Every year I am dumbfounded by the seemingly educated people who celebrate The Melbourne Cup. Do I secretly judge you as you chow down your champagne in the office and watch the race that stops the nation? You bet.

But you can count your lucky stars that that is the only bet I make on Melbourne Cup day. Am I really the only party pooper that believes our excuse to let loose can be celebrated in other forms?

I’m actually glad that I don’t have to engage in social normalcies this year with working from home. And before you think it, I am not on a moral high horse either. Now, just the fact that there is a phrase in the English language that represents someone’s values as too righteous in comparison to a horse should tell you that we should treat these creatures better. Because hey, they do deserve better.

Image of horse racing at the Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup is symptomatic of everything wrong with this country

Want to know a secret of mine? Horses are pretty much my one and only fear. One of my earliest memories was falling off a horse on my Great Uncles farm. I vividly remember hitting my head. Another terrible time that makes my stomach churn was up in the Blue Mountains when I was about seven. The horse I was saddled on had decided to chuck a temper tantrum and bucked with all of its might. The horse minder said that I was lucky to have survived.

I am not exactly trusting of them and I am sure that they are not trusting of me either. Because truth be told, they know that humans put them into bad situations. And you know what? Even though they scare the bajeebus out of me. I still wouldn’t place bets on their ultimate demise. Can we just not celebrate animals being flogged for the purpose of having a few wines and beers? It grosses me out that in this day and age, this is still considered normal.

Am I a vegetarian or vegan? No. Do the true animal lovers of the world think I’m a hypocrite? Probably. Though I don’t think you need to have a strict diet or set of moral guidelines to actually know that the treatment of horses for human entertainment is quite preposterous and well, sickening – when really thought about. So please, I urge you to actually think about it this Melbourne Cup and question why we allow for this to happen still in 2020.

Sure, horse racing is a billion-dollar industry. Though at what cost do people feel the need to throw their money on something so cruel? It might be considered a “tradition” in our culture, but you know what? So was sacrificing a person a day to keep the world still running “smoothly” in ancient Aztec culture. Just because you slap a pretty bow on an ugly truth does not make the lie any more appealing. 

So this year, when your colleagues take time off work to watch that race, keep in mind that a horse will likely die.

If you’re open-minded, why don’t you gather your office “betting” money and give it to a charity in need. Maybe it’ll be an animal-related charity, or maybe it’ll be for a cause that is close to one of your colleague’s hearts.

Let’s reach a little deeper and be a lot better as a society. Let’s ditch the tackiness of fascinators and start helping and rather than betting, donating to a real and worthy cause.

Call up your local animal shelter and donate some needed money to keep animals safe, or better yet, if money is not something that you can donate, give them some of your time.

Animals all need our love and entertainment too.