Animal rights protesters sporting inflatable Tyrannosaurus rex costumes took to Flemington to demand an end to horse racing.
Puzzled onlookers watched a group of dinosaurs holding “Horse racing is prehistoric” signs gathered for a race on Monday before the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) together with the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) organized the protest to encourage a boycott of the race.
The CPR says 139 racehorses have died on Australian tracks in the past year, in addition to the thousands of horses that die off-piste each year from race-related injuries or are killed because they are unprofitable.
“The Melbourne Cup – and all the other events that cause catastrophic horse injury and even death in the name of greed – deserve to go,” said PETA’s Emily Rice.
“Today’s dinosaur race proves that fun can be enjoyed by encouraging participants who are willing to have fun. Nobody needs to suffer to be entertained ”.
CP Campaign Manager Elio Celotto urged people to say “Nup to the Cup” this year.
“We urge people to boycott horse racing by saying ‘Nup to the Cup’ and participating in one of the many events taking place across the country,” Celotto said.
More protests are unfolding ahead of Tuesday’s event, which will mark the first with a full crowd since the COVID-19 pandemic.
Victoria Police said it would have a highly visible trackside presence in Flemington, Melbourne’s CBD and major entertainment venues during the four days of racing.
Uniformed and plainclothes officers will focus on deterring antisocial behavior.