A jigger is a battery powered electric shock device, similar to a taser. Long used in the Australian racing industry as a means of pushing horses to run faster, their use was curbed during race meets once stewards vision of races improved with the introduction of video surveillance.[i]

Illegal under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, according to industry insiders, jiggers are still widely used on horses in the racing industry during training regimes. To successfully achieve the desired response from the horse who fears the pain of the shock on race day, the jockey also needs to be complicit. They need to know when and how to cue the response. Applying pressure from the butt of the whip can trigger the response as can the use of legal race day gear such as blinkers . The response is achieved when the horse associates the blinkers or other stimuli such as the whip butt, or even a roar in the horses ear[ii] with the use of the jigger.

CPR has been contacted on numerous occasions by industry participants stating the use of jiggers is common among trainers however they refuse to go on the record out of fear for their jobs, reputations, and the safety of themselves and their families.[iii]

The continued use of these electric shock devices finally came to light due to one of Australia’s top trainers being investigated and charged with their use. Darren Weir received a minor 4 year ban from racing in 2019[iv] when found to be in possession of the banned devices. No jockey’s associated with Weir were confirmed to be under investigation at the time of writing this article despite jockeys needing to be complicit in order for them to work.

The matter is currently being investigated by Victoria Police and criminal charges are expected to be laid in due course.

Since the Darren Weir investigation, another Victorian trainer is being investigated for tasering horses.[v]

If you have knowledge of any illegal activities involving racehorses, we ask you to please contact CPR via our whistleblower page. All communication will be strictly confidential.

[i] https://theconversation.com/the-shocking-use-of-jiggers-in-horse-racing-111176

[ii] https://www.smh.com.au/sport/racing/where-does-the-shadow-of-the-weir-jiggers-scandal-end-20190208-p50wg7.html

[iii] https://www.theage.com.au/sport/racing/new-mp-leads-field-of-animal-activists-calling-for-weir-life-ban-20190205-p50vt8.html

[iv] https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-05/darren-weir-not-contesting-charge-electric-shock-racing-victoria/10779924

[v] https://www.bbc.com/sport/horse-racing/47250139?fbclid=IwAR0RfREaiQ2zx2fw96gjhF2qAN_hKBIDYBE7hRST7kS2Dh2SFaeA0_RNjD0