ANIMAL liberationists are calling for a renewed focus on the racing industry after two horses died following the Melbourne Cup.
Favourite Admire Ratki died moments after the Cup and Araldo shattered a leg bone while returning to the mounting yard.
Last year Verema died after breaking down in the back straight of the country's richest horse race.
Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses communications manager Ward Young said change was needed.
"We're extremely distraught by the fact that at least one horse has been killed in the Melbourne Cup today," Young said.
"This (race) for the nation is as good as it gets but for the horses it shows it's as bad as it gets.
"We think the factors that led to these horses breaking down is excessive use of the whip and so if the whip was fazed out we think horses wouldn't be over-worked like they currently are.
"Two-year-old racing is a large factor that contributes to horses breaking down on the race track.
"Without those two factors we think horse racing would be a lot safer."
The heavily backed pre-race Japanese favourite reportedly died five minutes after the race of a heart attack or internal bleeding while being unsaddled in his stall.
The Tomoyuki Umeda-trained horse started the race strong but faded in the final 400m as Protectionist crossed the line to become the first German runner to claim the $6.2m prize.
Racing Victoria veterinary and equine welfare chief Dr Brian Stewart said the circumstances surrounding the death were rare.
"It is with sadness that we confirm that Admire Rakti has passed away in his stall following the running of the Emirates Melbourne Cup," Dr Stewart said.
"The exact cause of death is yet to be determined, although the circumstances of the horse's passing are very rare.
"Our sympathies are extended at this time to the owner Mr Kondo, trainer Mr Umeda and his staff who cared deeply for their horse and are naturally saddened by their tragic loss."
Dr Stewart said the Mike Moroney-trained Araldo was taken to the University of Melbourne Veterinary Hospital after he injured his leg when a child waved a flag near his face.
Media outlets reported the horse leapt forward, jumped into a steel rail and injured a cannon bone.
Verema was put down last year after suffering the same injury.
- APN NEWSDESK
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