For Immediate Release, Monday 14 February 2022
Would the world be outraged with Sir Mark Todd if he and his horse were on a racetrack?
Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) is calling on the public to make the connection between the appalling abuse Sir Mark Todd subjected an innocent horse to and the standard industry practices that occur daily in horse racing.
Sir Mark Todd, a Kiwi now living in the UK, has apologised after video footage was released of him whipping a horse to make them go through a water obstacle, not just once but ten times! – available here.
The knighted equestrian champion has been a licensed racehorse trainer in the UK since retiring from eventing three years ago.
“Sir Mark Todd is no knight and the Cabinet Office must revoke his knighthood” says CPR spokesperson Frances Baker. “But, whilst we absolutely condemn this act of violence, we must highlight that such acts of aggression and abuse are standard practice in the racing industry here in New Zealand and throughout the world.”
“The industry practice of beating a horse with a whip is not unlike what Mark Todd has carried out, yet his behaviour has outraged the world. This says a lot about how much people are willing to accept blatant animal abuse when it occurs in a scenario where people are used to seeing it.”
Some racing industry proponents have already gone into damage control, using this incident to call on the British Racing Authority to change the name of the whip to something more palatable such as a “procush” or the “encourager” believing the public will not associate beating a horse with an object as a form of abuse if the object has a different name – available here.
Studies have long proven otherwise, with clear evidence that whips hurt horses – the most recent covered here.
“When there are big dollars involved and animals are used as money making machines, they become victims to their powerful owners or trainers in all industries. Some forms have simply been more normalised than others.”
”The abuse Mark Todd subjected this horse to is rightly being condemned by the world. People must join the dots and see that such abuse should never be accepted simply because it occurs on a racetrack. Horse racing is stuck in the dark ages, a time when it was normal for gladiator slaves to be thrust into the arena for the spectator’s bloody entertainment” Ms Baker said.
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