HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [9.53 pm]: Today, of course, we had another Melbourne Cup, and we saw another horse killed. This year’s death was Anthony Van Dyck, an Irish horse, who was taken from the track in an ambulance after his fetlock was fractured during the race. It makes for pretty awful viewing. Of course, as a result, the horse had to later be euthanased. Last year Rostropovich’s pelvis was fractured during the Melbourne Cup but luckily—if we can call it luck—the effort was made to save him. There have now been seven horses killed in the cup day festival since the 2013 Melbourne Cup, six from injuries sustained during the cup race itself.

Every year, we go into Melbourne Cup day knowing that there is a really good chance a horse will be severely injured and a good chance that a horse will die. As a community, we apparently consider—I do not—that to be an okay trade-off for the chance to wear a fancy hat for the day. I think we can do better. We do not need to consider this to be entertainment. Horseracing has been in the news a lot over the last week. The spectrum of the incredible cruelty that we saw in abattoirs in Queensland where retired racehorses were slaughtered last year has been raised again. Allegations were made in the Victorian Parliament that racehorses have once again been slaughtered in New South Wales, despite the state having a ban on the practice. Although Western Australia is just getting started on properly tracking our racehorses post-retirement, and has no such ban in place on slaughtering, we are going to have to keep a very close eye on it. Just last month, a study was released that found whipping provides no benefit to the movement on course, interference, or jockey behaviour. It showed that whips are not needed. A jockey today was subject to a penalty for overly whipping his horse.

More and more, we are frankly recognising that the tradition of racing animals has animal cruelty at the heart of it. We should not be racing animals—greyhounds or horses. I would rather see humans running around a track; let us see how that goes. We should not accept the incredibly high ratio of injuries per race. I have spoken before about the hideous rate of injuries for greyhounds. Nearly 50 per cent of greyhounds are injured while racing. Regarding the Melbourne Cup, I am one of the growing number of Western Australians who are starting to say “Nup to the Cup”. I think we should be looking at banning horseracing in its entirety. We really need to reconsider whether subjecting these beautiful horses to such horrific rates of injury and having them die in the name of entertainment is something we think is worth pursuing.


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