The Melbourne Cup has again been marred by the death of a horse, this time the Irish-trained The Cliffsofmoher, leaving some people asking why the horse had to be put down.
Bondi Vet, Dr Chris Brown has taken to Facebook to explain why horses can't recover from injuries, like Cliffsofmoher's shoulder fracture:
"With the tragic loss of CliffsofMoher in today’s Melbourne Cup, naturally a lot of people want to know why a broken bone so often means a horse must be sadly put down. Here’s your answer...
Sure, horses are bred for speed. Like a formula one car, they have massive engines (heart, lungs and muscles) built around a light frame. But if the horse has a fatal flaw, it’s those long leg bones. Despite carrying over 500kg in weight at any one time, they’re surprisingly light and thin. The sad result being that if forces come from a strange angle (from a knock or a stumble) or a stress fracture is already present, the bone doesn’t just gently break, it tragically explodes. Multiple, misshapen bone fragments are then left behind. Fragments that then can’t be pinned or plated back into place.
The other issue is rest. Unlike a dog or cat, horses struggle to cope on three legs while one is mending. Nor can they lie down or be suspended on slings. That big body of theirs becomes susceptible to circulation problems and pressure sores if they’re doing anything but standing on all four legs with their weight evenly supported.
RIP CliffsofMoher. At just five years of age, you were gone too soon..."
This is the fourth time in the past six years that the Cup has been shrouded by the death of horses, with animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals has called for an investigation into the death, which it described as "the most recent victim of the cruel annual spectacle".