A few days of outrage will not solve anything
ANOTHER Melbourne Cup, another horse death.
The reaction to the death of favourite and eventual last-placed finisher Admire Rakti after Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup race bordered on the hysterical.
Almost immediately hundreds of outraged people hit social media to express their disbelief at the champion horse’s death and condemn the “barbaric sport” of horse racing.
While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I couldn’t help but feel annoyed by these people.
Sure, it’s sad this poor horse died, but if you’re so outraged by the industry why do you keep silent for the other 364 days a year?
Why does it take a high-profile death to spur you into a few moments of action?
How many can name the horse who died after running in last year’s Melbourne Cup, without using an internet search?*
This bandwagon bash solves nothing.
If you want to see change, you have to campaign, sometimes for long periods of time.
The horse racing industry is scrutinised like no other, with so much money poured into ensuring these horses are perpetually at their peak and are better looked after than most of us.
All the majority of people see is what happens during a race: horses forced into a barrier, the whipping towards the end – all the pretty stuff.
What you don’t see is how much the trainers care for the horses.
I covered a story in Grafton where trainer Shane Everson had one of his horses die the morning of a race meet.
Everson struggled to hold himself together when I spoke to him that afternoon: the horses are family, not just a whipping post.
I enjoy a day at the races, I enjoy a punt every now and again (not too often, I don’t get paid enough), but I’m not racing’s biggest fan.
There is definitely room for improvement, and the industry has made steps with the close scrutiny on whipping.
But if you want to see change in the racing industry, or any other activity or cause of which you feel strongly, don’t just jump on a bandwagon for a few hours or write a Facebook post.
Start a campaign. Find out who the industry heavies are and pick up the phone or write a letter.
Hammer the media with your view, and seek out people in your local area who share the opinion and make your voice heard.
* The horse that died after last year’s Melbournce Cup was Verema.