By Adrienne Cytto, Staff Writer
This past Monday, Australians gathered around a TV, made bets, and watched the “race that stops the nation,” otherwise known as the Melbourne Cup.
Similar to the Kentucky Derby and other horse races in the U.S., the Melbourne Cup is a showcase of the fastest horses from around the world. Everyone gets dressed up and many people leave work early to watch the races.
The favored horse to win this year was the Japanese racehorse Admire Rakti. Unfortunately the horse did not do so well in the race, and actually came in last place. A few hours later news broke that the horse had died, but the exact cause of death had not been determined yet.
As much as I love sporting events and the excitement that comes with them, the more I think about the races the more I realize how sad it is that we enjoy watching horses get overworked and many times injured in training or in races. This is not to say horses are not amazingly fast and need to release all that energy, but when someone is controlling how far that goes it makes it hard to watch.
I do have to admit, I did place a friendly two-dollar bet on the races, not thinking about the bigger picture in mind. I even pass the Royal Randwick Racecourse in Sydney every day and sometimes think it would be neat to see a horse race and get all dressed up, but then I am reminded about situations like this where these horses get injured and many times have to be euthanized.
While it’s great that people can come together to celebrate a nationally known event, but not so much when it is an event where the negative aspects of how the horses are treated are only brought up after the fact when something bad happens.
With the tradition of the Melbourne Cup in its 154th year, it’s clear that horse racing has been around a long time and will probably continue for years to come. But it’s worth taking the time to consider ways the horses can be treated better and maybe even how regulations could be tightened to reduce the risk of these fatal events as much as possible.