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Race carnage

Dear Editor,
This week, two young female jockeys died after falls, one at Cranbourne in Victoria and the other in Darwin.
Horseracing's continuing bloodbath continues to shock and horrify even those who profit from it. A former jockey who had to retire with brain damage after a fall in 2014, in which another rider was killed, wrote that "sometimes the price of this industry seems too high". And humans are not the only victims of this vile industry.  On average, one horse will die on Australian racetracks every three days.
Why all this carnage? To entertain and extract money from the public. Racing is a business, and racehorses and jockeys their raw materials. Racehorses regularly suffer from injuries, lameness, and exhaustion. Horses are whipped and forced to run at break neck speeds and may be given painkillers, muscle relaxants, and anti-inflammatory drugs to keep them running. All this leads to falls, broken legs and death.
Any death on the racetrack is tragic and unnecessary. But at least jockeys have the choice to be involved. For most of the horses, except for the tiny minority who win big money, there is no choice but a cruel, painful, and untimely death.
Desmond Bellamy
Special Projects Coordinator
PETA Australia
PO Box 2352
Byron Bay, NSW 2481
+61 411 577 416