A study has just been released about the unacceptable use of whips in horse racing. The study comes from analysing race footage provided by the RSPCA that found evidence of a number of breaches of whip rules and that the padded whip does cause pain.
Published in 2012 and conducted by veterinarian and Professor Paul McGreevy at the University of Sydney, the study reignites calls for the racing industry to review the use of whips in racing. It also builds on a previous study released in 2011 which found that whipping a horse does not increase the chance of a horse finishing first, second or third and that 98% of horses were being whipped without it influencing the race outcome.
The results of this study do not offer any support for the retention of whipping in horse racing and are contrary to the International Agreement on Breeding, Racing and Wagering to which the Australian Racing Board is a signatory. This International Agreement lists specific prohibitions for whip use, including using the whip on the flank. The results of the latest study indicate that Australian racing authorities are not meeting their obligations regarding this International Agreement.
The RSPCA would like to see:
- a commitment from jockeys to adhere to the rules.
- a commitment from the racing industry to encourage reduced reliance on whips.
- mandatory training programs in place for jockeys to help them adapt.
- a ‘hands and heels' series introduced into Australia.
- an end of the use of whips as performance aids.