RSPCA Australia joins Australians across the nation in being deeply saddened by the death of The Cliffsofmoher following his injury during the first 600 metres of today’s Melbourne Cup race.
The four-year-old stallion is said to have suffered a right shoulder fracture, and was consequently euthanased on track.
The Cliffsofmoher is the sixth horse to die as a result of the Melbourne Cup since 2013, highlighting the dark reality of what is otherwise lauded as a national day of celebration and good cheer.
“Our thoughts are with animal lovers across the country who have been affected by this loss, and confronted by the very real risks posed by racing to the horses involved,” said RSPCA Australia spokesperson Jane Speechley.
“RSPCA Australia has long voiced its concerns about the welfare of racehorses, including the use of inhumane devices such as whips and tongue ties, as well as the risk to injury and death during races.
“Today’s tragedy is a stark reminder of the risks these horses face every time they run, and highlights that behind the gloss and glamour of Cup celebrations there is a dark reality,” said Ms Speechley.
“Whilst it’s important to acknowledge the death of The Cliffsofmoher, it is equally as important to be aware of the pain and distress experienced by other runners, who have survived the Melbourne Cup today,
“In that field alone, horses were hit with whips several hundred times at least, with the highest number of hits occurring in the final 100 metres, when they are already tired,
“We’re seeing a growing number of Australians who feel uncomfortable about watching horse racing, and tragic incidents like these provide a catalyst for that concern,” said Ms Speechley.
“The racing industry has much work to do across industry standards and enforceable regulations, to meet community expectations and care for the welfare of the animals involved,” she said.