On December 14 it was reported Racing Victoria would conduct a series of whip-free races over the summer period – article here. By December 15 they had pulled the pin after pressure from jockeys’, trainers’ and owners’ – article here.
Racing Victoria claims whip reform is essential to the long-term sustainability of racing, acknowledging the vision of beating horses with a whip is out of step with community expectations. However, they still refuse to admit the obvious, that whips cause the horse pain, even with studies to back this up.
Jockeys, on the other hand, are determined to be able to continue to beat up horses as hard as they can, using safety as an excuse, even though the whip-free races proposed allow them to hold and use the whip for reasons of safety only.
Though we are not opposed to horse racing slowly but surely causing its own demise, the continuation of beating horses with a whip means there will be many years to come where horses will be subjected to additional pain and fear and where injuries from being pushed well beyond their limits will continue to be prevalent and contribute to the high numbers of deaths on track.
Whilst it is unclear who is running the show at Racing Victoria and whether they will succeed in their mission to introduce whip-free races, one thing is certain – the younger generation are seeing horse racing for what it is, blatant animal abuse, and they simply won’t stand for it, as this comment in the racenet article from an old punter makes abundantly clear.
“Problem is rusted on punters like us who have been around and seen most things do not really think twice about it but the next generation, well that is another story. Took my niece to the races a few years ago when she was 13 as she is horse mad but she will not go again because the horses got whipped. Not only that I copped a lecture from he mum about cruelty to animals. That is what racing is looking at from the future generation….We have already seen jumps racing forced out of the Metro area and pretty much out of sight out of mind for a lot of people…….RV are under massive pressure to be seen to be doing something about deaths in the MC when in reality it is most likely plain back luck in the majority of cases. I doubt very much Admire Ratki broke his leg because of the hard track but that is not seen by those on the outside.
At the end of the day racing dies a slow death if the next generation can not warm to it. Harness racing have watered down their whip use to only a wrist flicking motion whilst still holding the reign. No use of the elbow or shoulder and their rules actually state no excessive force to be used.
This is something that will happen even if us old race fans do not seem to have an issue with reasonable whip use.”