The news of yet another horse death in the Melbourne Cup held yesterday has disgusted local animal rights campaigners.
The Armidale chapter of Animal Welfare League (AWL) volunteers was busy yesterday hosting the NSW AWL mobile veterinary bus at the Armidale Showground to provide free health checks, microchipping and vaccinations for concession cardholders in the region. More than 40 people took advantage of the opportunity, and the bus will service more today.
A group of local animal rights advocates opened the Armidale chapter of the AWL in May.
Following the death of the 2020 Melbourne Cup favourite Anthony Van Dyck yesterday the national AWL Facebook page was awash with comments.
"It was absolutely heartbreaking for us," said AWL spokesperson Chloe Craff
"We were overwhelmed with how many people were shocked and horrified at yet another death on the field because it just keeps happening."
Ms Craff said the AWL official position is to oppose horse racing as a whole.
"The welfare outcomes are quite tragic, the animals are overbred and not many actual horses make it onto the track and then the outcomes for those horses that do ( if they don't die on the track) is uncertain," she said.
"What does their retirement plan look like? There has been a lot of horrific footage being released of them ending up in knackeries and abattoirs and for these majestic animals to end up as pet food is horrifying to us."
The AWL is lobbying for retirement plans to ensure horses have a life after their career and to improve the welfare outcome of racehorses across the country.
"We are very happy to see that more and more people are boycotting the Melbourne Cup to run their own events to support animal welfare," Ms Craff said.
"There are events now being held under the banner 'Nup to the Cup " where people are still encouraged to dress up and socialise but instead of having a bet they are donating to an animal welfare group or sanctuary that is involved with rescuing retired racehorses.
"We also encourage anyone with an employer that holds a sweep to see if some of the money raised can be donated to a welfare group that helps horses so there is some kind of benefit going back to these horses as opposed to just using them for entertainment and gambling. "
Animal welfare groups across Australia are calling for an investigation into the death of high-profile Melbourne Cup runner Anthony Van Dyck, who had to be euthanised after failing to finish the race.
The five-year-old stallion is the seventh Melbourne Cup death in as many years.