RSPCA Australia welcomes the announcement that Racing Victoria is seeking national action on whip reform.
Racing Victoria’s call to reduce the use of the whip to between five and eight occasions per race would be a significant improvement on current practice where whip use is at the jockey’s discretion in the final 100m of a race.
Presently, this means horses can be whipped an unlimited amount of times when they are fatigued and have less capacity to respond.
Reforming whip rules is a positive change, and we congratulate Racing Victoria for taking this important step forward.
The RSPCA remains firm that the ultimate outcome should be that whips are not used for the purpose of enhancing performance due to the pain and distress inflicted on horses.
This would ensure that racing performance is not determined by inflicting pain through whipping but rather by sound breeding, quality training and outstanding horsemanship.
Other countries have already introduced hands-and-heels racing and we encourage the Australian racing industry to do the same.