This is why #NupToTheCup is trending online

Just another day at the races.

Photo Credit: The Roar

Photo Credit: The Roar

The Melbourne Cup is an Aussie tradition to many. You know it; we usually put on a nice outfit, and stumble home inebriated. However, for the horses, this day is possibly their last.

The hashtag #NupToTheCup is currently trending on social media. Find out why, and make up your own mind.

Horses die during races

2016 was the deadliest year for horse racing in Australia, Horse Racing Kills recorded 137 horses died, and on average it would occur every 2.6 days. In 2018, they revealed the death toll by July was at 119, and around every three days, a horse dies. 

On Tuesday, there was another death when The Cliffsofmoher was shot dead after the colt broke his shoulder during the Melbourne Cup. It is understood that horses stand 24/7 even when they are sleeping, and perhaps the owner had no choice, but it was his response to the incident to that makes my stomach churn. He told the online publication “It’s very sad. But it could have been worse, someone could have been seriously injured.”

While we are grateful no one else was hurt, the fact he sounds so apathetic is rather distasteful. Saying ‘it could have been worse’ undermines The Cliffsofmother’s short life.

This isn’t the only incidence to come out of the Melbourne Cup this year, the RSPCA has reiterated their calls to remove whips from racing after 8 jockeys were suspended for excessively whipping their horses. 

Do you know where your money’s going?

Sure it is a glamorous day and some people don’t want to give up an excuse to get drunk, but by contributing to this event spectators motivate horse owners to treat their horses like a monetary gain; rather than a living breathing animal. 

Everyone knows it is really expensive to keep horses, ridiculously in fact, and when owners feel they can’t make money from them anymore they are often sent to the abattoir to be slaughtered. By turning the races into a capitalist and consumerist event it makes the animal a commodity, and then they become worthless once they no longer churn a profitable income.

The fact that an animal is likened to the standard of a faulty race car seems barbaric.

The nosebleed section

It is a common occurrence for horses to experience internal bleeding, often causing them to bleed from their nose.  According to The Horse, in Australia the rule of thumb is ‘if a horse bleeds through the nostrils once, then they are only banned from training for two months and banned from racing for three. Then if it happens for the second time the horse is banned for life and can no longer work in any capacity.’ 

Over half of the horses that incur this issue the first time, return to racing, while this is more than half it means there is still a large sum of horses unable to work, therefore often put down or sold to abattoirs.

It seems like making them race is clearly taxing and unnatural for the animals- if this can’t be defined as a type of torture then frankly I’m lost.  According to a 2017 Sydney Herald Article, this inflicts joint injuries; ruptured ligaments and musculoskeletal trauma, and to combat this horses are prescribed painkillers and basically drugged to keep going.

In conclusion

I’m not naïve I know horse racing isn’t going to disappear, however, we could at least start by banning whips like some countries have, to at least limit some harm. 

Surely we can all still have a day to get dressed up and drunk without horses even being in the picture?

Words by Faye Couros

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