Let’s not spoil a special day

November 08, 2017

Rekindling with jockey Corey Brown aboard, wins the Melbourne Cup ahead of Johannes Vermeer, with jockey Ben Melham. Picture: AAP

In case you missed it, the Melbourne Cup was on yesterday — and you know what that means.

Animal rights group PETA and the usual anti-racing types will be out and about this week before they slither back into their deep, dark holes.

I made the two-hour trek down the Hume Hwy on Saturday morning for the AAMI Victoria Derby Day.

On arrival at Flemington racecourse, I was near on ambushed by activists sitting out the front of the entrance gates.

Holding up signs of dead horses and telling me how much of a bad bloke I was for attending the races.

Basically labelling me as an animal hater and a supporter of abuse.

In The Age yesterday, a press officer from PETA Australia called the Melbourne Cup ‘‘the cruellest day on Melbourne’s calendar’’.

Claiming ‘‘the vast majority of owners are unwilling to bear the costs incurred by horses who aren’t making money... so those animals are often sent to the abattoir to be slaughtered’’.

No doubt your Facebook newsfeed has been inundated with similar types who say it’s time to put a stop to the race we love.

Yes, in some unfortunate instances, horses do die.

Between August 2015, and July 2016, 132 race horses died, in that same period, there were 186141 race starters across Australia, according to anti-racing group Coalition.

So the death rate represents just 0.07 per cent of all the horses that raced?

A sport of cruelty, abuse and death, I think not.

These horses are treated like kings and queens — bathed, groomed and cared for better than some parents care for their own children.

It’s more than a sport, it’s a multi-billion-dollar industry which employs thousands of people nationally and globally.

We’ve stopped to watch and adore these horses for more than 150 years.

It would be an injustice to let a small group of party-poopers ruin the special day of such heritage and cultural significance.

Long live the Melbourne Cup.

Hayden Thomson is a News journalist.

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