The folks at Racing Victoria must be feeling rather down. On the first day of the jumps season a horse - Jotilla - fell. She is now dead.
What terrible luck! Or was it? It seems that many horses fall and die while jumping for our amusement.
Last year I caused quite a stir when I wrote that I was happy to see horses die while jumping.
The reason I am happy, of course, is that dead horses make the news, and community attitudes will be what end jumps racing.
In my book 'Animals, Equality and Democracy' I demonstrate the relationship between high visibility animal use and strong animal protection laws and low visibility animal use and weak animal protection laws. But horse racing and jumps racing are a puzzling exception to that otherwise sound principle. We can all see the horses fall and die, yet it remains perfectly legal.
While I do find jumps racing and the use of the whip to be anomalies, I also think that they are much more likely to be banned before less visible animal uses - such as factory farms.
So let's watch how many horses fall this season and at the same time observe how long until jumps racing is banned in Victoria, as it is in most other states of Australia.