News, Culture & Society

Activists try to stop Kelly Rowland performing at The Everest horse race

Dear Ms Rowland, I hope this letter finds you well. 

I’m writing on behalf of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) Australia regarding your upcoming performance at The Everest. 

As we know you’re genuinely interested in the feelings of your followers and that it’s hard to gauge public sentiments surrounding an event from afar, we wanted to share some information about the race and Australia’s horseracing industry, in the hope that you’ll reconsider giving this particular performance. 

At The Everest, 12 horses will be mercilessly whipped as they’re pushed beyond their physical limits for two reasons: to win $14 million for their human owners and – as the chief executive of Racing New South Wales, Peter V’landys, admits – to ‘lure back lost generations of fans to the sport’. 

The latter should serve as a red flag to anyone considering aligning their brand with this event, as it reflects the turning tide of opinion among the younger audience, including your fans. They simply don’t want to see horses abused for profit. 

Prior to the 2018 event, The Everest organisers were criticised for advertising the race on the iconic sails of the Sydney Opera House. 

Backing protests and a petition which garnered over 300,000 signatures, Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore echoed the sentiments of the city, saying, ‘This is blatant commercialisation of Australia’s world heritage listed Opera House for an industry notorious for damaging gambling and animal cruelty.’ 

Horses’ lives are of little value to the Australian horseracing industry. Between July 2018 and August 2019, 122 horses died on Australian racetracks from catastrophic injuries or heart failure. 

While no concrete figures for ‘wastage’ – that is, foals bred but never registered for racing – exist, estimates suggest approximately 2,000 instances per year. Because these animals never represent a return on investment, they’re destroyed or neglected, and some are even abandoned to starve. 

As documented by PETA Asia earlier this year, many horses bred by the Australian racing industry are sold to South Korea, where they’re eventually slaughtered for meat. Since the 1970s, more than 3,000 horses from Australia or who have Australian parents have been killed for their flesh in South Korea. 

Following the release of this investigation, police in Jeju, South Korea, have charged the slaughterhouse where the footage was obtained, along with three of its workers, with killing horses in full view of other horses, in violation of the nation’s Animal Protection Act. 

The Australian public is increasingly condemning horseracing, and protests are planned for The Everest. Again, we understand that it’s hard to gauge the appropriateness of an event while you’re touring abroad, but we can assure you that an event profiting from cruelty to horses is an unfit venue for your talents and kindness. 

We sincerely hope you will reconsider giving this performance. 

Best regards, Emily Rice PETA Australia 


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