One of the biggest sporting events in the Australian calendar is also the most controversial. But how bad is the horse racing industry, really?
The Race That Divides the Nation
The rise of animal activists and militant vegans has recently overshadowed a normally fun day out at the races. Most people enjoy dressing up, having a drink and placing a bet. Now however, with a bit of animal cruelty thrown in, people are less keen to have a punt.
The average horse has a lifespan of about 25 – 30 years, however racing horses usually compete for 2 – 5 years before retiring. What happens to those horses once they are no longer a viable investment? Well, if they have been lucrative to an owner, they might be studded out or put to pasture to live out their days happily munching on grass and having their mane’s combed. The majority of racing horses are not Melbourne Cup winners, so, they can end up in re-homing programs, retrained to be riding school horses or they can end up shipped overseas to knackeries or abattoirs around Australia. It’s not the most glamorous retirement but there aren’t a lot of option for horse owners once their investment dries up. Ideally, all ex racehorses would be re-homed and taken care of for the next two decades but that’s not always possible.
#NuptotheCup has been trending on social media and some establishments are opting to host events for people that oppose the Melbourne Cup. This is partly because some activists feel many punters just want the opportunity dress up and have a good time with friends, not necessarily bet on horse racing.
Horse Racing Facts
- Throughout her career, Makybe Diva won close to $14 million in prize money, Winx (who retired this year) earned over $26 million for her owners.
- It’s estimated that the horse racing industry generates $9 billion dollars every year and employs 70,000 Australians. Of those people a large percentage are in regional Australia.
- It’s not just the flat track racing that horses compete in, there is jumps racing, hurdles, steeplechases, endurance racing and more.
What do you think LiveTribers? What can be done about the horse racing industry? Does there need to be an overhaul of how retired race horses are treated, let us know in the comment section below.