RSPCA Victoria says industry must call time on whips

RSPCA Victoria welcomes the increased penalties for whip rule breaches handed down at Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup but says more needs to be done to phase out the use of whips entirely.

“Due to the pain and distress whips inflict on horses, RSPCA Victoria is disappointed to hear that a jockey exceeded the whip rules at the running of the 2020 Melbourne Cup. Recently released research shows the majority (69%) of Victorians believe whipping horses causes pain, is inhumane, and do not believe the use of whips in horseracing is necessary or reflective of community sentiment,” said Dr Walker.

Another study released this month showed that whipping horses does not make them run faster, and debunked traditional arguments that the whip is needed for performance enhancement and to maintain racing integrity. Racing performance should not be determined by inflicting pain through whipping but rather by sound breeding, quality training and outstanding horsemanship.

“We were pleased to see that the penalty for excessive whip use at the Melbourne Cup was the largest ever handed out. However, increased penalties are not enough. The ultimate outcome should be that whips are not used for the purpose of enhancing horse performance – that is, making them go faster – at all.

“We recently welcomed Racing Victoria’s call to reduce the use of the whip and believe whip reform is a necessary and positive change. The whip can no longer be defended as a tool for performance enhancement. Other countries have already introduced whip-free racing and we encourage the Australian racing industry to do the same.”

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