There’s a Hole in my Childhood Cloud Nine

This is something I posted on my Facebook page a few hours ago, in the light of the deaths of two horses during today’s Melbourne Cup Race.

I cannot call myself an “activist”. I am not “active” in any sense of the word, because I don’t go to rallies, I don’t go to protests, I usually don’t write long posts about how I feel towards these issues, and just because I am really, very physically inactive.

What I’m saying is that this sort of written outburst is rare for me. I don’t consider myself well-informed on MOST political, ethical and religious issues mainly because I find them difficult to understand, and I am fortunate enough to not have to come in contact with those struggles every day.

However, this year’s Melbourne Cup really drew the line for me. It was not cruelty behind the scenes, nor cruelty weeks before or days post-race. It was ON THE DAY where one horse collapsed and died, and one had to be euthanised due to being terrified and breaking its leg. Meanwhile, the spectators made news because they were drunk, rowdy, and just disgusting in general.

I don’t want to override Michelle Payne’s win, but I cannot stand to see images such as this (see below) and stand by.

photo taken by Emily Jones, link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=993747713996957&set=a.260419390663130.60880.100000852143395&type=3&theater
photo taken by Emily Jones, link: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=993747713996957&set=a.260419390663130.60880.100000852143395&type=3&theater

This is an excerpt of her post:

“Statistics show that nearly all horses in the race today will experience bleeding in the lungs, while 50% of horses racing will experience bleeding in the windpipe. 89% of these racehorses will have stomach ulcers. All will be thrashed by a whip.

Will another horse collapse and die after the race like the two that did after the Melbourne cup last year? Stats show that approximately every 3 days, a horse will die on the racetrack in Australia.”

I certainly hope this gives you some food for thought.

Here’s my Facebook post on this issue.

What’s most disillusioning about “adulthood” is the sudden awareness of the cruelty that is behind a lot of entertainment. I grew up thinking the Melbourne Cup was pretty and fun, and while I never went, when I see friends post pictures they do look amazing and like they’re having a great time. 

Then I see pictures of the injured horses and the dead horses and I feel like a horrified child, sad for the animals, guilty that we did this to them, and then afraid because if voiced, my opinion would do nothing but label me as a ‘spoilsport’ who needs to relax. 

The horse ‘Red Cadeaux’ is trending because it is “alive and well”, according to the news. Does anyone else find that chilling? That ‘alive’ is even a concern? Were we supposed to read that and say, “Oh at least it’s not dead”? By this rate our society should be MUCH more concerned with things other than life or death. That’s what human progression is – it’s finding what makes life worth living. But it’s not just ours that matter. 

You fight the good fight and people say you’re no fun, but are you willing to just let it go and have it weigh on your conscience? Can you stand to see people and animals be treated like they’re anything less than the amazing things they are? I say I can’t, but I am often guilty of it. Is this a universal struggle? The awful pressure of being accepted by mainstream society by overlooking some horrible things? 

There’s probably a medium that a person can reach where they can enjoy things AND be aware of its background, but my eyes haven’t been opened to anyone like that quite yet, and God knows I am nowhere near that.

— EDIT —

After thinking about what [name omitted] said below, I also feel that it’s important that we discover new ways to live, laugh, learn and push forwards our development that make a difference in the foreground of ‘entertainment’ and ‘culture’ AND in the background – how it was developed, manufactured, etc. 

You cannot expect to breed compassion, sympathy and empathy through cruelty and dishonesty.

Or maybe you can. I’m studying a joint music and literature degree, so while I don’t contribute first hand to the destruction of ignorance and injustice, I have seen enough to know that something needs to be changed. 

So maybe I rescind my words from before; you CAN expect to breed compassion, sympathy, empathy and LOVE through cruelty and dishonesty, because the amount of people who have liked this and who have commented and shown their support has proven it.

It makes me feel awful to know that what I once looked at from my TV at home with awe and a sense of envy is actually one of the saddest ways to end for a horse. It’s the same with greyhound racing, and the massive scandal that happened earlier this year.

So many glorious, amazing things that I remember from my childhood are now tainted by the reality of how they come to be, and I so wish it wasn’t this way.

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