The Australia community will be greatly disappointed by the lacklustre whip rule changes Racing Australia announced today.
These changes make no difference to the way horses can be whipped on every stride in the last 100 metres, a point in the race when the horse is already exhausted.
Despite industry claims that past whip rule changes requiring jockeys to use padded whip have improved welfare, research has shown that the unpadded section of the whip made contact on 64% of impacts and more than 75% of the time the whip struck the horse in the abdomen (or flank).
While it’s positive to see that forehand and backhand strikes will be considered the same and that penalties will be more consistently enforced the changes do not go far enough to protect animals.
More than 38,000 Australians recently called on Racing Australia to implement changes which would allow hands and heels races to occur where whips could still be carried but only used for safety purposes meaning horses would not permitted to be whipped for performance purposes.
*The attached creative is a snapshot of the more than 38,295 Australians who signed petitions calling for an end to whipping race horses on either the RSPCA Australia website or on Change.org – a petition created by Penny Josephson.