Posted on November 5th, 2020
My piece “Sustainability and Thoroughbred Racing – An Oxymoron?” written for the blog of the Sydney Environment Institute was published on the day of the Melbourne Cup 3 November 2020. Two hours later, Anthony Van Dyck, a four year old Irish stallion, broke his fetlock 400m before the finish of the race, was taken away in an ambulance and killed / euthanised in the vet clinic the same day.
“Pandemic or not, the Spring Racing Carnival in Australia is in full swing. COVID-19, climate emergency, species extinction, habitat loss, our exceeding of planetary boundaries and reaching tipping points, all are confronting us with our failure at our quest for sustainability. A marker of this failure is that the dominant conceptions of sustainability, such as sustainable development, do not include the protection of animals. Yet, the evidence is clear that our health and sustainable future depends on the health and protection of nature and other animals. The question arises, what if we applied a theory of interspecies sustainability to all our interactions with other animals such as horseracing? How is the thoroughbred industry positioned to meet such a paradigm and what would it mean for the future of racing?…..”