Nup To The Cup Template 2 Scaled

Want to do some real change-making? Why not host a Nup to the Cup at work?

Possibly the greatest culprit contributing to the normalisation of the cruelty of horse racing is the ubiquity of Cup celebrations in the Aussie workplace. After all, the workplace is arguably where the pressure to conform is felt most keenly. That coupled with there being no other ‘sporting’ event for which Australian workplaces down tools and celebrates means that the workplace is also potentially the place where we can affect the most cultural change.

Case Study: The Australian Film Television and Radio School

After a history of the AFTRS celebrating the Melbourne Cup since its inception in 1973, the first Nup to the Cup was held at the school in 2018 as an alternate event. Overwhelmingly, the feedback to the Nup was that people were relieved to engage in a workplace activity that aligned with their own values. Pitched as a delicious cruelty-free celebration sausage sizzle and fundraiser, the event proved to be a joyful alternative to the outdated tradition that was essentially at odds with who they were.

For example, here’s a thank you note from the school’s CEO at the time:

Hi Jackie,

I wanted to say a personal thank you for organising the event. I did catch some of the race later and had to walk out of the room when I saw the horse Cliffsofmoher pull up. Nup to the Cup made me think about the cruelty that happens to horses and put it front of mind. I didn’t have much interest in the horses before, and now I have none. I hope events like this start to shift the public’s perspective.

Best wishes,


Neil Peplow
CEO, AFTRS (2015 – 19)

Tips on how to get started

Because of the media exposés in recent years, as well as the tireless work of animal advocacy groups, horse racing has lost much of it's social license. Consequently, you might find that management at your workplace may be more receptive to greenlighting a Nup to the Cup than you would initially think. Nonetheless, because it is a workplace and you are competing with the glamorised imagery surrounding the cup, our tip is to go with images that are deliberately upbeat. This way you are offering  both a cruelty-free alternative and a celebration of a commonality of compassion, with a side serve of collegial communion.

That said, when you’re pitching or promoting the event, don’t miss the chance to embed your emails with links to reports that raise people’s consciousness about the truth behind the racing industry, but do lead with the positive. For example, use images that invite identification with the horses and represent them as free rather than those trapped in the industry. A strategy that hopefully helps people recalibrate to imagine horses both wild and free instead of the cruelty-normalising images of horses with jockeys.

Below are some designs to adapt and print up for your workplace. Click on the image to download the blank file and add your own event details.

Nup to the Cup in your workplace (link)

Food ideas

Gourmet Sausage Sizzle Ingredients:

Suzy Spoon’s Garam Masala vegan sausage
crispy cos lettuce, dollop of minty holy guacamole, sneaky schmear of tamarind chutney, dill pickled cucumber, balsamic glazed onions, sriracha, mustard or tomato sauce.

In keeping with the cruelty-free theme, why not double-dip your advocacy and offer delicious plant-based food for the event? And there’s no need to go it alone. Put out feelers to your like-minded co-workers and recruit some volunteers. Nothing quite as bonding as working collectively towards something good.

So, depending on what facilities you have at work, you might like to host a plant-based sausage sizzle or an afternoon tea with some delicious vegan cupcakes. Perhaps even reach out for sponsorship to some local plant-based businesses who would love to be linked to such a positive event. All the more attractive to potential sponsors if you also make the event a fundraiser.


Some recipe ideas:

click on the image for recipes

Gambling 2
Fun And Games Img

Fun and Games

Other than food, there’s nothing like some fun and games to give the festivities focus and another avenue for fundraising. Depending on the space you have available, you might like to run one or more of the following activities for a gold coin entry:

  • horseshoe tossing tournament
  • most fascinating found-object fascinator contest
  • three-legged race
  • wheelbarrow race
  • baby potato and spoon race

And by finding a local business to donate a prize like a hamper or a “meat” tray of vegan goods, you also get to further supersize your advocacy.

Suggested Horse/Animal Advocacy and Rescue Groups for your Fundraising Efforts

So if you would like to host a Nup to the Cup in your workplace, please reach out to us and you can order a quantity of information leaflets, based on the number of people you expect to attend. Having the leaflets there is a great way of raising consciousness and literally providing a take-home message. All in the context of a celebration of shared cruelty-free values.

Finally, hosting a Nup to the Cup is likely to be more welcomed than you think because regardless of people’s personal politics, most people are against animal cruelty but simply haven’t yet joined the dots. Chances are you’ll find that providing a space for people to express their own values versus following a tradition with cruelty at its centre, will be met by your co-workers with a sense of relief. The time is now ripe and you can be that beautiful catalyst for change!

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