Auckland protest against the Melbourne Cup

November 5, 2019

Auckland protest against the Melbourne Cup

Protestors at the Viaduct Basin draw attention to the racing industry. Photo: Reid Etherington

The world-famous Melbourne Cup was the focus of a small group of animals rights activists protesting against the prestigious horserace in Auckland today.

The New Zealand branch of the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) placed protestors outside Viaduct Basin bars that aired the race earlier today.

When TWN visited, about 10 protestors were holding placards and handing out flyers to passers-by.

CPR spokesperson Aya Oba said the opportunity for socialites to "glam up" did not require the exploitation of animals.

"The cruelty in the [racing] industry has been well hidden and we want to raise awareness in a peaceful yet effective way so that people consider making conscious and kinder choices by not betting on and supporting the culture of horse racing.

“These horses are bred into a lifestyle that is completely unnatural to them. They are whipped and forced to run for their lives, often sustaining injuries that can prematurely make them uncompetitive,” Ms Oba said.

Flyers included statistics about racehorses — many horses start training at 18 months old to start racing at two when they aren’t skeletally mature, risking serious injuries and are either killed in training or on the course.

Although trainers are starting to seek out homes for retired racehorses, most will end up being killed for dog food or human consumption.

“What’s actually behind the glamour, party, dress up with funny hats — there’s a lot more behind that.

“It’s well hidden how much cruelty is in this industry, so we’d like to ask people questions: do we need this, do you want to contribute your time and money towards animal cruelty?” said Ms Oba.

The CPR started in Australia in 2008, before expanding to New Zealand and collaborating with international animal-rights groups like PETA and Animal Aid.

“We’ve been part of them since last year’s Boxing Day race in New Zealand and at the moment, there are three branches — Wanganui, Wellington and Auckland,” said Ms Oba.

In last year’s Melbourne Cup, the racehorse The Cliffsofmoher became the sixth horse in six years to be killed after falling mid-race.

The CPR has already recorded the deaths of 12 horses from haemorrhages, heart attacks and fractures relating to horse racing so far this year, which the CPR considers a direct consequence of the demand for gambling and entertainment.

The group has, however, been targeted in return by supporters of racing, who have accused it of lying in its campaigns.

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