The four-year-old horse Rostropovich suffered a fracture in his pelvis while being forced to race during the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. He’s receiving medical care at the University of Melbourne Equine Center.
During the race, the jockey that was riding him realized something was not ok; the horse was in pain. After still finishing the 3200-meter race Rostropovich was checked by veterinarians, who discovered a fracture in his pelvis.
Animal rights organizations have warned the organizers of the Melbourne Cup of the horrible injuries horses can get, but the event continued as planned, causing unnecessary suffering.
The Melbourne Cup is a 3200-meter race in Australia for horses that are three-year-olds and older. It happens every year on the first Tuesday of November.
PETA said in a statement: “Before they’ve even finished maturing, these 500-kilogram animals are forced to race at breakneck speeds while being whipped and pushed past their limits, supported on ankles as small as those of humans.”
Four jockeys were punished for whipping their horses too much during the race. They do this to force the horse to go faster. The punishment consists of a few days ban from racing and a fine.
Injuries and deaths at the Melbourne Cup
Animal welfare organization PETA listed the injuries of the past years during the Melbourne Cup. In 2013, Verema was killed after snapping a bone in her leg. In 2014, Admire Rakti collapsed and died in his stall after a race, and Araldo broke a leg and was euthanized.
In 2015, Red Cadeaux broke his left foreleg, was rushed to the vet for surgery and was euthanised some days later.
In 2016, Regal Monarch died after a dramatic mid-race fall. In 2018, The Cliffsofmoher was killed after fracturing his right shoulder. And now in 2019, Rostropovich is rushed to the vet with a fractured pelvis.
They add that during last year’s racing season, 122 horses died on Australian racecourses. That’s an average of more than two per week.
Rostropovich has been made to race since he’s two-years-old. His owners said that he will rest now and will be closely monitored over the coming days by veterinary staff.