Greens call for the Melbourne Cup to be whip-free in wake of ban on global jockey

Australian Greens

Australian Greens Deputy Leader and spokesperson for animal welfare, Senator Mehreen Faruqi, has called for the Melbourne Cup to be whip free after news that a global jockey has been banned from the race after he breached Britain’s whipping rules.

Public momentum to ban the Melbourne Cup has grown significantly since the campaign began, as witnessed in the recent cancellation of The Melbourne Cup Parade following successful animal welfare campaigns and the #NupToTheCup campaign.

Senator Faruqi said:

“The next Melbourne Cup needs to be whip-free, this is the least that can be done to protect horses from the pain and cruelty of racing.

“If that jockey was whipping the horse in a race in Australia, he may have faced no penalties at all as the whipping rules here are even worse than in Britain! This speaks volumes to how little the horse racing industry cares about their animals.

“I welcome the ban of the jockey for breaching British whipping rules. But I ask the question – why do we still not have a ban on whipping? Jockeys have no limits on whipping in the final 100 metres of a race. That is horrific.

“Another festival of cruelty is around the corner and calls to end the race have never been louder. The public has been listening to animal welfare groups and protesters who have fought long and hard to end the cruelty and to end horse racing.

“We should ban the use of whips, but even that won’t go far enough to protect horses. Ending commercial horse racing is the only way.

“We will not stop until this cruel celebration is binned altogether. The race is losing its credibility fast. People don’t want to participate in a celebration of animal cruelty and the toxicity of gambling. It’s time to cancel the race.

“The Cup’s days are numbered. We are winning the fight against this cruel and callous horse racing industry.”


British racing rules permit 6 whips maximum per race. In contrast, Australian rules state that there is a limit of 5, with unlimited whipping permitted in the last 100 metres.

Racing Victoria has even been vocal in their support to reduce whip use in Australian horse racing to maintain “the sports social license,” but still believes whips are not a welfare issue.

A senate committee recommended entirely banning whipping in horse racing over 30 years ago, saying that it could not condone the use of the whip to inflict pain on a horse. In 2023, banning the whip is long overdue.

University of Sydney research revealed that a horse’s flank skin is not only thinner, but potentially more sensitive to pain than a human’s. It also pointed out horses have evolved to hide their pain rather than react to it.

A poll completed by the RSPCA in 2017 found that 74% of Australians agreed that whips should be banned in horse racing.

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