Stop horsing around and ban the whip
Humane Society International (HSI) has expressed heightened concern over the use of whips during horse racing after compelling new research released last month highlighted that the strict controls set out by the racing industry are not being adhered to. This was evident after at least 28 breaches of whip rules across 15 horse races were identified, yet astonishingly none of them were reported by the Racing NSW Stewards. The research, headed by Professor Paul McGreevy of the University of Sydney, also raised concerns after finding that the unpadded section of the whip made contact on 64 percent of impacts causing unnecessary suffering.
“Given that the whip is clearly cruel, often misused, and stewards are failing to regulate their use properly, HSI is calling for an outright ban on whip use across Australia,” said Verna Simpson, HSI Director. “Horses are the only animals who may be beaten in public for entertainment. If a dog walker was seen beating their dog with a whip in public it would cause outrage and they would likely be prosecuted, whereas racing enthusiasts seem to believe whipping a horse is justified.”
The racing industry is becoming increasingly less popular following such controversial media coverage highlighting the brutality of a sport, purely for entertainment. Norway has already led the way and were the first to ban the whip from racing outright in 1982. If all horses were trained to gallop without whips, there would still be winners, but most importantly they would not be under duress.
HSI is one of many animal welfare organisations that is calling on the Australian Racing Board to ban the use of whips once and for all.