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Jumping to Conclusions? Media Coverage of Jumps Racing Debates in Australia

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Abstract Should jumps racing be banned? This paper examines print media coverage of the future of “jumps racing” in 21 Australian newspapers between February 2008 and December 2009, a period of intense debate over its future due to high-profile incidents of horse deaths, campaigning by animal activists, and increased media coverage. In November 2009, Racing Victoria Limited banned jumps racing following the 2010 season but later opened the possibility of jumps racing in 2011 and beyond. The research finds that there is significant variation in support for, and opposition to, jumps racing in different newspapers; that there is sometimes a discrepancy between the perspectives of articles and letters on this issue; and the importance of jumps racing to particular small cities is reflected in the media coverage. While recent events and mounting public pressure may eventually contribute to the demise of steeplechasing and hurdling in Victoria, the termination of horse racing is not a foregone conclusion.


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