A few days of out­rage will not solve any­thing

Isis Town and Country - - Opinion - Matthew McIn­er­ney Re­porter matthew.mcin­er­ney@apn.com.au

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.

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