Calls to ban horse racing following the heartbreaking injury and subsequent death of The Cliffsofmoher in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday are ridiculous.
Why should we? Are we basing it on the fact six horses have died in the great race since 2013? Is it based purely highly on emotion?
While those numbers hardly paint the industry (and the race for that matter) in a positive light, let’s take a deep breath.
It was a sight none of us wanted to see. Not me, not you, not the local trainers and jockeys in Port Macquarie and not Lloyd Williams or Aidan O’Brien.
If there wasn’t a death in yesterday’s “race that stops the nation”, I doubt we would be having this discussion.
Those in favour of banning horse racing as a sport often point to the issue of consent and how racehorses don’t have the option of whether they wish to race or not.
While I can see the merit in that, these animals are bred purely to race.
If horse racing is banned then breeding for racing will stop. But would that then result in an outcome of some animals being saved, and most being killed?
If this is the case, it completely contradicts the call to ban racing for the safety and preservation of the animal.
If we go down that path, banning horse racing should then result in banning any horse sport or activity that uses a horse.
There would be no showjumping, no dressage, no barrel riding, no pony club and the riding for the disabled programs that are such a hit would also fall by the wayside.
Why? Crops are used in most of those instances.
No-one watched the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday in the hope they would see a horse die, but those advocating banning the sport have used the death as a way of vindicating their argument.
I had a strong debate with a few people on social media on Tuesday evening, with one comment in particular summing it up perfectly.
“If we weren't all comfortable with the concept of incidental tragedy in the name of entertainment, we'd have all stopped watching rugby league the day Alex McKinnon broke his neck,” the post stated.
It’s hard to disagree.
That’s not to mention the tragic death of Phil Hughes at the Sydney Cricket Ground in 2014, yet playing cricket remains one of the favourite things to do in summer.
Horse racing happens 365 days a year across the entire globe, so why is it that the vocal minority find their voice only once a year?
There are also calls out there that horses are mistreated, whipped and abused.
As someone who has done countless interviews with trainers and jockeys, I guarantee the conditions the horses are kept in are basically the human equivalent.
They have pools to swim in, they have paddocks to run around in and I've never left a job with any concerns about anything that would remotely fall into the "animal cruelty" category.
The love trainers and jockeys have for these animals should never be questioned. Ever.
I remember doing a story with Jenny Graham a month or two ago first thing in the morning as she prepared Victorem for The Kosciuszko at Randwick.
The timeframe I had to work with was so specific because she didn’t want to be dragging him in and out of the stables for “one more run”.
If trainers didn’t care about their horses, what difference would an extra trip from the stables to the racecourse make?
It’s quite simple – they have the horse’s best interests at heart, regardless of what the vocal minority think.
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