Oh, the humanity

CITY lawyer Nicholas van Hattem is setting up a human race as an alternative to the cruelty of the Melbourne Cup.

He loves the partying associated with cup day but he’s had enough of the barbarity, with whipping an ordinary part of the game and two horses killed last year after injuries.

About 25,000 racehorses are turned into pet food every year simply for being too slow or past their use-by date.

“Chatting to other lawyers, a lot of us liked the boozy lunches and hats but couldn’t get behind the cruelty against horses,” Mr van Hattem says.

• Nicholas van Hattem with the prized Piddington Cup trophies—donated by a tradie from the Perth Beer Economy. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

• Nicholas van Hattem with the prized Piddington Cup trophies—donated by a tradie from the Perth Beer Economy. Photo by Matthew Dwyer

This year he’s got a cruelty-free alternative: racing humans and putting bets on them instead, and some big names in the legal community have stepped up to put their bodies on the line.

Named the Piddington Cup—after the Piddington Society for law professionals which he’d founded as a light-hearted alternative to the Law Society—legal big wigs like the Hon Justice Robert “Mazza-rati” Mazza, Greg “The Fox” McIntyre, Ian “Whippet” McLeod and Adam “Anatunga” Ebell will trade their robes for a runner’s bib.

The run will be filmed at a top-secret location Monday night then broadcast online for anyone to tune into from noon Tuesday for any offices that want to run their own sweeps, while next year they’re planning to go bigger and better with a live race on the day.

There’ll be a prize for fastest man, fastest woman and the best costume, while the money from the official Piddington sweep goes to the winner’s favourite charity.

The full list of runners (and the link to the video on race day) is at the Piddington Society’s Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/piddingtonsociety

Meanwhile, a dozen Perth artists including Voice favourites Andrew Nicholls and Eva Fernandez are holding their own “’sweepstakes free’ alternative to the near ubiquitous Melbourne Cup luncheon” at Gallery Central, 12 Aberdeen Street in Northbridge.

The artists all have concerns about animal welfare so have themed works for an exhibition No Second Prize which sees commission from sales go to animal welfare charities. It runs November 2–11 with a cup day-catered event at 11.30am ($10 donation).

by DAVID BELL

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