The Australian Racing Board has proposed changes to the Australian Rules of Racing relating to the use of whips in races. The proposed changes follow debate within the racing industry and at the National Chairman of Stewards Conference and within the community about the excessive use of whips on horses.
The ARB sought the views of many of the stakeholder groups and industry associations on the subject and the proposed changes, and the ATA’s response on the major changes is as follows :
Regarding the compulsory use of padded whips, the ATA is of the view that there is insufficient information, veterinary or otherwise, for a properly informed decision to be made on this issue. The ATA believes that further and more definitive research needs to be undertaken and the results presented for further analysis and discussion.
Secondly, in regards to the use of whips on two year olds, the ATA does not support a ban on the use of whips on two year olds. However, there may be a need to develop a set of guidelines limiting their use on two year olds which could then be circulated to the relevant industry associations for their feedback and discussion.
Finally, on the question of the existing rules relating to the use of whips, the ATA is of the view that a tighter policing of the existing rules should address welfare concerns that have been expressed on the general use of whips in races.