Majority reject horse racing: new independent poll


A majority of Australians believe horse racing is cruel, and that animals should not be raced for gambling and entertainment, according to polling released today by the office of Senator Mehreen Faruqi.

The poll of 1,036 people was conducted in June 2022 by Lonergan Research, and canvassed a range of animal welfare issues including racing. A methodology statement is available below.

Key findings:

  • 54% agree that horses should not be raced for gambling and entertainment (30% strongly agree)
  • Young people are considerably more likely to oppose horse racing, with 70% of 18-24 year olds and 61% of 25-34 year olds agreeing that horses should not be raced for gambling and entertainment.
  • 59% agree that racing animals like horses and greyhounds for gambling and entertainment is cruel (29% strongly agree).
  • 53% are more likely to vote for a candidate who advocates for stronger animal welfare standards for racehorses (21% are much more likely).

Quotes attributable to Senator Mehreen Faruqi, Greens deputy leader and animal welfare spokesperson:

“The social licence of the racing industry is clearly fading. Young people, in particular, are switching off. They understand the cruelty and toxicity of racing.

“The majority of people actually agree that racing is cruel. You wouldn’t know that, though, from the massive marketing campaigns from the racing and gambling industries that are designed to make events like the Melbourne Cup appear universally loved.

“The Melbourne Cup is the most lavish symbol of the gambling-fuelled animal cruelty of horse racing. It has to be challenged. Animal cruelty goes way beyond the Melbourne Cup – there are systemic and unfixable problems with racing.

“A horse is killed at racetracks in Australia every two and a half days on average. But horses aren’t just killed at racetracks: many end up in abattoirs and knackeries as so-called wastage. Even if horses survive, they are routinely subjected to cruel practices like whipping, tongue-tying and the use of spurs. The only way that animals will be safe is by ending commercial horse racing.

“The Cup really exposes the power and influence of the gambling and racing industries. During Covid, when everything else shut down, the Cup raced on and the bets continued to flow in. The industry’s profits are protected and advanced over and above animals and people.

“Those harmed by the gambling, violence and alcoholism associated with the Cup are all considered collateral damage. The gambling industry and alcohol companies might win out of this, but everyone else loses.”

Lonergan Research Methodology Statement:

The research was commissioned by The Office of Senator Mehreen Faruqi (Australian Greens) and conducted by Lonergan Research in accordance with the ISO 20252 standard, and in compliance with the Australian Polling Council Quality Mark standards ( Lonergan Research surveyed 1,036 Australians 18+ between June 16 and June 24. After interviewing, data was weighted to the latest population estimates sourced from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, and from ABC.