The Today show has come under fire after promoting the Melbourne Cup which takes place on Tuesday next week.
The show shared a bright graphic on social media, saying that the Today show would be supplying free coffee and will host a ‘fashion on the field’ competition in celebration of the cup.
“Giddy up Melbourne!” the caption began, “We’re live from Crown Melbourne Atrium tomorrow at 5:30am. Come down and join the fun!”
Many viewers weren’t happy with the controversial decision, and multiple people commented with the hashtag ‘#nuptothecup’.
‘Nup to the Cup’ was started by The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, to give Aussies an alternative event to the Melbourne Cup.
According to their website, the members hope to ‘expose the cruelty and abuse in the racing industry’.
There have been seven deaths in the Melbourne Cup from 2013-2021, with the latest death being Irish horse Anthony Van Dyck. The Epsom Derby winner was a favourite during the 2020 competition but was euthanised after sustaining a fracture on the track.
Some viewers asked the show why they were being associated with the event.
“Yuck why are we still supporting this industry? Money-driven animal abuse and what they did with the floods was disgusting,” one person wrote.
“Yuck horse abuse,” another added.
“Have we not gotten over the Melbourne Cup yet?” a third asked.
“I’ve been in Melbourne when the Cup has been on and it’s disgusting to see how drunk most are. There’s taxi vans driving around with the doors open and people vomiting out of the van,” another pointed out.
Animal rights activists have been campaigning for years to shed light on the dark side of the Melbourne Cup and some celebrities are starting to take note.
In 2019, popular singer Taylor Swift was booked to perform two songs in the Mounting Yard — the only Australian performance to support her album Lover.
The Love Story singer was accused of ‘putting money before compassion’ by the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses and also faced backlash from fans.
“Horses are being killed for gambling profits and entertainment. If Taylor Swift cares at all about other animals the way she appears to care about cats, she will cancel her show and make a strong statement that animal abuse is unacceptable,” the animal rights group wrote online.
The pop star chose to pull out of the event, which Victoria Racing Club’s CEO said was ‘disappointing for everyone’.
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