We’re still not halfway through 2017, but it’s been a great year for our campaign against whips used in racing.

The year began on a positive note after Harness Racing Australia (HRA) announced in December 2016 that it had made a voluntary and unanimous decision not to use whips for harness racing.

The world’s leading decision, which came into force in September 2017, was applauded by both the public and animal welfare groups.

HRA Chairman Geoff Want stated in a recent article that the community outside of our industry has become more sensitive and demanding regarding animal welfare practices. He said, ‘it’s not often we have the chance to take control of our own destiny.’ The whip-free movement is also a ‘vital step’ in helping us to achieve long-term sustainability.

Recent moves by Harness Racing South Australia that delay or sidestep animal welfare improvements seem to indicate they are keen to live in the past.

HRSA has plans to test some novel ways of continuing to hit horses with whips. These include using ‘pads on the horse’s rear’ and restricting drivers’ ‘wrist actions.’

Visit our website to add your voice.

The thoroughbred racing industry continues its use of whips to punish horses. However, a serious incident that occurred in the last week shows how dangerous their current policy is.

Dreams Abound had been whipped 27 times by Tiffani, an apprentice jockey at Brisbane’s Eagle Farm. Crossed the finish line first after the Group III Gunsynd Classic. The horse was whipped 17 times in the last 100m of the race, which is far more than the five allowed strikes.

Brooker claimed that she had been ‘caught in the moment.’ She also said, ‘I totally forgot about the whip-rule.’

After the race, neither Brooker nor any of his owners or jockeys filed an appeal. Brooker was, however, fined $2,000 for failing to comply with rules and suspended from racing for seven days.

This is a minor infraction for a race with a prize money of $125,000.

Has filed a formal complaint and is now preparing to take legal action in relation to the controversial whip rules, which allowed a rider to break the rules.

The jockeys claim that the rules are confusing and unclear. They also argue that jockeys should not be held responsible for observing each other’s whip usage in order to voice their objections.

Something is wrong when your rules send your participants to court. These incidents show how difficult it is for officials to enforce these increasingly complex rules that are intended to prolong the use of whips despite overwhelming opposition from the community and evidence of their ineffectiveness.

Independent research commissioned by RSPCA found that a growing percentage (75%) opposes the use of whips during racing and that over 90% of those who bet and watch racing would continue to do so if whipping were stopped.

The ban on the whip has many benefits. Stewards and jockeys will no longer have to enforce complicated rules. Instead, racing success will depend on good breeding and training, as well as good riding.


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