An Australian animal sanctuary dressed runners and roller skaters in dinosaur costumes for a "compassionate" alternative to the Melbourne Cup horse race.

The Little Oak Sanctuary in Canberra held dinosaur footraces and roller skate races Tuesday in the city's Central Business District.

The T-Rex Cup races were part of the sanctuary's Compassionate Stakes event, which aimed to provide an animal rights-friendly alternative to the Melbourne Cup.

Little Oak Sanctuary said entry fees paid by the racers were put toward the care of former race horses in the charity's care.