As Easter approaches a public debate is brewing over a potentially offensively named horse called Stonethachristian, which is currently racing in New South Wales.
The naming of the harness racer, who is also branded with the numbers 666, has been receiving criticism since the horse first raced in Young, NSW, on March 11, 2011.
Stonethachristian’s co-owner, Katrina Martens, insists she did not mean to cause offense with the name, instead maintaining that the horse was named after its sire, Christian Cullen.
“I was just cranky with (the sire),” she said.
“He was playing up and I thought bloody stone the Christian. It’s nothing to do with the Christians.”
Federal Discrimination and Race Commissioner, Graeme Innes, expressed his surprise that such a name was allowed by Harness Racing Australia.
“I can certainly envisage (as offensive) having a racehorse referring to stoning members of the community,” Mr Innes said.
“In a society as diverse as ours it’s best not to have a situation where unnecessary offence is caused.”
Harness Racing Australia’s guidelines currently state that it will not allow:
“Any name having political, religious, commercial or sacred significance or that is otherwise inappropriate.”
Despite the fact that no official complaints have yet been received, Harness Racing Australia released a statement saying that if any complaints were made, they would be inclined to order the name be changed.