This groups says Melbourne Cup is “public form of animal cruelty” 238



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We may think it’s a bit of fun and sportsmanship, but a respected animal charity says that on Melbourne Cup day, Australian racing authorities are not meeting their obligations under an international agreement, and that the way the horses are raced is cruel.

The RSPCA says, “When millions of Australians tune in to watch the race that stops the nation, too few will realise they’re not only witnessing the most public form of animal cruelty, but they’re actually cheering it on.”

The Society is opposed to the use of traditional contact whips in horse racing, due to their potential to inflict pain and injury to the horses.

“The RSPCA believes a top performance horse needs great genetics, great preparation and great horsemanship. Whipping does not come into it.”

The results of an observational study commissioned by the RSPCA found that thoroughbred horses were whipped unnecessarily during a race and that the padding on the whip offered no protection.

The study was conducted by a veterinarian and built on a previous study that showed that whipping the horses made no difference to the outcome of a race. They also observed that many of the rules regarding whips were broken. Jockeys can currently whip their horse as many times as they want during a 100-metre race.

Other findings included:

  • The whip caused a visual indentation on the horse in 83 per cent of impacts
  • The unpadded section of the whip made contact on 64 per cent of impacts
  • At least 28 examples of apparent breaches of whip rules were found
  • More than 75 per cent of the time the whip struck the horse in the abdomen (or flank)
  • The majority of jockeys observed used a backhand whip action, possibly to avoid being penalised as the current Australian whip rules maintain a focus solely on forehand action.

The RSPCA says that since the use of whips can’t be effectively policed by racing authorities, they should be banned all together.

In 1966, Walter Hoysted, a member of a famous racing family, brandished a shotgun from the middle of the track at Flemington in protest at what he regarded as excessive whipping of horses, the Herald Sun reports.

Do you think the whipping of horses during the race is cruel or is it par for the course? Share your thoughts. 

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  1. Totally agree with this. It’s not a sport It’s just a rich man’s pastime.

    1 REPLY
    • Totally agree. It’s all about making money at the horses expense. After last year where 3 horses were SHOT after the race never again will I participate in a Melbourne Cup festivity. When a mare is retired what do you think happens to her? She has foal after foal as there is more money to be made. She is forever pregnant and finally dies from exhaustion.

  2. Horses love to run in a group….nothing wrong with that and they are trained up over the years….no whacking them please

  3. If the whip is used right, I have no problem. If a jockey continued to use it wrong then I would agree to it being banned….I really do not understand why hands and heels are not sufficient though.

  4. If they do away with this ICONIC event it will be another win for a minority….If you don’t like it don’t participate in any of the activities associated with the race or spring carnival. Leave others to enjoy it

    2 REPLY
    • Trouble is, it is the horses who have to participate. They have no choice. Until we stop making money out of animals racing, many more will die. Many end up at horse sales and they are miserable places where many horses are bought by the Dogger (yes, for dog’s meat.) I always used to think it was a bit of fun, but now I know what happens, I can’t condone anything that uses animals for human’s gain.

      1 REPLY
      • Nonsense every horse in this race is there becauseit wants to be. If a horse doesn’t want to race it will not try. Trainers will retire them very quickly when they do. I know because I retrain racehorses and every trainer says the same thing “good horse this but doesn’t want to do it anymore.”

        1 REPLY
        • Nonsense Ian. At last years Melbourne Cup of the 3 horses that died, one died from a MASSIVE heart attack which would have been caused from being pushed too hard by the jockey whipping him/her over a distance which was too far long. It kept going because it was being whipped.

  5. This ridiculous argument pops up about this time every year. The riding crop it used to guide and encourage the horse not to ‘whip’ it.

    3 REPLY
    • It is spelt bridle Molly. The reins on the bridle are one of the things a rider uses to guide the horse Touch and voice are also used as a means of getting positive response from the horse. The horse is encouraged to change its gait or to increase pace by the rider using his feet or knees to urge the horse on. A riding crop or whip is another means to which a horse willingly responds. A horse is taught to associates certain things with voice commands or gestures.

    • One should be careful when correcting others Rob. It’s ‘associate’ not the plural ‘associates’, and capitals are not used in sentences i.e the word ‘touch’.

  6. I don’t bet and I had never thought about horse racing, until someone from in here that I really enjoy seeing their comments (Victoria ) said horse racing was cruel, I have thought about this since and If they are whipping horses to run..that is cruel. So I am going to watch the race today to see if the whip is used

    4 REPLY
    • Thank you Leanna. As I’ve said before, I deplore anything to do with animals in sport and for human entertainment. Just something else to add …..Those poor dolphins and whales at Seaworld etc were hunted down in the oceans during the 1960’s for entertainment. Their ‘tricks’ are only performed for the reward of food at the end. Even the people who were involved in these captures regret their decision for doing what they did.The old ones who can no longer ‘perform’ are kept in large tanks as they wouldn’t survive in the wild. It’s disgusting what humans do to animals :'( :'( :'( …….. I hope no poor horse falls over today, boom, that willl be the end of him / her :'(

      1 REPLY
      • Victoria I have read your post on animals I wish there were more people like you in the world every time I see a animal being hurt by a human I want so badly to do the same back to the human. whip the hell out of him running on all his fours.

  7. It is about the whole industry.the horses that dont make the grade.the horses who no longer are in denial if you think this is not a cruel industry.

    3 REPLY
    • Not everybody is unfeeling. I have had racehorses that didn’t make the grade. They are rehomed with people I know, retired on my property or used for breeding. I would NEVER send a horse to the abattoir I could not do it. Most of the people I know in the racing industry love horses. And

    • And not everyone is kind.some do end up in the abattoir some are is a money making industry & there is cruelty to those who aren’t good enough.

    • There are plenty of horses around to end up in the knackery. And they have never been near the racing industry!

  8. I watched the documentary on TV where they discussed the use of the whip and demonstrated how it is used and the impact on the horse. Cruel without a doubt, ban it.

    5 REPLY
    • Same here Barbara, the only purpose for the whip is to try and make the poor things run faster.

    • I am not sure what show it was Lee. It was the ABC maybe Catalyst or something similar and the reporter did volunteer to get hit with one and she attested to it hurting and the science showed rather than horses having a thicker hide and less nerve endings close to the skin the opposite was actually true.

    • I don’t agree with whipping the horse as well I think that the horses should run on there own ability if no one whips then there all equal with there chance to win

  9. I have race horses and they love running. If they don’t like racing they would not perform. I would be quite happy to see the whip banned but can’t imagine it happening. However I would like to see an independent well controlled study on the subject before people reach conclusions and making unfounded criticisms.

    9 REPLY

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