Ban the whip!
Horses are the only animals who may be beaten in public for entertainment. That is why Animal Aid has campaigned for many years to ban the whip from racing in Britain. Our research showed that the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) rules on the whip were being regularly and repeatedly flouted by jockeys, with 887 breaches during 2010, and 15 jockeys each committing 10 or more offences. In the first six months of 2011, 10 horses were wealed by the BHA’s so-called welfare-friendly cushioned whip.
A long-awaited review of the whip was published by the BHA in 2011. However, following several bouts of rebellion from disgruntled jockeys, the new rules were watered down and former restrictions on whip strikes became merely a guideline – leaving horses who are repeatedly hit vulnerable to the subjective discretion of the Stewards as to whether or not they have been abused.
The case for an outright whip ban is stronger than ever. In 2012 a new international initiative was launched, spearheaded by Animal Aid and supported by animal advocacy groups in Australia, France, Germany and the Republic of Ireland – countries in which there are strong horseracing industries.