Wednesday, 5 November 2014


I used to be a fan of horse racing and as a kid worked in racing stables as a strapper but I can no longer justify the deaths each year of thousands of horses that are by products of the racing industry - the wastage, the ones that don't run fast enough, the ones that don't tick all the boxex. The racehorse breeding industry has become akin to puppy farming. Records reveal that at least 700 horses every month are slaughtered here for the export market. Many of these horses are young and healthy thoroughbreds who simply didn't make it on the race track. An estimate of between 13000 and 18000 horses a year go through Australian knackeries and many of them were once somebody's darling.


Maureen Clifford © The Scribbly Bark Poet

They were once somebody’s darling they were once somebody’s dream,
they were once feted by thousands urged on by whip, hands and scream.
Now they wait in dark – dejected and they’ll no more hear the call
of “they’re off” because tomorrow is the last day for them all.

They don’t sleep in stables stately, they don’t get the brush and gleam
of a fine thoroughbred warmblood – now it’s rough – they hear the scream
of the fallen gone before them, and they know not yet the foe
but they fear the fate awaiting – and they know. Oh yes! They know.

It is hard to be unwanted; it is hard when one falls short
It is hard when expectations don’t equate to dollars sought
So just turn your back and leave them – sell them off and let them go - 
they were once somebody’s darlings but seems now none want to know.

As the rows of Flemington roses pale and drop confetti blooms
the champagne, chicken and chance crowd have departed in the gloom
leaving a trail of trashed tickets, and a divot speckled course
it is doubtful if one punter gives a stuff about the horse.

As last Saturday's Cox Plate celebrations continued into the night … just 20km away, horses stood in knackery pens — and waited. Their last night was exposed in this video

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