Here we go again – time to dig out the fascinator, grab a six-pack of Bacardi Breezers and wobble off on impractically high heels to Melbourne’s Spring Racing Carnival.

And what do you ladies have to say about animal welfare? Photo:Herald Sun

At any other time of the year, the races are likely to be associated with dodgy bookies, the barbarism of jumps racing and problem gambling. Around this time, however, we start referring to it as the “sport of kings”, an elite, glamorous cultural event.

But how glamorous is it really when, for every one expensively-preened Fashions on the Field entrant, there are five young men wearing that consistently hilarious combination of tux and Aussie flag boxers? You can bet that while Lillian Frank or Peter Jago praise the young ladies present for returning to the modest and elegant trends of the 1920s, most people won’t go home without seeing at least a dozen women clutching a pair of vomit-speckled stilettos.

With all that sophistication on show, you could easily forget the “real” reason for the Spring Racing Carnival; that is, so that a bunch of people who don’t appear to care for racing at any other time of the year can barrack and bet as a large horse gets flogged by a small man. That isn’t sport - it’s the exploitation of animals to satisfy some primal idea of fun.

Putting aside other cruelties associated with the industry, such as the routine dog-fooding of those animals that are injured or just too slow, whipping a horse doubtlessly causes some distress and pain – if it didn’t, there wouldn’t be any point in the practice. Recently introduced (and fiercely contended) Australian Racing Board rules whereby a “padded whip” can only be used a limited number of times during a race surely acknowledge both the fact that whipping causes a degree of pain and that the public feels uneasy watching a horse being relentlessly beaten by its rider. Indeed, a recent study from the University of Sydney found that whipping race horses doesn’t increase their chance of winning.

But animal welfare is often the last thing on people’s minds as they take another dainty sip from their mini bottle of Moet through a straw and loudly urge on the favourite in the fifth, betting slip in hand.

Last year, in the Melbourne Cup alone – a race that lasts less than four minutes – Australians bet over $140 million. Across the day, more than $250 million in bets were placed and the betting industry proudly claimed that over eighty per cent of Australians had some kind of wager. To put this in perspective, Australia’s total funding in response to the East Africa Food Crisis, in which over 13 million people are at risk, currently sits at $128 million.

It seems odd that, at a time when we are publicly debating the relationship between problem gambling and depression, suicide, family breakdown and homelessness, we still set aside a public holiday to celebrate the fun and tradition of gambling. But of course, we don’t call it “gambling” in October and November – it’s more palatably referred to as “having a flutter”, an occasion when we can forget about collecting our 4c petrol vouchers for a short while and simply throw away $50 on a wildly unpredictable outcome.

And to what end all this cruelty and money wasted? Do punters get to share in the millions of dollars in prize money on offer? Do any of the profits go towards a worthy cause? No, it is all simply in order to generate income for already-wealthy horse trainers, owners and betting agencies.

While it might be nice to have a distraction at the end of the football season and few people would complain about getting a day off, let’s not forget that this unsophisticated, primitive form of entertainment comes at a cost, and that cost is borne by the animals involved, the problem gamblers and their families – not to mention those young “fillies” who wake up on the floor of a portaloo at Flemington on Wednesday morning. Surely the time has come for us to recognise that horse racing is neither a sport nor a cultural event. And while we’re at it, let’s throw out those dreadful fascinators once and for all.

Sarah McKenzie is a freelance writer based in Melbourne. Her opinion pieces have been published in The Age, Herald-Sun, Canberra Times, National Times, and more.

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106 comments

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    • Jase says:

      05:23am | 31/10/11

      A day at the races, in my experience has always been a great day out. I have been to a few cups from Melbourne to Broome, and its a great excuse to don a flashy suit, socialise over some drinks and have a small gamble.

      Seriously, the fun police need to get back in their box and leave the rest of us to enjoy ourselves.
      As for the $140 million dollars being a waste, I would be taking a good hard look at the government and what it wastes far more of our money on before trying to make everyone feel guilty for having a gamble.

      Actually thinking about it the $123 million dollars spent on East African aid is as much of a gamble as betting on the local horse… I would like to see the odds of it actually making it to the community after corruption, less than the lotto I am sure.

    • Sharon says:

      07:47am | 31/10/11

      @Jase. There are plenty of other ways to have a great day out, dress up and have fun that don’t depend on the cruel exploitation of animals, nor the greed of the gambling industry (but that bothers me less).

      I too once considered this once a year dress up, drink up, cough up, hook up, throw up extravaganza was a bit of harmless “fun”, and I know people in the racing industry. Until I opened my eyes and conscience to the cruel realities of it all.

      The overbreeding,
      The whipping,
      The stress on young bones,
      The regular confinement in small stalls
      The gastric ulcers,
      The Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage

      And when the profitability wanes
      for the majority
      the end is a brutal
      slaughterhouse death.

    • Tina says:

      08:11am | 31/10/11

      I wonder how the world would really look like if we implemented all those things these “animal spokesmen” demand. I wouldnt even be able to afford the milk in my morning cereal because we wouldnt have enough cows to produce milk for everyone. And no more eggs on toast. ...

    • Tim says:

      08:32am | 31/10/11

      Tina,
      you wouldn’t have milk because it’s cruel abuse of cows to steal their milk.
      And you wouldn’t have eggs because that’s stealing potential chickens from their mothers.

      You would only be able to eat lentils and tofu.

    • Tina says:

      08:41am | 31/10/11

      Tim

      But they wouldnt be so cruel to take my collection of Italian real leather designer shoes and handbags off me would they? They cant do that. I would take this matter to the human rights commission. Noone with a sane mind separates a woman from her shoes.

    • Babe in the Woods says:

      08:49am | 31/10/11

      But Tim, won’t someone phuleeeze think of the lentil’s children??

    • Sy says:

      07:48pm | 01/11/11

      “fun police”?? I’m quite sure those race horses - more than 80 percent of whom experience exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhaging, among a wealth of other associated health issues - would appreciate having the “fun” being had at their expense, “policed” smile ...so too would those thousands of horses that simply weren’t fast enough and thus alternatively sent to the slaughterhouses to be made into dog food…

    • Bec says:

      09:13am | 02/11/11

      I agree. Imagine all the money gone to waste today. The people who bet and don’t win shit but spend the day purchasing more and more alcohol to get themselves drunk on. Imagine the ridiculous amounts of millions of dollars that will be blown on the Melbourne Cup being spent on feeding those living in famines and third world poverty across the world. Or putting our own homeless Australians into housing with food etc. But no people JUZ LUV 2 GET DRUNK. It’s stupid. I hate the cup. I sound so cynical and also hypocritical when i blow my own money on clothes and new bits and pieces but this day is crazy. People spend hundreds on an outfit to go and gamble and be drunk. It’s horrible day.

    • Tina says:

      05:50am | 31/10/11

      Oh please. Those horses are far too valuable and receive more pampering than the Kardeshian sisters.

      And why do we have to be made feeling guilty for a bit of gambling because there are a bunch of folks out there that cant handle it? Am I not allowed to have a beer either with my bbq because you know someone that is an alcoholic?

    • Fiona says:

      08:48am | 31/10/11

      while they make money for their owners….

    • Tina says:

      09:00am | 31/10/11

      No way! How terrible of them to invest hundreds of thousand of dollars in a racing horse and expecting a return on their investment. I thought this was for charity??

    • Chris says:

      10:57am | 31/10/11

      Yeah Fiona, those horses should be able to keep that money! ANIMAL RIGHTS etc etc.

    • St. Michael says:

      12:31pm | 31/10/11

      “Those horses are far too valuable and receive more pampering than the Kardeshian sisters.”

      For some reason you have now connected, in my mind, the image of Kim Kardashian’s posterior and a riding crop applied to the frontrunner in the Melbourne Cup.  Thanks, you just made my day.

    • egg says:

      03:16pm | 31/10/11

      @tina, i don’t care what you drink at your bbq, but unless you let me treat you like riders treat those horses, don’t give me the innocent “bit of fun” line. it’s a bit of fun to you, it’s a life of servitude, pain and terror for the horses. as long as it doesn’t affect your day, though, huh?

    • Tim says:

      10:07pm | 31/10/11

      Egg, you obviously have.no idea about horse racing if you think that’s the case. A more pampered animal you’re unlikely to find.

    • Sy says:

      07:56pm | 01/11/11

      “Too valuable” and “receive pampering”?? Which horses are you referring to? The less than 1 percent that win their owners the desired monetary prizes? You seem to be forgetting the thousands of other horses being bred to achieve the fastest times possible, and the fact that those which don’t make it to the race track - i.e. the majority of race horses - are not exactly “pampered” per se…That is, if you consider being sent to a slaughterhouse to be made into dog food “pampering”.. but who knows, everyone has a different perspective. For instance, I never knew realised it was customary for the Kardashian sisters to be regularly whipped whilst undergoing such exertion that results in bleeding into their lungs.. nor that they are stabled for most hours of the day, and fed a diet of concentrates which results in formation of gastric ulcers.. but perhaps I’m just uneducated in such matters. Obviously they are considered valuable, though, and hence would receive this treatment. Silly me, what was I thinking?!

    • Mahhrat says:

      05:52am | 31/10/11

      Oh sweet mother of Gok, Sarah. Just because you don’t like it, doesn’t mean nobody else can’t enjoy it.

      I hate horse racing;  I agree with all your points.  But what they do isn’t illegal, nor should it be.

      Sure, educate people on the stupidity of Melbourne Cup day, but trying to set yourself above all these people is simply counter-productive and makes you at least as bad as the behaviour you’re trying to stop.

    • powermax says:

      05:58am | 31/10/11

      First up, it is only a holiday in Victoria and for shop assistants employed by Coles.

      As for slow horses winding up as dog food that is a tremendous waste as the French could tell you. Horses make great BBQ companions and whipping them adds nothing although a good tenderising mallet is sometimes necessary.

    • Disappointed says:

      06:56am | 31/10/11

      You’re all idiots! Great article Sarah! But clearly the ‘Kings’ can’t be swayed - ingnorance really is bliss, for those that are ignorant….

    • Tim says:

      07:40am | 31/10/11

      Ingnorance?

      Nice work idiot.

    • Josh says:

      07:47am | 31/10/11

      When you resort to calling people idiots, you already lose the argument….

    • Disappointed says:

      08:17am | 31/10/11

      Tim, get over yourself, there are things calked ‘typos’ & ‘iPhone’s’... Sorry we can’t all be perfect like you…

      Josh, if you read that article & then have the opinions of those above, then then yes, I will call you an idiot… There is no argument to win… Either you support horseracing or not (in other words, my words, you’re either an idiot or you’re not..)

    • Tim says:

      08:41am | 31/10/11

      Disappointed,
      I don’t care if you make tyopos’s but if you’re going to call other people idiots with nothing to back up your claims, then at least get your insults right.

      The article boils down to a whinge by the author that people like things that she doesn’t and have different values than her.
      Because of this, she thinks these things that she doesn’t like should be banned.
      Well sorry, a free country doesn’t work like that.

    • Nilbog says:

      08:41am | 31/10/11

      Dissapointed = douche smile

      Wanna make out? I don’t care if your are male or female, I’m up for both.

    • Tim says:

      07:46am | 31/10/11

      Actually,
      at any other time of year the author probably couldn’t give a rats about horses, the people who work with them or the industy in general but as a “freelance writer” she can make some money by writing this dribble around Melbourne Cup day.

      I can’t believe people choose to like things that I don’t. And because I don’t like it, it should be banned. wah wah wah.

    • Mahhrat says:

      08:14am | 31/10/11

      Tim wins.

    • Babe in the Woods says:

      08:19am | 31/10/11

      @Tina, I agree.  Wait until late December.  Then it will be a piece on how we shouldn’t give gifts because in the world there are poor people.  So on Christmas day we should sit down and silently contemplate the struggle of the underprivelidged (spelt that wrong).  I hope she doesn’t take a dislike to wine next, otherwise my whole year will be finished.

    • Tina says:

      09:04am | 31/10/11

      Babe

      I think I was six years old and my aunt gave me a piece of paper for Christmas saying she had donated money in my name to some organisation supporting children in Africa. She wanted to show my parents what a spoilt kid I was. I was in tears. No new dress for my barbie.

    • Babe in the Woods says:

      07:53am | 31/10/11

      More fun police.  I am getting so sick of everyone lecturing and taking away any enjoyments.  I am going to dress up, drink probably a little more wine that I should, lose my money on a horse I have never heard of (after getting someonelse to fill out the form).  And I am going to have fun doing it.

    • Tina says:

      08:15am | 31/10/11

      Good on you, honey. Make sure you donate a dollar of your winnings to PETA for better treatment of racing horses.

    • Babe in the Woods says:

      08:37am | 31/10/11

      @Tina, No problems with donating winnings, although it wouldn’t be PETA.  The problem there is I only have losses.  Still, one of these years…...............

    • Emma S says:

      02:39pm | 31/10/11

      If you know that you always lose why do you continue betting….... O_o

    • Babe in the Woods says:

      03:06pm | 31/10/11

      @Emma, it is one day of the year.  I guess I am just like most Australians who have a flutter on the day.  I think the people in the office call it “having a bit of fun”.

    • B says:

      08:20am | 31/10/11

      The scourge of the hectoring wowser rears its familiar head at this time of year as sure as the carnival of betting, glamour and grubby trackside trysts rolls on.  I don’t understand or enjoy horse racing either, but I’ll side with it any day over the fun police, loudly proclaiming their moral superiority as they writhe about in paroxysms of self-righteousness…

    • Anubis says:

      08:43am | 31/10/11

      A kill-joy article written exclusively ofr wowsers. Lighten up ppls. Sarah you need to either get a life or get a man - you are definitely lacking something in your life to draft such a wowserish article.

    • Chris says:

      10:02am | 31/10/11

      1. Its killjoy, not kill-joy;
      2. I assume you mean for, not ofr;
      3. I assume ppls is some form of slack, illiterate, uneducated, ‘smart’ and ‘trendy’ iPhone or text speak for those who can’t afford the extra 2 seconds to put the rest of the characters in;
      4. Your use of the ( - ) hyphen is not required, a full stop ( . ) would have been fine, or even a coma ( , ), providing you could have found a few extra words to make the sentence coherent;
      5. Why would she need a man? And how would this man make up for any loss that she currently has? (Oh, and I am a man, so it’s not a female thing Anubis);
      6. I don’t believe it should have been draft, possibly you mean daft, yet draft would have been what she did before the final piece was published.

      In conclusion, I am not she why she needs to “lighten up” and “get a man” as you so eloquently put it. Maybe you suffer one of several problems:

      1. You only open your mouth to change feet?
      2. You have suffered some sort of irreversible stupefying disease?
      3. Or, your just a f-king idiot!

      Here, the use of the hyphen is acceptable as it is being used to represent letters, you remember, those pesky little things you left out, to replace other letters which make up a word that could be deemed offensive.

    • Tina says:

      10:11am | 31/10/11

      Wow, where there no spaces left in the corporate anti-hyphen-aggression session?

    • Dan says:

      10:11am | 31/10/11

      You’d be a fun bloke at parties Chris

    • Tim says:

      10:32am | 31/10/11

      Chris,
      with regards to 6, Anubis did mean “draft”, not “daft”.
      and,
      “3. Or, your just a f-king idiot!”

      Your? oh, you mean you’re.

      Grammar nazi fail.

    • Tina says:

      10:42am | 31/10/11

      Tim

      Dont drag the nazis in there. Their grammar was pretty good.

    • Anubis says:

      10:47am | 31/10/11

      Oh Goody - I’ve got myself a troll. Poor, poor Chris can’t have much in his/her life if he/she feels obliged to be a Grammar Nazi.

      So sad.

    • Chris says:

      10:57am | 31/10/11

      @Tim No, your or you’re are both perfectly acceptable.

      I am sure he meant draft. Yet draft is incorrect. You cannot, or would you like can’t, draft something which is then published. A draft is what it is, a draft, something that is then reworked, added to, or changed. The final product is then released, or published - as this piece was. You could submit a draft publication asking for comment, however this is not such a document. While you can make comment, the comment will have no effect on the piece. So, draft is not right.

      As for Nazi, I think you might have the wrong concept of what Nazi means, however I am sure you will be capable of doing a search for a definition, and not rely on me to provide one.

      @Dan Ohhh, I’m a ball. I’m a real fun guy, honestly!

      My little rant is nothing but identifying the BS that passes for comment, mine included. Being fun at parties, nah, not important.

      Tim and Tina, assuming you are the same people I have seen in other pieces on The Punch, then all the bleating you have both done in respect of some stories about relevance etc. seems to fly in the face of any criticism of this story.

      Anubis’ neanderthal idea that a woman needs to get laid - it’s clearly the inference - because she might say something he, assuming Anubis is a man, doesn’t like is just staggering. I guess his (or her for that matter) education was left wanting.

      I hope the next time that someone might make such a comment to you Tina (assuming you are female) in your workplace, you just happily reply, “absolutely”, drop your pants and let them show you the proper way in which you should be heard, or in this case respected.

      As for Tim, well he would more than likely be the one to make the comment and come sort you out.

      It’s a shame, that a story about the silliness of Melbourne cup - as for it happening, that’s just a view someone holds - is reduced to a woman needing a fuck, a shag etc. Shame it just can’t be couched in something of a slightly, and note the use of the word slightly, more intelligent retort.

    • Chris says:

      11:13am | 31/10/11

      @Anubis, it has little to do with being a “troll”, whatever you mean by that. I guess that’s one of those funny little names you give people, like Nazi, ha, well done. Although, it did take Tim to mention it and you to follow him.

      Ohhh, and grammar doesn’t need a capital by the way.

      The point of my comment is that if you dan’t want to be seen as f-wit by making comment about someone needing to get laid, then be prepared to be scrutinised a little more to see if it might have been an aberrant mistake, or if it was more closely suited to who you are.

      The latter certainly prevails.

      P.S. Thanks for proving my diagnosis of you.

      Enjoy your day as much as you can.

    • Tina says:

      11:15am | 31/10/11

      *laugh*

      Sorry but I have no split personality. I dont know who Tim is.

    • Tina says:

      11:17am | 31/10/11

      And Chris

      The rest of your post is just appalling.

    • Tim says:

      11:31am | 31/10/11

      Chris,
      how is “your” acceptable?

      In regards to draft:

      http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/draft
      In particular:
      “to draw up in written form; compose.”

      As for the rest of your comment, can I have some of the drugs you’re on?

    • dancan says:

      12:04pm | 31/10/11

      Chris, internet warrior.

    • palone says:

      12:41pm | 31/10/11

      Chris must be laughing at how silly he has made you all look. His command of the Mother language is impeccable. He reads, then re-reads. Not hard. He is truly my type of person.
      Chris, having said all of that would you explain why a “coma” is necessary to make Anubis’s post coherent? A coma? Plus a ‘few’ extra words? What are you trying to say, young fellow?
      “...I am not she why she needs…”? Again, you’ve made me look silly now for supporting you.
      And, “You only open your mouth to change feet”, is a reference to an oral comment, not a written one. I know that Anubis is quite intelligent, and no doubt quite agile, but changing one’s feet whilst typing a Punch-post is, I’m sure, quite beyond him.
      And you mustn’t write, “Your a fucking idiot”. That’s what a moron would write, and you’re not a moron are you?
      And a hyphen is not properly used to represent letters that are for some reason “left out”. That little bloke is called an “apostrophe”. We discussed him last week, remember?
      And now I must retract my earlier criticism of your critics, and confess to being completely and utterly wrong when I stated that you were “impeccably” correct. I should have just said that you are a complete and utter fool.
      Sorry guys.

    • Jennifer says:

      01:44pm | 31/10/11

      Chris - i’m waving at you with my pinky finger. We all know what that means

    • I hate pies says:

      04:51pm | 31/10/11

      ...I can’t believe I just read that whole thread.
      By the way, what a wowser! Those poor little racehorses are the best looked after, fittest, happiest animals on the planent. They’re born to run; hence they love to run. As racehorses they get to run all time; it suits them perfectly.

    • Harry says:

      08:45am | 31/10/11

      Horses die at Pony Club, Equestrian events and Polo as well, should we ban that? Its funny how the RSPCA approved the design of the padded whips!

    • Fred says:

      08:48am | 31/10/11

      It’s meant to be stupid, stupid is often fun. It’s a good perve and if you win some money it’s good. That’s probably one of the reasons why it’s only one day of the year, because we conveniently forget how rich the bookies and so on are in the hopes of scabbing a few dollars our way.

      How about cruelty to humans? We get to work for about 40 years then die.

      Have fun reading the encyclopedia.

    • Babe in the Woods says:

      09:07am | 31/10/11

      I just watched an old Mr Ed rerun.  I started to giggle.  Fortunately, a person passing by took the time to sit down and educate me about how giggling at such is in fact perpetuating the cruelty of animals.  He went on to explain how Mr Ed is surely now inside old Rin Tin Tin’s belly, or Lassie’s (a bit of uncertainty there).  He also then expanded to explain how all horses are mercilessly flogged and ultimately chowed down on by rabid chows ( I like that ).  Then over a bowl of lentils, wearing ony our homespun sackcloth, I was informed that when I had my Weet Bix that morning I had deprived some poor calf his morning moo breakfast and had in fact tortured a fragile fresian.  I am sickened by my appaling callousness.  I am mortified.  I have seen the light.  I now agree with Sarah, and have immediately torn up my lottery ticket also as I can see that it is also continuing the cycle of misery.  My wine has been poured away and my shoes replaced by thatched reed tied with plain string.  Ah, the joy of being in this lucky country where people just live to have fun.  (And yes, lots of spelling errors in there, which I am sure some superior person will gleefully point out).

    • Anubis says:

      09:45am | 31/10/11

      But Babe - what about all the pain you are inflicting on those poor plants that produce the reeds for your footwear, and the lentils for your meals? Plants have feelings too, you heartless, heartless person. smile

    • Babe in the Woods says:

      10:13am | 31/10/11

      @Anubis, yes I had considered that.  For a while I contemplated trotting around naked, but then I considered the damage to the psyche of the poor passing pedestrians.  Mind you, it would give a whole new meaning to casual Friday.

    • DriveByHeckler says:

      09:47am | 31/10/11

      “Here we go again”  Exactly.  The race that Melbourne thinks stops a nation, is a tedious and predictable parade of old dusty PR/news items in the same order, with the same scripts, year after year after year after…. .  The groupthink compliance is Stepford scary and that behavior provides easy meat for the the industry that invented insider trading.  The Melbourne Cup is a depressing display of thoughtless ritual attended by the easily led. 
      Enjoy - I know you will, because you’ve already been programmed to.

    • Tim says:

      10:01am | 31/10/11

      You poor little unique snowflake.

    • DriveByJeckler says:

      10:12am | 31/10/11

      @Tim - Don’t forget to watch Current Affair to build up your excitement.

    • Tina says:

      10:14am | 31/10/11

      You really sound fun to be around…. yay….

    • Babe in the Woods says:

      10:37am | 31/10/11

      But DriveBy, I get to wear a hat!!

    • Tim says:

      10:40am | 31/10/11

      ACA? What have they got to do with the price of fish?

      And anyway what are you doing here on The Punch, a subsidary of the evil News Corp?

      Shouldn’t you be off occupying something?

    • DriveByHeckler says:

      11:08am | 31/10/11

      @Tim I’ll leave you peace so you can huff and puff at anyone who doesn’t want to relive 1950 over and over with you.  Enjoy all the dated, cliched media items, oh and the race. I’m sure you will.

      @Babe in the Woods - You win.

    • Tim says:

      11:33am | 31/10/11

      haha,
      1950? sorry wasn’t alive back then, was it a good year?
      as for huffing and puffing, I suggest you re-read your first comment.

    • sunny says:

      09:57am | 31/10/11

      What about a fascinators-for-whips exchange between the ladies and the jockeys. Here’s how it works - down the home straight the jockey puts on the fascinator and suddenly the horse thinks it has a giant bumble bee or paper wasp on its back and bolts - hopefully towards the finish line. As they no longer need their whips the jockeys can hand these over to the ladies. Hot chicks with riding crops - grr woof yowww ! And everyone’s happy.

    • Anna C says:

      10:12am | 31/10/11

      I’m surprised that Wowser Wilke hasn’t tried to ban the Melbourne Cup yet. He’ll probably try next year assuming that Labor is still in government this time next year.

    • Adriana says:

      11:12am | 01/11/11

      What a great idea - let’s get Mr. Wilkie on to it. Thanks for that wink

    • Fast asleep says:

      11:12am | 31/10/11

      Who cares about women’s fashions at horse races? Only rich male chauvinist pigs love this female pornography .

    • Babe in the Woods says:

      12:04pm | 31/10/11

      Um, I care.  Is that OK with you?

    • Tina says:

      12:26pm | 31/10/11

      Me! I love watching dresses and shoes and ideas and combinations other girls come up with.  Its a festival for girls!

    • I hate pies says:

      04:56pm | 31/10/11

      I’ll give you a tip (no pun intended) Fast asleep, men couldn’t care less what they’re wearing; only women do. Men just like to perve. We’re simple creatures.

    • ibast says:

      11:17am | 31/10/11

      I’ve never understood how horse racing is glamorous.  The few times I’ve been to the races it’s seemed quite the opposite.

    • St. Michael says:

      12:32pm | 31/10/11

      ...what, that only glamorous horses are racing?

    • Babe in the Woods says:

      01:19pm | 31/10/11

      @St Michael, no, it is Kim Kardashian trotting around with the bit between her teeth that is glamarous.  Unless she is a nag too.

    • RED says:

      02:16pm | 31/10/11

      Yep, ban horse racing, but please find me and the other tens of thousands of people in some way employed by the industry a new job. While we’re at it make sure you ban alcohol because that can be bad, no problems only a few hundred thousand new jobs needed there. Actually we shouldn’t be having any fun at all when someone somewhere else in the world is worse off. Better close down all business demolish our houses and live in tents.
      Seems weird you’re anti horse racing but more than happy to get up on your own high horse.

    • ibast says:

      03:16pm | 31/10/11

      Oh please.  Horse racing would be lucky to employ more than a few thousand people on a full time basis.  The fact is it negatively effects many, many more people than that through gambling addiction.

      I wasn’t going to comment seriously here because I didn’t want to buy into the cruelty debate, but if you are going to bring up the social aspect I’ll make comment.

      Do you really feel comfortable that one persons livelihood is based on the misery of another family?  Horse racing is an industry that facilitates the taking of money from families.  It is not a positive sum.

    • Tim says:

      04:12pm | 31/10/11

      Ibast,
      how do you feel making up an argument with nothing to support it other than your inherent bias?

      Stats on this please.

    • Kate says:

      03:50pm | 31/10/11

      I don’t like soccer. I think it promotes gambling (on whether or not someone will actually score) and cruelty (to those who are forced to watch soccer). Maybe we should ban that, too?
      I’d never go to the races and I don’t get the appeal either but that doesn’t mean it’s a blight on society and needs to be banned. It’s a bit of fun for those who like it and even if you hate it, you get a public holiday. I can’t see too much wrong with that.

    • Dan says:

      04:05pm | 31/10/11

      Yawn - can you wowsers just go and start your own miserable little colony somewhere and leave the rest of us alone…NOW?

      We don’t sit around berating you for being a bunch of annoying happiness-sucking wastes of oxygen, because that is your choice. Just as it is our choice to enjoy the colour, the stupidity the beauty and the craziness of life in all its glory. But when you have to try at every opportunity to make our lives as miserable as yours, just so you don’t feel so pathetic, well its time to give you a taste of your own medicine.

      How many of these horses would even be born without horse racing? I know a few racehorses and they are all very proud, very happy animals. You people talking about terrified little things running around have no idea what you are talking about, but I guess that never stopped you before. Pity that.

    • Sharon says:

      07:07pm | 31/10/11

      The human ignorance, avarice and apathy
      for the magnificent horses
      and the cruel realities they endure

      the whipping
      the frequent stall confinement
      the stress on young bones
      the overbreeding for the greedy syndicate bogans
      and the cruel fate that awaits
      the hundreds of unprofitable innocents
      every year ....
      the brutal slaughterhouse end.

    • Kate says:

      08:52pm | 31/10/11

      Using lots of
      line breaks
      doesn’t make what you’re saying
      more meaningful.

    • Carol Joyce says:

      06:37pm | 31/10/11

      the ugly truth about spring racing and the Melbourne Cup is that I am yet to find anyone who is interested in the spring carnival or the Melbourne cup in 2011!
      Sad but true!

    • Steve says:

      09:42pm | 31/10/11

      Yeah, horse-racing is a truly bogan sport. That’s why trashy celebrities like Paris Hilton and this year, Kim Kardashian, are paid to attend. Packs of spray-tanned females and guys in cheap suits getting pissed and shouting at animals being flogged…lol….it’s sad really. I used to work in the racing industry and it’s corrupt, unprofitable and on its way out. Still at least Sarah Jessica Parker is coming this year so that’s good for a laugh…

    • Stephen says:

      10:08pm | 31/10/11

      Sarah Jessica Parker’s actually in the race this year isn’t she?  teehee

      Seriously though, couldn’t agree with you more Steve.  It’s just trash.  Kath and Kim portrayed it best… ‘mum you’ve got a bit of carrot stuck in your fascinator!’

    • Belle says:

      09:40am | 01/11/11

      Steve you are so right. The industry is corrupt, disgusting and a waste of Australian money. How can we have all these government ads warning us about alcohol consumption, and problem gambling, but then have a government sanctioned event where the entire aim of it is to drink til you puke, and waste money betting on animals? The government may as well announce that next year we will have a Cockfighting day! I used to work in the industry also, and I was appalled by the treatment of the horses. I now have 3 ex-racehorses that I got off slaughtertrucks, and from the doggers yard and sales. I will NEVER give the racing industry my money, and I urge others to do the same, and boycott the races. This is not about being the “fun police” it is about the fact that 18,000 horses are slaughtered every year, and even when they are alive they are beaten and abused. There’s just no excuse for that.

    • LilyT says:

      12:09pm | 01/11/11

      Steve and Bella are right.  It’s not about trying to spoil people’s fun, it’s about animal exploitation and abuse.  I simply do not give a damn if bogans like the ones we see here defending it - and without realising it, proving the point of the article - drink themselves into a coma or gamble their life savings away.  If women want to “frock up”, get drunk and vomit all over themselves, have at it.  If the men want to perve while they drink and gamble their wages away, fine.  JUST LEAVE THE ANIMALS OUT OF IT.  Those who claim it’s all just a bit of fun and whining that they should be able to do what they want, when they want, and stuff the consequences for the animals who suffer for their entertainment deserve a good, hard kick up the a*se.  Clearly none of them have a clue about what goes on in the racing industry behind closed doors, but something tells me that even if they did, they’d still not care about anyone but themselves.

    • Maggie says:

      09:41am | 01/11/11

      Good on you, Sarah. Far too many people who watch the Melbourne Cup fail to spare a thought of the thousands of racehorses each year who don’t make the grade. Not to mention the young horses made to race each year before they are full developed.

    • Shoes in hand says:

      09:45am | 01/11/11

      Yet another very simplistic piece on the “evils” of the racing industry! This is an industry that employs thousands across Australia - and are constantly updating and amending their regulations and rules to accommodate the animal rights lobbyists. There are only a very few (elite) owners who will make their fortune from horse racing - but most owners never get into it thinking that will happen! They love the excitement of the races and the community they have when they go as a group to cheer on their horse. The greater majority of horses are owned by syndicates - not idividuals.  Yes some horses end up at the abbatoir and their are unscrupulous people within the industry (just like every other industry across the board). However, the greater number of ex-racehorses go on to have a second career as Pony clubbers, eventers, dressage horses etc. They are sold for a modest sum and re-trained to go on have a great life! So a bit of balance into the argument would be appreciated! Racehorses account for only 30% of the horse population! Therefore there are an awful lot of horses sent to the knackery whom are NOT racehorses. Where’s the exposay on those?? Oh thats right….they don’t grab headlines!!

    • Reg and Lorraine Hogan says:

      10:07am | 01/11/11

      Well done Sarah, such a way with words. We have followed your feature articles for many years. Particularly the links sent to us by Doug McKenzie (sure the name rings a bell).
      Keep up the good work, particularly the leaning towards vegetarianism.

    • Rachel says:

      11:24am | 01/11/11

      Oh. My. Goodness. The nerve of Sarah to step outside the box and question the status quo! I mean, doesn’t she know that being Australian is about conformity and always putting our own desires first!? And how outrageous that she may consider the welfare of these horses to be more important than our god-damn Australian right to gamble and go out and get trashed! Pfft. But seriously, sarcasm aside, the comments above are a clear indication of the lack of intellectual thought that goes on in our society.  At the end of the day, the majority of Australians care about animal welfare. And the majority of people who watch/attend the Melbourne Cup would be uncomfortable with the fact that 18,000 perfectly healthy racing horses are put down every year because they are no longer ‘fast’ enough’. Call me a ‘wowser’ all you want but I will never consider the slaughter of thousands of beautiful horses to be ‘fun’.

    • muggins says:

      11:37am | 01/11/11

      boo hoo, someone threatening your petty attempt at fun, ooh some booze and some slags, sulking about how people might interrupt it with some interjections of truth about the disgusting consequences of your participation.
      the 18 000 horses a year that are ground up for dogfood thanks to your funding, they probably dont have as much fun either hey. but who cares about them, as long as you have your fun.
      if you cant face up to the truth, then dont participate in it.
      i hope any of you watch this http://www.earthlings.com/earthlings/video-full.php
      be aware of your situation, then participate in it, then you’ll know exactly what the consequences are for some and may not find it such a priority.

    • muggins says:

      12:02pm | 01/11/11

      .. try not to blame those who actually care for other animals’ wellbeing, they are doing it for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
      it freakin annoys and disgusts me too, i like my fun, i’m really annoyed (and that is understating it) when i find out yet another industry thats tainting something i thought was fine with its underhanded cruelty.
      take it out on them, make them reform their practices so we can all enjoy it, without the underriding guilt thanks to knowing it has come at the cost of the pain and slaughter of thousands of horses. it shouldnt have to be.

    • Neil says:

      12:11pm | 01/11/11

      You can’t make dog food out of thin air

    • Humanist & Animal Welfare Advocate says:

      12:20pm | 01/11/11

      Thanks for the article Sarah, so true. I’ll ignore all the belligerent keyboard warrior comments that followed. They all have their heads up their arses…

      @muggins http://www.earthlings.com/earthlings/video-full.php is EXCELLENT! Still haven’t made it all the way through the movie though…very intense…

    • horse lover says:

      12:34pm | 01/11/11

      I grew up with a horse trainer as a father, and not all racing people are rich or make big money at the game. The horses were treated like babies, and got more pampering than the kids. Have you ever asked someone in the racing industry why they got involved in the first place? My father was orphaned as a child, shunted around relatives til an uncle got him a job with a trainer. Looking back I think the horses were something for dad to give his affection to, and get it returned. They didn’t shunt him around from one to the other, and he felt safe in the environment.  The movie “The Horse Whisperer”  didn’t impress us at all, all the rogue horses in the district ended up at our place and became reformed characters. Sure you’ve got hereditary trainers like Cummings, Waterhouse, Hayes etc., but there’s a lot of people in the industry who just love horses.

    • Clare Mann Psychologist says:

      01:12pm | 01/11/11

      Whilst there is absolutely nothing wrong with people wanting to enjoy themselves, the reality is that horse racing is enormously cruel on the horses - I believe the statistic is that 17,000 horses die each year in Australia due to horse racing - a tragic figure which, if those 17,000 were people, would never have happened - the sport would have been banned after one person died.

      We must learn that we are NOT God’s favourite creatures.  To exploit animals in any way - as is evident from our current political debates on factory farming and live exports - will not be tolerated by conscious citizens as it impacts on the moral integrity of a country.  There is a huge cost of behaving in this way (and particularly ignoring the cruelty perpetrated on animals in sport) that goes beyond that to animals - as Ghandi said and Barack Obama reiterated, words to be effect that ’ The moral progress and integrity of a national can be measured by how it treats its animals’. 

      It’s time for change and to demand more conscious leadership in how we must stop exploiting the planet and those we share it with.

    • Trudi says:

      02:07pm | 01/11/11

      There are only approx 13000 foals born each year (for BOTH galloping and harness racing!). I think you need to check your figures!! If 17000 horses died from horse racing there would be horses dying in EVERY race! Please check your figures!

    • Tam says:

      02:36pm | 01/11/11

      The Bogans have gone quiet… Funny that wink

    • Bree Anderson says:

      04:35pm | 01/11/11

      Surely, it’s time Australians were encouraged to stop their gambling. And if they are to gamble on anything, then let it not be an animal, but on an actual sport where humans compete with each other and the losers arent dead by the following year for not making a profit.

    • Kazzak says:

      05:21pm | 01/11/11

      @ Trudi….....the 17,000 horse figure is how many horses die each year, sent to slaughter houses after they are no longer winning. What do you actually thinks happens to all the horses ??????

    • Helen says:

      01:47pm | 02/11/11

      Here we go again…throughbred racing is NOT cruel. These horses from dawn to dusk are cared for by devoted horse-nuts. I’m fortunate enough to have travelled alongside brumbies in the wild, and spent time behind the scenes with racehorses. The thoroughbreds have a far, far better deal. As for the whipping, these are not your standard horses, you touch their sides with your little finger and their whole body quivers - they are finely tuned, amazing athletes and they were born to run. They love to run. They are not getting flogged by the whip as you or I might envisage - it’s a whole different world. I’m amazed how worked up these “animal welfare” people get over the wrong issues. Thoroughbred horses being mistreated? How about you google Joseph Kony, the ICC and child soldiers - that’s a worthy issue, not ‘saving’ racehorses in our spoilt, middle-class, whine-about-everything society.

    • TheWorldHasGoneToSh1t says:

      04:59pm | 07/11/11

      God I love this post!

    • Suzannavich says:

      02:16pm | 07/11/11

      Just wanted to point out regarding ‘problem gambling”? The expenditure only skyrockets on one day a year - where are these problem gamblers the rest of the year? It is shocking regarding the slow horses being turned into dog food but the ‘sport of kings’ used to be small and elitist, it’s the common man who made it bigger by wanting what the rich had (a problem still here today) . And who said you had to drink until you puked? or just another Friday/Saturday night? work hard, play hard and all that. Until the world population stops wanting stuff we will always have these issues. How much money has gone overseas for the less fortunate over the past 4 decades? surely something should have gone right by now? (I do sponsor a child in Kenya). world issues will never end!! Just have a little fun (by the way I am ex-military so I understand the being forced to exercise until you either puke or blow a lung - there are more punishments in this world other than whipping to cause a bit of pain, try upsetting a PTI and see what you get).
      I might have to let my guide dog run free as I feel guilty about harnessing him to a life of servitude… smile
      PS hope my punctuation and spelling is acceptable..if not then don’t read it.

    • TheWorldHasGoneToSh1t says:

      04:37pm | 07/11/11

      Dear Author,
      you’re an idiot. You obviously have no idea about the racing industry or the people who support it. The vast majority of people who are involved in racing and have a passion for it love the animals. Yeah, let’s ditch the whole organization and allow it to go underground. Pretty sure you would see more cruelty then. As for whipping a horse causing it distress… FFS! Know WTF you are talking about before you write an article. Instead of relying on academics with no clue outside of statistical data for your “backup”, talk to the people who know! Any jockey will tell you the use of the whip aiding a win is relative to how the horse is travelling. Sometimes it works, other times its best to go hands and heels. As for it “hurting” the horse… OMFG! Have you actually ever felt one of those whips?
      Seriously, this is one of the dumbest articles I’ve ever read. For real!

    • not a master says:

      08:39pm | 25/11/11

      I’ve seen BDSM slaves whipped harder then any racing horse ever got.. and the slaves come back for more - so it can’t be that bad smile

      AND wild horses love to run - have you ever seen a documentary on them? they love it - in their own natural environment too - they bolt around following the leader all day and love it..

      and yes, I’m a ex VRC worker and no I didn’t put a bet on - nor do I give a flying f*&k about the races.. ( after working the big day for so many years i don’t want to be reminded of that race day lol )

      So what do i love about that day? One: that a private industry association can pull it off and make the govnt give the entire state a day off to gamble on a bloody horse race! and Two: it’s my birthday so it lands me a day off on my birthday every few years, like this year raspberry score!

    • Al says:

      01:03pm | 01/11/12

      Melbourne women are mostly butt ugly, it’s a shame ths event isn’t held somewhere else.

 

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