Is horse racing an act of animal cruelty or a prestigious Australian pastime?

The discussion surrounding the ethics of horse racing is raging across Australia following the death of two horses who competed in the Melbourne Cup.

Shortly after the race, favourite Admire Rakti collapsed and died in the stalls while fellow race horse Araldo broke his leg on a fence after being surprised by a crowd member waving a flag. Araldo was was taken to the University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital for surgery, but sadly they were unable to mend his fractures and he was euthanised.

The RSPCA has spoken out about the loss of the two horses, calling it a timely reminder regarding the cruelty of the sport.

“We understand that in today’s Melbourne Cup, the favourite, Admire Rakti, collapsed and died and that Araldo was also seriously injured soon after the race,” the RSPCA said in a statment. “This is a tragic outcome for both horses and we expect there to be a full and transparent investigation undertaken into both incidents.Events like these are a stark reminder to the community of the real risks to horses associated with racing.

“Sadly, injury and death are the price some horses pay for our entertainment in a sport that puts intense pressure on animals to perform to the limits of their endurance.”

Araldo’s trainer Michael Moroney said in a statement that his team were devastated by the loss.

“They’ve run 150 Melbourne Cups and nothing like that has happened before,” he says. “It’s shattering for my owners, my staff and myself. We have just lost a great young stayer who was lightly raced and had just run seventh in the Cup. My staff are shattered. Everyone here is sticking together. We don’t blame anyone.”

What do you think? Should horse racing be banned? Vote in our poll and let us know what you think in the comments below.

UPDATE: The poll has closed, and the results are in. The nays (or should that be ‘neighs’?) have it — 41.27 per cent of you don’t think horse racing should be banned, and just 25.04 per cent of you think it should. 32.8 per cent of you think it shouldn’t be banned, but changes do need to be made, and .9 per cent of you weren’t sure. Let’s revisit this one after the next Melbourne Cup…