PUBLISHED ON: 1 July 2009
Animals Australia has long opposed the use of whips in horse racing on animal welfare grounds and provided our input during a 6-month review of whipping conducted by the Australian Racing Board. Whipping not only causes horses considerable pain, it also increases the physical stress on horses through pushing them to run faster.
This review has resulted in the following new rules that will be introduced as amendments to the Australian Rules of Racing from 1 August 2009:
- Only padded whips permitted, which are said to reduce (some say eliminate) pain or injury to the horse.
- Limitations on the way the padded whips can be used, including; prohibiting a jockey raising the arm above the shoulder to use the whip, not permitted at all when the horses' place in the field is not likely to be improved, and strict limits on the number of times the whip is used in the last 200 metres of a race (when most vigorous whipping usually occurs).
- There will be education for jockeys, and a system of fines and forfeiture of prizemoney.
Leading sports journalist Patrick Smith from The Australian joined the call for whipping to be banned through a series of hard-hitting opinion pieces.
Watching jockeys hit horses up to 40 times in the straight appeals only to sadists and can hardly be a marketer's best idea, but it is not the driving reason to stop whipping. Whipping is cruel. It is, by any definition, barbaric.
The Australia Racing Board's decision to introduce padded whips is a step in the right direction. However, if they wish to convince the general public that the welfare of racing horses is a priority, they must ban jumps racing, and acknowledge the racing industries responsibility in the deaths of thousands of thoroughbred horses at abattoirs and knackeries each year that didn't run fast enough to make the grade.
Warning: this video contains graphic imagery that may disturb some viewers.
You Can Help!
If you have friends, colleagues or family members that go to the races, please tell them about the hidden reality of horse racing. It will enable them to make an informed choice as to whether they want to continue to support this industry.