Royal Ascot begins this week as public opposition to the use of the whip increases

Posted on the 13th June 2022

As Royal Ascot begins this Tuesday, there will be particular focus on the use of the whip during the event. Renewed public focus comes as campaign group Animal Aid release polling results showing an increasing proportion of the public are in favour of a ban on the whip in racing.

A 2018 public opinion poll commissioned by Animal Aid found that 68% of respondents oppose the use of the whip in racing. When only including those who expressed a view, this figure rose to 83%. Animal Aid recently commissioned further polling, which found that 72% now believe that the whip should be banned in horseracing, with the figure rising to 89% when only including those who expressed a view.

This rise in the number of respondents who are in favour of a ban on the whip must not be ignored by the BHA and British government. Many are horrified by the continued use of the whip in racing, despite scientific evidence of horses experiencing pain from the whip in the same way as humans, and lack of evidence supporting that the whip does encourage horses to run faster. It is Animal Aid’s view that, as long as racing is allowed to continue, jockeys should only be allowed to carry a whip for rare instances where their safety may be at risk.

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