Pub ‘bans’ Melbourne Cup
AN inner-Sydney pub's decision to boycott the race that stops a nation has sparked an outpouring of outrage - and praise.
The Newtown Hotel, located in Sydney's hipster mecca of Newtown, has revealed it will not celebrate the Melbourne Cup on November 6.
Instead, it will hold a "F**k the Cup" event in a bid to protest the increasingly controversial annual race.
In a recent Facebook post advertising its alternative event, the venue explained: "We aren't about horse racing … so instead we are becoming an island from all the other venues around us … that won't be televising the Melbourne Cup or hosting some fancy lunch for suits to bet on some horse because its name is cute!"
The event will feature local bands as well as a "karma keg" of beer, with all proceeds to go to Horse Rescue Australia to rehabilitate ex-racing horses.
The post has received thousands of likes, shares and comments, with the majority of commenters praising the pub's decision.
"Amazing! Thank you for taking a step in the right direction and rejecting the exploitation and abuse of horses!" one Facebook user wrote, while another added: "So glad boycotting horse cruelty is finally becoming a thing! It's right up there with greyhound racing and all other forms of animal abuse."
Others also criticised the Melbourne Cup for encouraging excessive gambling and using animals for entertainment and financial gain.
The Melbourne Cup has been an annual highlight for many Australians since it first began in 1861.
However, over the years it has attracted increasing backlash from animal lovers who believe the event is cruel and inhumane.
That backlash intensified in 2014 after two horses died directly because of the Melbourne Cup.
That year, Admire Rakti collapsed and died in his stall after the race and Araldo was euthanased after breaking his leg during the event.
The next year, Red Cadeaux was seen by thousands of racegoers lying on the ground in pain with a broken leg before she too was put down.
However, while the Newtown Hotel's anti-Cup event seems to be a hit with the famously progressive, Greens-voting people of Newtown, it has also been slammed by others as "anti-Australian" and an example of PC "madness".
Liberal MLC Peter Phelps has also hit out at the protest, telling The Daily Telegraph it was "petty" and only for "woke animal liberationists who love that sort of thing".
"The vast majority of Australians are going to be watching the cup - if people want to be grumble bums, they can be grumble bums," he told the publication.
But PETA spokeswoman Emily Rice told news.com.au the tide was well and truly turning against the race.
"Events that boycott the Melbourne Cup grow in number and popularity every year - and for good reason," she said.
"Ever since Archer won the first Melbourne Cup while injured - in a race in which two other horses died - countless horses have sustained catastrophic injuries on the racetrack.
"Between July 2017 and July 2018, 119 horses died on Australian racecourses and hundreds more were injured."
Ms Rice said the Melbourne Cup was gambling with the lives of race horses.
"Forcing horses to run at breakneck speeds while being whipped is gambling with their lives," she said.
"Those who survive to the end of their racing days, which comes when they're still quite young, are often discarded, slaughtered, and sold for their flesh.
"There's nothing 'sporting' about animals suffering and dying on the track."