuse themselves by using animals that are unable to defend themselves, never ceases to amaze me. From racing frogs in the NT to racing horses in all States, humans use animals for their own entertainment and corruption.

    (Then there are the puppy farms and live exports…..)

    I was in Melbourne yesterday, not for the Cup but for work. I was watching the sheeple walking around the CBD obviously on their way to the Cup. Men sweating in suits with women wearing funny hats.

    If somebody had arrived from outer space and seen this spectacle they would laugh their heads off. Some of these ladies hats looked like road kill that had been parachuted onto the owners heads. If you saw these people then you would know just why the welfare of the horses simply doesn’t rate.

    The day has nothing to do with horses or their safety. It is about entertainment.

    Shame on us all.

    Nice one Bernard. Thanks.

  20. Bento

    Government funding necessary? Probably not. The rest is a matter of degrees.

    Every meat eating, leather shoe wearing, inner city native animal habitat destroying, designer cat or dog feeding, ultra selective animal rights advocate, should stop the unbalanced ranting and think for a minute about the human relationship with these particular animals, and why it exists as it does. You don’t have to like it. But you should understand it.

    That the relationship has been beneficial to both species is undeniable. Yes both. As you would all no doubt be fans of evolution, you might care to understand the science behind the success and survival of both species. At very important moments in our history, we have been quite reliant on each other for survival.

    Yes it’s a tragedy that any animal is mistreated. How many women are bashed and killed by their partners each year for goodness sake? Do we ban human relationships? Or killed on the roads? Do we ban driving? No, we seek to understand and limit the problems in something which we accept as a whole to be a good thing.

    I implore you to seek out a racing employee, and first ask them what they earn compared to you (most are below the poverty line) and how they simply love to be able to work with the animals. The people I have met treat the animals with all the care and dignity that you all seem to think only you possess.

    *I have no connection with the industry

  21. Vincent O'Donnell

    An even better read the morning after.

  22. Mike Smith

    Hard to believe they euthanased him with a pelvis, broken or otherwise, they usually shoot them.

  23. Honest Johnny

    Our office had a protest Melbourne Cup party. We ate our lunch, drank no grog, put Leunig’s “In a faraway paddock ….” picture up on the big screen (highly recommended), and went back to work.

  24. Itsarort

    I’m told by the experts in the business that there’s absolutely no way Admire Rakti would be run if he was known to be ‘unfit’- simply worth too much money in the long run… So I’ll retract my previous comments.

  25. Spica

    I couldn’t agree more Bernard, the whole industry is repellant, but did you really mean to say that the vomit-spattered formal wear adorning the prone reveller had it’s hands on it’s hips ?

  26. Itsarort

    Yes, the death of Dulcify is still the saddest event for me in horse racing (I certainly didn’t laugh, I had a cry), even after yesterday’s tragedies. But ‘ban horse racing’…? You might as well just ban breathing… However, proper scrutinising of the sport is long overdue. With Cavalryman and Sea Moon both being late scratchings, the pressure to run Admire Rakti when he may have been unfit verses having a 21 horse Melbourne Cup, could have seen the proper decision going against the horse – and heads should roll. And as far as people rolling around drunk, looking tacky and kitsch, it sure beats the hell out of running around and shooting each other…

  27. Brendan

    Humans are born to think, but there are still plenty out there that prefer not to.

  28. Wayne Carveth

    I’m surprised so many agreed with you Bernard. A footrunner died at the finish line in the City to Surf race this year but I didn’t hear of anyone wanting to abolish the race. Being hit with a riding crop is generally not cruel. Some horses don’t like it so they shy away or run off course. In that case their jockeys don’t hit them. I guess you haven’t been hit across the arse with a riding crop. Done by the right person it is exhilarating.

  29. oggy

    Tks Bernard I thave been underwhelmed by this bullsh.. for a long time now.

  30. klewso

    A day for self-indulgence.
    Admire Rakti’s death brought back memories of Rocket Racer’s.

  31. Ken Lambert

    Horses are actually born to run, and have an extraordinary CV system to do so, however I have to admit to agreeing with BK……amazing moment…

    The idea of handicapping is pecularly Oz….lead in the saddlebags of the better performer to bring it back to the field, rather than matching performers on a WFA basis.

    In the case of the unfortunate Japanese horse, loading on top weight and running it 2 miles has killed it.

    Be thankful that the latest technology in middle eastern camel racing is not available here yet….radio controlled robot jockeys with arm and whip driven by the trainer near the finish post ….there’s a new idea for the Waterhouses; young Tom could jam the frequencies on demand.

  32. Suzan Zibar

    Don’t bet on animal races. Never have. Never will. Am not impressed by the fashion or the shit in their hair. Not impressed by the “upper class” that sit on their fat arses making money off of animal torture.

    Not impressed by any of it at all.

    However, I am rather impressed with this article, oh, yes I am.

    Can you write about Steeple Chases and the Greyhound Racing Industry as well? Thanks.

  33. rubbersoul1991

    I boycotted watching horse racing a long time ago. I enjoyed a nice sit in the park this afternoon watching the birds.

  34. Steven Grant Haby

    And surely as we have ended the ‘age of entitlement’ and we have ‘lifters and leaners’ it is time for us to realise as has been put in various posts here and BK’s yarn that the race industry is a leech and needs to be dealt with forthwith.

    Sadly it might take more deaths (in full public view) of horses and maybe the odd jockey for the masses to see the light.

  35. Steven Grant Haby

    Well done BK another cracking story.

    I hate the Cup and all that it stands for and each year I write letters to the major papers about the stupidity of having a public holiday for a horse race at a suburban race track.

    One of my missives is in today’s (Tuesday) Age.

    SGH

  36. Dean Tregenza

    An excellent article with one missing element. The racing industry is also a key part of the corporate gambling machine that contributes to the suffering of many families who have a member with a gambling addiction.

  37. Jaybuoy

    its fascinatoring how a massive quadruped being mistreated by a silken clad pygmy became the sport of kings..

  38. Maisie

    Prescient article given the death today of the favourite, and Caulfield Cup Winner, Admire Rakti. It seems that it was all too much for the poor horse.

    I’ve never been particularly interested in horse racing, but have on occasion got together with friends for lunch and put my few dollars into a sweep. The publicity surrounding the cruelty of the sport, and this article will make me rethink even that in future years.

  39. John Allan

    Oops. 28 from 29!

  40. Liz Connor

    The whole history of humans and horses is shameful. Now that we no longer force them to suffer the turmoil, distress and violence of war, we pretend that we appreciate their beauty and grace by forcing the few who ‘succeed’ to take part in this disgusting display of over-consumption and narcissism.
    I’ll remember the two horses that gave their all today, as I still remember the beautiful mare who I heard being severely reproached on air for not coming out of the starting gate years ago. I was for once listening to the race on a long road trip (and I cannot hear even a moment of it ever since). Details retrieval is now a huge problem for me and I can’t find the mare’s name from Google, so I won’t remember the names of these two either. But I’ll remember them – her for saying ‘No!’ and these two for saying ‘Yes’ and paying for it with their lives.

  41. John Allan

    11 comments from 12 in support. Catherine seems to have other issues ….

  42. Ian Brown

    Thanks for this piece, Bernard – couldn’t agree more.

  43. CML

    Bernard, you have excelled yourself!

    Like some above, I had not previously thought about horse racing in the terms you have described, but never liked the deaths, whipping, etc.

    We haven’t come far from the Roman days – just substituted horses for ‘Christians and lions’.
    Appalling!!!!

  44. Nicholas

    A sad epilogue to this article is the news that two of the horses in this year’s Melbourne Cup – Admire Rakti and Araldo – have died. After finishing the race Araldo was walking back to the mounting yard when someone waved a flag in his face. He jumped in alarm and shattered his cannon bone on a fence. He had to be euthanased. Admire Rakti died of undetermined causes in his stall after the race.

  45. Steve777

    Haven’t heard the term ‘Racing Identity’ (normally qualified as ‘colourful’ or ‘prominent’) in a while. It was all the go in NSW during various Royal Commissions and ICAC hearings in the last couple of decades of the 20th century.

  46. Guy Saayman

    Once again you are spot on Bernard. You have my vote for PM.

  47. Pamela

    Thankyou Bernard- couldn’t agree more for all the reasons stated.
    My only regret that I took so long to see the light.

  48. Jan Forrester

    And in addition to comments above: TOTALLY PRESCIENT about disaster awaiting many horses.

  49. JennyWren

    @Catherine Scott No. Because he is voicing his opinion about a cruel “sport” that has nothing whatsoever to do with athletic prowess and everything about money, greed, corruption, death to both horses and jockeys. Because he is challenging the stupid myth of the “horse race that stops a nation” which we seem as a middle class to have adopted as having some stupid meaning to this country.
    Take the blinkers off

  50. Catherine Scott

    Um. Because you think it says something laudable about you if take a contrary stance. Because you share the middle class distaste that somewhere people are having fun?

  51. ianjohnno

    Thanks, Bernard. An excellent piece.
    It also strikes me that the “industry” you described is a microcosm of our nation. Sad stuff.

  52. Venise Alstergren

    The moderator: Why has my comment been moderated to extinction? It is blatantly unfair, especially when other people appear to have no trouble getting in.

  53. zut alors

    According to the ABC news website Melbourne Cup pre-race favourite Admire Rakti has collapsed and died in its stall after finishing last.

    But the crowd is probably too busy celebrating to notice…or care.

  54. Lubo Gregor

    Is this part of our national values that we are so desperate to protect from all those terrorists?

  55. Stuart Coyle

    And for all that we have two more dead horses this year. 🙁

  56. Yclept

    Well Bernard, Tony will kick you off Team Australia if you keep this up!

  57. Arty Emile

    And that does not include “exercise induced pulmonary hemorrhage

    “Based on surveys of horses examined endoscopically following racing, around 40 to 70% of horses have been reported to have blood in the trachea following a single post-race examination.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exercise-induced_pulmonary_hemorrhage

  58. zut alors

    An excellent piece, Bernard.

    It would be more entertaining & less cruel if the horses stayed home & a gaggle of twenty four pissed humans ran the race wearing the season’s latest fashionable footwear. That would be genuine Fashion on the Field… & at least no-one would be shot following a fall.

  59. Alison stock

    Great article. I thought I was the only one! I also loathe the derision that conscientious objectors are exposed to – the mob mentality that if you dont join in, youre “unAustralian”, and have no sense of humour. ..

  60. JennyWren

    Disclaimer: I am also a vegetarian, don’t drink milk and eat eggs because my mother keeps chooks in her backyard.

  61. JennyWren

    I think the recent article in the conversation by a veterinarian really brought this home for me. Having said that, Animals Australia really opened my eyes about the wastage aspect of racehorses. Having these beautiful creatures sent to the knackery to become pet food because they are unsuitable as contenders really sticks in my craw. I won’t have anything to do with it.

  62. John Taylor

    Why is it seemingly compulsory for all the fillies to wear avian road kill in their hair on the race that flops a nation?

  63. Rita El Daghl

    Brilliantly put.

    A disgraceful industry that only serves to further highlight our lack of respect for animals and our propensity to accept, if not encourage, the lack of scrutiny when it comes to the elite.

  64. Mish Singh

    To paraphrase the comment above, “Agree 100% with Bernard and posters 1 to 8”.
    Thanks, Mr Keane (again). It’s some consolation that this view of horse-racing is a lot more visible than it once was.
    Oh, and I’m a long-time vegetarian, but personally I don’t believe that eating meat disqualifies you from objecting to this cruelty :).

  65. Kevin Herbert

    Agree 100% with Bernard and posters 1 to 6.

    I just cant support any sport where animals are whipped by midgets for the entertainment of drunken goons.

  66. Nicholas

    A horse can feel a fly on its skin. So being struck hard by a whip definitely causes a horse pain. Defenders of the practice argue that this is the point – that whipping induces faster speeds. But there is no peer-reviewed evidence of whipping improving a horse’s racing performance.

    In Australia the rules of racing prohibit striking the horse on the side of its abdomen. But these strikes still occur and there is no monitoring and enforcement mechanism. Another rule is a limit on the number of strikes that can be applied in a race. But this limit is removed for the last one hundred metres of the race. This is stupid because in the final one hundred metres the horse is most likely too tired to run any faster.

    In any event, any amount of whipping on any part of a horse’s skin is cruel. The entire horse racing industry is built on cruelty. A large number of race horses break their legs every year. They suffer agony before being euthanased. All this is done for the sake of amusement and profit.

    The Melbourne Cup is called the race that stops a nation. It is almost universally accepted as a great Australian tradition. The fact that something is a tradition does not make it right. Watching people get disembowelled, castrated and beheaded was an English tradition for many centuries.

    Let’s abolish horse racing. It’s an unethical industry and it shames all of us. We don’t need it. There are thousands of other industries for people to work in and there are new industries emerging all the time. You don’t need a horse race to drink champagne and wear a silly hat. There are thousands of harmless forms of amusement to choose from. Fly a kite, climb a mountain, paraglide. If you are are into risking limbs, risk your own, not an animal’s.

  67. Glenn OC

    Growing up with a father who owned racehorses, i really wanted to read this article and dismiss it as just another ‘nark’, ready to pour scorn on what has become such a big part of our culture – but it’s spot on. I have had mixed feelings about racing for many years, and its all just crystallised after reading this. I’ll probably just go 15 minute walk at 2.55pm to avoid the hysteria. Well written Bernard.

  68. Coralien

    What to say, I feel ashamed to be part of a community that can do this. I don’t bet, but have done in the past.

    What can we collectively do to stop this abuse to animals and use of tax payers dollars?

    Coralie

  69. Chris Johnson

    Yes, it is just that – a tax-funded pageant of obscene cruelty and liquored up bogans.

  70. Neutral

    It’s a bizarre sight watching dolly birds wearing silly hats staggering around in broken high heels and chundering into the gutter.

  71. kakadu

    I’m with you 100%, Bernard. I decided this year I was not going to take part in the sweeps and won’t be there to see the poor animals get flogged.

    A the risk of seeming a wet blanket I’d rather just not be part of the hysteria.

  72. Geoff Russell

    Well put Bernard, I couldn’t have said it half as well! except that I’ve been vegan for a few decades in an effort not to add hypocrisy to my other failings.

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