The Melbourne Cup is the "disgrace that stops the nation", yet some Australian companies continue to sponsor this unethical spectacle.
Anyone with an ounce of humanity can see that whipping sensitive animals in order to win money is depraved. Then there's the fact that the horses often die trying. In 2020, Anthony Van Dyck was euthanised after fracturing his fetlock during the Melbourne Cup. In 2018, 5-year-old Irish Thoroughbred The Cliffsofmoher fell badly, breaking his shoulder. He was euthanised shortly thereafter. Other horses who died include Verema in 2013, Admire Rakti and Araldo in 2014, Red Cadeaux in 2015, and Regal Monarch in 2017 after falling in race four.
Bred for speed at the expense of health and supporting large frames on petite ankles, horses die at the rate of one every three days on Australian racetracks. While no concrete figures exist for "wastage" – that is, foals bred but never registered for racing – estimates suggest there are approximately 2,000 such horses in the industry per year. Because these animals never represent a return on investment, they're destroyed or neglected – and some are even left to starve.
Exposed Again and Again
Regardless of pedigree or past earnings, many horses bred for racing are discarded once they are no longer useful.
A 2020 investigation followed the fate of ex-racing Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses to two Sydney knackeries, where hidden cameras captured their slaughter and sale as food for companion animals. Many of the horses seen there were officially listed as "retired" on the Racing Australia website. And in 2019, ABC's 7.30 programme revealed that around 300 horses used for racing went through a single abattoir in Queensland in just 22 days.
Horses bred by the Australian racing industry are also sometimes sold to the racing industry in South Korea, where they're slaughtered for meat when they're no longer considered useful. A PETA exposé of that country's largest horse abattoir shows cast-offs from the racing industry being beaten repeatedly in the face as they're forced into the abattoir and killed for their flesh.
Sponsors foot the bill for much of the Melbourne Cup race day, paying for advertising and expensive marquees at the track. Despite hearing from PETA about the cruelty of horse racing, Lexus, Penfolds, and Kennedy Luxury Group continue to be major sponsors. Please use the form below to let these companies know what you think about their involvement with the Melbourne Cup.