Melbourne Cup Day

Once I realised this morning that I had failed to post anything at all yesterday, I felt severely demotivated. I can’t believe that I was barely two days into the challenge and I already fucked up. Like, I put my name on a register and everything. What if people actually see this? Now I’m just another lazy douchebag.

But it’s stormy here tonight, and I’m showered, and snuggled up in bed with my puppies, and it feels like the perfect environment for writing. I just wish I had a nice hot cup of Milo, or the day off work tomorrow. Speaking of which, I got drunk at work today! That was a first time experience that I never expected I’d encounter. It was Melbourne Cup Day (oh, how I despise the despicable event) and Kim bought a bottle of wine for us to share after lunch. Little did Kim realise that I’d barely eaten since lunch the day before, and I’m a notorious light-weight. I didn’t get roaring drunk or anything like that, but I did make a tipsy call to my boss to ask if we could go home early. He said no. And Kim and I rearranged the furniture in the house/office so that she could sit closer to the air-conditioner because it’s too hot where she was previously sitting, 80cm to the left of her new position.

Which brings us to our topic for today: the fucking Melbourne Cup. For anyone who isn’t familiar the Melbourne Cup is “the race that stops the nation” – a high-profile horse racing event, and an excuse for a public holiday and the privilege of getting drunk before noon. It is the social event of the year, the highlight of every rich moron’s fiscal year, this is the only time of the year that anyone gives a fuck about horse racing and they give more fucks about this day than any other day, with the exception (maybe) of Australia Day. Let me put this into perspective for you – growing up in an Australian public school I dreaded the day every year when we would be forced to pick a name out of a hat and sit on the floor and watch this barbaric event. Of course, when I was protesting watching the race as a six-year-old it was because it was boring and I wanted to read my library books, but it didn’t matter what reason I gave my teachers, I was always forced to sit and watch and participate. Whoever picked the winning horse won a free tuckshop lunch – the highest honour my school could bestow upon a student – thus perpetuating the nation-wide ignorance and continued celebration of this blatant disregard for animal welfare. As an adult I am filled with a sickening, impotent rage at the injustice of it all. It baffles me that the protesting of this ritual isn’t screamed louder and taken more seriously, and that so few care to even raise their voice. And it’s not just about advocating animal rights, and causing a scene; the number of businesses, TV networks, celebrities, politicians etc. that endorse this spectacle with their participation and support is appalling. You might not be the people flogging these animals, pumping them full of chemicals, and literally murdering them in a pool of blood once the strain of their physically exhausting, torturous life overwhelms their bodies and they succumb to injury, but you’re just as bad for not refusing to take part in this uncivilised display of savagery and disrespect for life.

The horse racing industry as a whole is a horrifying concept, it seems like the kind of thing you’d read about humans doing a hundred years ago and think “Goodness, how barbaric, people were so cruel back then, thank heaven we’ve come so far and nothing like that would be allowed today.” Except it’s allowed, and celebrated, and greatly anticipated.

“Statistics show that nearly all horses in the race today will experience bleeding in the lungs, while 50% of horses racing will experience bleeding in the windpipe. 89% of these racehorses will have stomach ulcers. All will be thrashed by a whip.”

“During training, these horses spend approximately 22 hours of every day alone in a stall the size of a bedroom, resulting in digestive and behavioural abnormalities. They are drugged to mask the pain from being overworked, and fed food with unnaturally high energy content.

The average ‘career’ of a racehorse is 3 years, after which they are ‘discarded’. Every year, 10000-25000 ‘discarded’ racehorses who didn’t ‘make the cut’ are slaughtered for dog food.”

These quotes were taken from a post on Facebook that my mum tagged me in today, after I called her on my way home from work to seethe over our mutual hatred for this “sport”. Immediately after the race today a horse name Admire Rakti died in his stall after suffering a heart attack, or potentially from internal bleeding, and another horse named Araldo got frightened and crashed through a fence, breaking one of his bones which apparently necessitated that he be killed on site. And those are just the two that were publicised this afternoon, not to mention those who will die later on tonight/tomorrow from internal bleeding, or broken bones, or just because they’re too tired to go on. Some of these horses will be killed by the damage they sustain from performing in the race, some of them will be shot.

I often see the argument “but they’re bred for it”, as if that is supposed to justify humans taking advantage of an animals trust and obedience, and abusing it, torturing daily, stripping the beast of any dignity, showing no respect, feeling no love, peddling life for profit. A lot of children in the sex slave trade are “bred for it”, based on that logic raping a child is fine, I suppose? “Oh, but it’s different, it’s a child you’re talking about, these are just animals, it’s what they’re made for.” NO IT’S FUCKING NOT! It’s life! It’s exactly the same, and no animal is made to be run to beyond the point of exhaustion, kept in cramped conditions, denied freedom, and pumped full of hormones so that they can be further beaten while being forced to literally run themselves to death.


In this day and age, the fact that something like this still exists is beyond appalling. It is a colossal disappointment and a stain on us all as a society for allowing it to continue.