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