Horse racing protester Elio Celotto (left) of the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses will spend Melbourne Cup day staging a peaceful protest near Flemington Racecourse. Photograph: Supplied to The Guardian newspaper.

The man in the suit — Elio Celotto on the life of a horse racing protester

by RUSSELL JACKSON | 27 October 2016
Cross-posted from The Guardian
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As the Melbourne Cup gets under way on Tuesday, horseracing protester Elio Celotto will be enjoying a far different day of festivities to racegoers

Caslon Quote Left BlackIt’s Monday 2 November, 2015, and the intersection of Flinders and Swanston is closed off for the annual Melbourne Cup parade. The air is thick with the smell of horse manure and the abrasive, tinny sound of a budget PA system with too much treble blasting out race calls of years gone by.

Between two long barricades on Swanston Street passes a motorcade of horse trainers, jockeys and those strange celebrity “ambassadors” that Melbourne’s Spring carnival thrusts forward each year to an apparently receptive and engaged audience – the hundreds of thousands of Melburnians who pour through the gates of racecourses around Melbourne to bet, be seen and most of all it increasingly seems, get thoroughly trousered.

On one side of the crowd, which is never more than two or three spectators deep at any given point, stands a tall and elegantly-suited man of about 50. He could pass for, I think to myself, a solicitor or an accountant from a nearby building, or potentially a racing fan. He seems mildly perplexed but calm as he paces past a dozen police patrolling the festivities.

Directly parallel, outside Young and Jackson’s hotel, stands a scruffy, sunburnt man of about the same age. He’s hurling abuse. “You should be ashamed of yourselves,” he bellows across the parade at one point. I politely inquire whether I can ask him a few questions about his objections to what he’s seeing, a request he declines with a loud and almost sarcastic, “No comment,” and then, after a brief moment’s reflection, a far more emphatic “Fuck off!”

The man in the suit, I find out ofter listening to him read through a megaphone the names of 127 horses he says have died on Australian race tracks in the preceding 12 months, is Elio Celotto, a veteran horse racing protestor and the head of the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR).

A small but determined group, CPR formed in 2008 as a single issue animal rights organisation and continue to peacefully protest at major race meets, lobbying the racing industry for major reform because, they say, nobody else will. Continue reading »

Horse racing protester Elio Celotto (left) of the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses will spend Melbourne Cup day staging a peaceful protest near Flemington Racecourse. Photograph: Supplied.

7 thoughts on “The man in the suit — Elio Celotto on the life of a horse racing protester”

  1. A great article, thanks for putting this up.

    Elio and his team have been working tirelessly for many years. He and Ward were arrested by the Police at a Victorian racetrack a few years ago…..their crime? Just being there! On another occasion Elio’s camera was smashed.

    In Sydney for the world famous $millions Golden Slipper race for 2 year olds , racetrack security guys on horses corralled him when he was on his own and Police arrested him for trespassing. Went to Court and Elio won.

    This article is timely with all the hype about the Melbourne Spring Carnival in Australia comparable to the Triple Crown in the USA.

    With the amazing work of Patrick Battuello of Horseracing Wrongs in North America and Elio of the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses in Australia, the truth about what goes on with these horses will continue to be exposed and hopefully justice for these long suffering magnificent horses.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Carolyn. We are so thankful for the work everyone is doing. These are our modern day heroes.

      We have been working on the horse racing issue for many years, particularly the sending of racehorses to slaughter. Slaughter is something that almost every racing jurisdiction in the world share.

      But that’s not all.

      It was Jane Allin’s highly respected, groundbreaking reports for The Horse Fund that inspired many of the major papers like the New York Times to expose horse racing’s crimes on the big stage, especially the drugging and breakdowns.

      Jane has covered everything from breeding to racing 2 year olds to slaughter and the ground racehorses run on. Her most cited work is called The Chemical Horse.

      She is very humble and rarely receives the recognition she deserves.

      Here’s a link for anyone who is interested. It’s a lot though!

      Thank you again.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you VGrF. By coincidence only a few days ago a colleague phoned very impressed with an article called The Chemical Horse. I remember one of Jane’s reports and found it compelling reading.
        I’m staggered with the number of reports Jane has produced from the link you’ve put up. Now looking forward to reading all of them.
        More exposure of Jane Allin’s invaluable work is a must especially by the media.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Thank you again Carolyn.

          Jane also has an impressive body of work on the Premarin horses issue and has led the way on reporting on that too. She has done so much for them.

          You can tell I am quite in awe of her and I work with a lot of terrific people. Yet she downplays her importance. Like so many of us we never feel we ever do enough for these incredible majestic beings. Where would the human race be without them?

          Liked by 1 person

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