Airbrushing out the painful truth

Posted on the 20th February 2023

Racing’s new promotional poster reveals that the whip is unacceptable

Plastered across the London Underground are adverts promoting the 2023 Cheltenham Festival. They show last year’s Gold Cup winning horse and jockey, but with the whip removed from the jockey’s hand.

The horse, A Plus Tard, received a beating or two with a whip by Rachael Blackmore in the big race of the meeting. Yet, in what can only be described as blatant photoshopping the offensive sight of a raised whip has been removed.

Clearly, the Jockey Club who own Cheltenham Racecourse, are ashamed to show the reality of the whip in horse racing in which horses are abused with the implement.

The use of the whip will always remain an animal welfare issue until it is banned.

Says Dene Stansall, Horse Racing Consultant, Animal Aid:

‘This historic own goal by the racing industry comes hot on the heels of the newly implemented whip regulations. Despite public support for a whip ban, the industry’s drawn-out consultation on the whip still allows its use, with the only concession being a tiny reduction in the number of times a jockey can beat a horse.

The lack of the whip in the poster screams that the racing industry knows that the days of the whip are numbered. Racing has always shied away from being honest about the abuse, injuries and deaths of horses in this business – but this poster really is a new low in changing the narrative to suit itself.’

Notes for Editors

  • 73 horses have been killed at the Cheltenham Festival since March 2000. Learn more about why the Cheltenham Festival is so lethal.
  • In 2007, Animal Aid launched Race Horse Deathwatch – the only public record of the names and details of horses who were killed on British racecourses, compiled by Animal Aid’s meticulous research.
  • Animal Aid has compiled a list of the names and details of all the horses who have died at the Cheltenham Festival and the Grand National since 2000.
  • Animal Aid’s campaign to ban the use of the whip in racing was supported by 96 MPs. A public opinion poll in 2018 found that more than two-thirds (68%) of respondents oppose the use of the whip in racing.
  • Animal Aid’s campaign which calls for the creation of an independent body to be responsible for race horse welfare led to a Parliamentary debate on race horse welfare in 2018. Animal Aid continues to campaign for the British Horseracing Authority to be stripped of its responsibility for race horse welfare, due to the shocking rate of race horse deaths and injuries.
  • In 2021, Animal Aid’s undercover footage from a UK abattoir that slaughters horses featured exclusively in a BBC Panorama programme entitled The Dark Side of Horseracing. The programme showed that horses, including horses from the British and Irish racing industries, were being slaughtered for their meat. As a result of the programme, the British Horseracing Authority introduced regulations that makes it compulsory for any horse racing in Britain to be signed out of the food chain. Animal Aid wants the government to go further and to introduce limits on the numbers of horses who can be bred, because this will result in fewer unwanted horses. One of the horses featured in the programme was top race horse Vyta Du Roc, who was killed for his meat. For more information click here.





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