melbourne cup vegan

Hey Wild One,

Take a seat—this is a tough topic today.

Ever heard of “wastage”?

According to the horse racing industry, this is a word for withdrawing horses prematurely from racing.

That definition is sugarcoating an ugly truth.

In reality, “wastage” refers to sending horses to slaughter once they stop making money for their owners.

“Only 300 in every 1000 [thoroughbred] foals born [in Australia] will actually end up racing, with just a small proportion of those racehorses proving profitable”

— Bidda Jones, RSPCA Chief Scientist

You can do the math.

Racing is an undeniably thrilling sport; watching those incredibly powerful, graceful creatures sprint for the finish line captivates millions of viewers every season. The industry employs thousands of people in Australia, too, and many will defend it beyond the course of reason.

If you stop to think, though, you’ll realize that the racing industry is riding on the breeding industry, which brings thousands of potential racehorses into the world each year (though, it’s important to note, forced breeding). The problem, of course, is that many of those horses will never see a racetrack.

As many as two-thirds of horses bred to race will never do so.

Where do they go instead? Investigations conducted over several years have revealed that many of these horses—some barely a year old, some injured or past their prime—are brought to livestock markets, and from there to the slaughterhouse.

After slaughter in one of two abattoirs in Australia, these animals become dog food, or are exported to countries like France and Belgium for human consumption. Trust me, no one is thinking about racetrack fame or derby titles once they step into these places. The conditions these horses are kept in make any such thoughts impossible. Undernourished, uncleaned, uncared for, they await their fate in abandoned paddocks. 

I’m sorry to tell you that what I’m describing is not an exception or a mistake. This is the racing industry’s retirement plan for its magnificent athletes.

This is the racing industry’s big secret—they don’t want us to know, but it’s time to bring it into the light. “Wastage” is just one more symptom of our modern, disposable culture. If the racing industry truly loves its four-legged stars, then it needs to start acting like it. Because throwing somethone away once they stop making money is not love. Ignoring the welfare of these creatures once they step off the racetrack is not love. Sending horses to the slaughter house is not love.

It’s time to bring love and compassion into this sport.

What can we do, you ask? We can raise awareness. (Visit this website to learn more about the racing industry’s dark side.) We can stop spending our money at racetracks. We can turn off the television. We can speak up—that’s why I’m sharing this information with you today.

Thanks for caring.