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By Graham Potter | Tuesday, November 5, 2019

So, some ‘celebrities’ are reportedly shunning this year’s Melbourne Cup with activists quick to jump on the bandwagon claiming the ‘drop off’ is due to the current concerns about animal welfare.

Give me a break.

If we believe what some of the ‘missing’ celebrities are saying it is just a scheduling issue … I mean that does make them sound more important doesn’t it? You would have thought their personal assistants would have taken more care.

If we don’t believe them and feel their absence actually does have something to do with some of the (mostly false) negativity that animal activists spew about the sport annually at this time of year … well, we all know that celebrities, in general, like to be fashionable.

Actually, whichever way the wind is blowing will do!

But who cares about them anyway, whether they attend or not! At least we know the animal activist’s will be there with their placards and slogans looking for their fifteen seconds of fame.

Any bets we’ll see someone there holding up a sign saying, ‘I talk for the trees.’ There is always one who doesn’t read the memo properly and thinks he is at another climate change rally.

Hey, don’t knock the climate change brigade. Chances are they know more about that subject than the protesters outside the gates at Flemington know about horses and horseracing.

I even wonder if some of them know which side of the horse to offer the carrot.

So, no … racing is not going to stress about celebrities. Few people, if any, are going to miss the ‘missing celebrities.’ Whatever number leaves, there are twice as many ready to step into that gap … so whose loss is that?

As for those carrying the cardboard cut-out posters, it really is difficult to give any credibility or respect to self-proclaimed animal welfare organisations who are happy to fudge the facts about the horse racing industry to such an outrageous degree … which is why most of the expected 80 000 racegoers streaming through the Flemington gates on Tuesday won’t even give the protesters the time of day.

Not that racing’s animal welfare practises are perfect.

They remain very much a work in progress but the truth of the situation is so far removed in a positive sense from the absolute negative portrayal propagated by people who only want to believe their own distorted view of things and push them onto others.

That’s the message that racing needs to get out there.

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