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.


The day I saved my first animal.

I’ve always loved Wednesdays, they’re my favourite day of the week, and I’ve never really known why – maybe it’s something to do with my love of symmetry or because in senior school I always had the day off, I don’t know. I was thinking about this last night as I contemplated the distance to Friday – at least tomorrow is Wednesday, it may not be Friday but it’s my favourite day of the week, be happy, but why is it my favourite day, what do I have to look forward to about Wednesdays, it’s really just like any other week day now, and definitely not as exciting as Friday. So I went to bed expecting today to be just like every other Wednesday – get up, go to work, come home from work, be thankful that I’m another day closer to Friday. I left my house this morning to make the short journey to my bus stop expecting absolutely nothing out of the ordinary.

As I turned the corner into the street that my bus stop is on I noticed a possum in the middle of the road, and it was pretty easy to determine that it was dead, even from 15 metres away. I decided to do the decent thing and move it off the road – at least it wouldn’t be squished all over the place and someone in a nearby house would see it and call the council when they opened to have it removed. I could see a little blood, but no visible signs that she’d been attacked and there were no guts hanging out, but as I carried this stiff body back to the nature strip I noticed that she had a tiny, hairless baby nuzzled into her belly. There’s an animal management centre a few streets away from where I live, my bus goes past it every day, but I didn’t think they’d let me on the bus with a dead mother possum and her hairless infant, so I called the centre instead to see if they could come pick the two up. Of course, it couldn’t be as simple as all that and I got directed through to the emergency after hours line where I described the situation to a call centre staff member and was informed that I would need to contact the RSPCA for this kind of issue. It was then that I noticed that this baby’s head was still *inside* the mother – she had died in the middle of giving birth and now I had to deal with this just-born, pink wriggler who was still attached to his mama via the umbilical cord – definitely not what I had expected on my commute to work this morning! Nothing in my life has equipped me for handling this situation, I mean I’ve seen a few nature documentaries and TV shows, and I know a little bit about the whole birthing process in general, but really not enough to make any confident decisions about medical treatment for what I *think* was a ring-tail possum? All I could do was laugh as my bus drove past and I was still kneeling on the grass, trying to keep this little dude warm, and consulting the woman on the phone about the correct action to take in this situation. In the end I was put through to the RSPCA and they dispatched an ambulance to my house where I waited with this little guy, still attached to his dead mother since I couldn’t cut the cord in case I accidentally killed him.

So it’s been an exciting day already and I have officially made my first ever animal rescue – I guess you could consider this the first day of my career as an Animal Rescue & Re-homing Specialist – and also my first blog post. What a successful day it has been so far, and only just past 11:00 am. And a prime example of subconscious and conscious thoughts manifesting within reality – I had just been discussing my goals regarding a career working with animals last night and then boom! Animal rescue emergency first thing the next day. I’m feeling very justified in my decision to pursue a different career path, and very good-samaritan-y. Welcome to my life, and I hope you enjoy the ride.