Australians are becoming less and less engaged with the Melbourne Cup, according to new research.
A massive 45 per cent of people surveyed believe the race promotes 'unhealthy' levels of gambling and another third of respondents said the Melbourne Cup normalises cruelty against animals.
Despite this, the poll also found that 72 per cent of those surveyed believe the 'race that stops the nation' is a 'unique part of Australia’s national identity'.
That number is has dropped by six percentage points since 2019.
Men were found more likely to vote in favour of the sentimental notion towards the race, with 73 per cent of men to 71 per cent of women.
However, younger generations are the least likely to view with the famous horse race in such a light.
Only 56 per cent of those aged 18 to 34 view the Melbourne Cup as a part of Australia's national identity, compared to 86 per cent of people aged over 55.
Of the middle age bracket, which is ages 35 to 54, 72 per cent viewed it as integral to Australian culture.
Only 15 per cent of people said they have a high interest in the Cup, with 24 per cent having a low interest and 28 per cent reporting that they had no interest at all.
The statistics come as the Melbourne Cup experienced dwindling numbers for the big race, as per The Guardian.
The lack of interest was felt before the Covid-19 pandemic and has been compounded by equine fatalities that were so numerous that a review was initiated by Racing Victoria (RV), according to The Age.
RV’s head veterinarian Dr Grace Forbes told News Corp the goal this year would be to see all horses make it back to their stables without 'any serious injuries'.
Dr. Forbes said that 'the safety and welfare of every horse is equally important'.
"We do understand the media and general public have more of a focus on what we’re doing, but what we’re doing is the same all of the time,” she explained, as per news.com.au.
"We are all very cognisant of the amount of work that goes into getting a horse to the races and it doesn’t matter what race that is, whether it is Melbourne Cup or Casterton Cup, we apply the same level of diligence and care to all of those decisions."
Featured Image Credit: ABC. Action Plus Sports Images / Alamy.