Racing protesters target punters outside Flemington Racecourse. Picture: Aneeka Simonis
Racing protesters target punters outside Flemington Racecourse. Picture: Aneeka Simonis

Protesters jeer punters outside racecourse

ANTI-RACING protesters are yelling "shame" at racegoers as they head to Flemington Racecourse.

Activists from the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses have lined Racecourse Rd armed with banners.

They are yelling "shame on you" to racegoers making their way to Melbourne Cup.

"Welcome to the walk of shame. This is what you are supporting," said one protester, pointing to a poster of a dead racehorse.

Another group of racegoers were labelled as "horse abusers" and asked whether they would get dressed up to visit a slaughterhouse.

A significant number of police have gathered at the Newmarket Reserve protest point.

Protesters are also yelling "cruel" and "barbaric" to motorists on route to the racecourse.

Several have wound down their window to respond to the protesters.

 

Protesters with their placards outside Flemington Racecourse. Picture: Aneeka Simonis
Protesters with their placards outside Flemington Racecourse. Picture: Aneeka Simonis

The campaign's director Elia Celotto said the racing industry will suffer if animal welfare is not taken seriously.

"Most people are now well and truly aware of the reality of what happens to horses after they leave the industry," he said.

"We think as more become aware, we are going to see the decline of the racing industry that refuses to take animal welfare seriously."

Mr Celotto said the protest would descend to the front gates of Flemington Racecourse if a horse falls on the track.

He said horses would "no doubt" suffer injury today.

The group is pushing for a one per cent levy on betting turnover to build a "retirement fund" for racehorses.

Mr Celotto said Racing Victoria's $25 million equine welfare commitment was "simply not enough".

"I don't think any punter would begrudge one per cent of (betting) money going toward a retirement fund for racehorses."

Mr Celotto said he was aware other "disruptive" protests group were potentially planning to enter the racecourse.

He said the groups are not affiliated.

"This is not what we do," he said.

"We are a peaceful organisation. We think the best way to get our message across is through peaceful means.

"We don't think (protesting inside the race ground) has any merit from our perspective."

aneeka.simonis@news.com.au