Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Australia’s most famous horse race, the Melbourne Cup, has been won for an unprecedented third time in a row by six year old mare Makybe Diva.

It is interesting to contrast this historic win with a small protest that occurred at the same time, in Melbourne’s Federation Square. The severed head of a horse was used as the centrepiece of a demonstration against horse racing by activists Respect For Horses. Of course exactly how respect is demonstrated by parading about with a bodypart from some anonymous nag isn’t immediately apparent, but no doubt it made sense to them.

What they fail to understand, however, is that people don’t get far in the racing industry without a love and respect for horses. Horse racing is really one gigantic lovefest for a certain species of large, sensitive, temperamental mammal. No one who witnessed the reaction of Makybe Diva’s jockey, Glen Boss, recorded after his (and her) win could honestly believe that he did not respect and even adore his horse.

The sad truth, for well-intentioned animal liberationists at least, is that jockeys, trainers and strappers love horses. They just have a more practical way of showing it.


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