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Byron Shire
July 14, 2024

The bloodbath of horse racing

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The racing industry is calling it ‘the weekend to forget’, but it’s important that horse racing’s ever-growing bloodbath be remembered.

Last weekend, five jockeys suffered serious injuries in a fall in Hobart, with at least one horse apparently being killed. Falls in Toowoomba and at the Sunshine Coast led to more injuries.

It is clear that enough, for this vile industry, is far more than enough. An average of over two horses per week die on Australian racetracks, usually with little fanfare.

Horses are raced too young and too hard and their bones are not up to the immense impact and stress. They routinely suffer from injuries, lameness, and exhaustion.

Horses are whipped and forced to run at break neck speeds. And to keep them running when they should be resting and recuperating, they may be given painkillers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs. All this often leads to broken legs and death.

For those horses who manage to survive, few will be retired to grassy pastures. The vast majority of owners are unwilling to bear the costs of horses who aren’t making them money. Unwanted horses typically are shipped to slaughter.

Humans have the choice to be involved, but for the horses raced beyond breaking point and then discarded like used betting slips, there is no choice, only pain and untimely death.

Desmond Bellamy, special projects coordinator, PETA Australia, Byron Bay


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  1. We are becoming a Nanny State Desmond.
    Don’t touch the hot plate, you will get burned. That was what my mother said when I was child.
    So I put my hand fully on the red hot plate to see what it was like.
    Don’t drive on the road, you will get killed and don’t race horses.
    Do you know what it is like to live a life wrapped in cotton wool?
    A life is to be risked to be lived.
    What is the use to live to be 100 if you have never crossed the road because there are too many cars.
    To gallop at full speed and to risk life and limb and the horse under you is to breathe the climax of life.
    To die young but to die with a life lived is to be really alive.

  2. What rot, Len. This is torture and cruelty, plain and simple and nothing to do with ‘living life to the full.’ How would you like to be a horse whipped, drugged and potentially injured and die on the race course? Or even if you do survive, get shipped off to the slaughterhouse (watch video footage of that and see what you think!). And if you are one of the lucky few to survive all the above you will spend the rest of your life arthritic from being pushed beyond what is natural and healthy for your body.

    The Melbourne Cup day and all the other horse racing days around the country are a travesty and proof we are still living in the dark ages. One day, just visualise this, we will all have evolved into compassionate beings with the ability to feel what it would be like to be in another’s shoes.


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