Fuck Your Melbourne Cup
Shh, can you hear that? Thump… thump… thump. What the fuck is that? you think to yourself as your heart begins to beat in sync with the ominous thwack in the distance. You glance at your coffee. My god, the ripples, this is some Jurassic Park shit. Only, these aren’t dinosaurs my friend, no, this is something way more fucked up. As I write this, hordes of oversized-Tarocash-wearing Wolf-Of-Wall-Street-watching moscato-sipping wankers are gathering from across the country to descend upon Flemington Racecourse to drunkenly and obnoxiously cheer as beasts are whipped and mustered to run at lung-breaking speed, pushed to breaking point for the amusement of semi-evolved primates. This is not a bad trip, this is real. This is the Melbourne Cup.
I hate to be this guy, and I’ll cop shit for writing this, but screw letting injustice happen just because it’s the social norm. Fuck the horse racing industry. There, I said it. Today, horses will literally be forced into tiny gates against their will and made to run until their lungs fill with blood due to massive overexertion while all the while a tiny human sits on their backs whipping the poor creatures as if they were riding their high school bully. The race that stops the nation is a celebration of animal cruelty; there’s no sugar coating it. But hey, by all means, please keep telling yourself this is a noble sport as you return from your fourth bathroom trip this hour with white powdery residue on your nose, pumped with artificial confidence, place your money on Makybe Diva or whatever fucking gimmick name has been given to the living, breathing, organic machine of muscle and profit. Sweat away your insecurities when that $20 bet returns tenfold, down that Moët knock off. I’m not one to judge, I’m a piece of shit too, but do not for a second tell me that anything that is going on in and around that racetrack is “noble”.
In Australia, a horse dies on a racetrack every three days due to this “sport of kings” – and that’s not counting the thousands deemed not profitable enough and subsequently slaughtered for pet food when still otherwise healthy. It’s bloody 2016 and this is what we have to show for ourselves? Man, fuck your glamorised blood sport. But hey, as long as millions are watching and we can get shitfaced and bet on it, then it ain’t animal cruelty, right?
See, that’s the thing: there’s too much money in this shit for it to just go away peacefully; too many men staking their masculinity and high-rise penthouses on whether one once-noble-now-domesticated beast can gallop slightly faster than another. Last year’s total prize money amounted to $6,200,000 plus trophies valued at $175,000. And then there’s the Victorian public holiday, mate – what’s not to like? And the fashion! Look at all those cool hats! ‘Fashions On The Field’ basically overshadows the race itself, with major prizes awarded to the best-dressed men and women, ’cause we like to look our best while we watch horses live and die for five-minute glory forgotten before tomorrow’s hangover kicks in. Bleeding lungs, broken legs and fancy hats almost single-handedly keeping Melbourne’s milliners in business.
The crux of the matter is this – I know I sound like I must be super fun at parties with all this complaining – but I like animals and I can’t wrap my head around why we are so hung up on celebrating this crap. The facts are all there. A Melbourne University study found that 50% of racehorses have blood in their windpipe post-race, whilst 90% have blood deeper in their lungs. 127 horses were pronounced dead on Australian racetracks in the past 12 months and many thousands more were killed for not being able to run fast enough. Around 18 000 ex-racehorses are sent to their slaughter each year in Australia. A statistic which isn’t exactly paraded around to the Australian public by the promoters of the Melbourne Cup. Horses sold to knackeries will be killed and processed for pet food. This is fact. Run ’til you can’t run no more, endure the enthusiastic floggings from the miniature humans on your back, then die with your flesh as food for our pets. You are the noble steed; this is your legacy.
Please, enjoy your day off. Have a barbecue with your family. Bask in the luck we have with being born in such a beautiful country full of possibility. But with privilege comes responsibility. The suffering caused by today’s race, and indeed every horse race, is unhidden. The facts are accessible for any who care to delve into the issue. The horse racing business is no different to any other animal industry. Animals valued on the basis of monetary return, flesh and blood gambled upon, money exchanges hands but there are no true winners here, the perceived winnings in cash marred by the unethical nature of the financial return. We have no right to treat other living beings in this way. The Melbourne Cup is glorified barbarism, and it’s time to stop celebrating this shit.
Cover by nikon-itis