Ahead of today’s Melbourne Cup, the RSPCA have called for an end to whips in horse racing in Australia, saying that the majority of people support this change.
Currently, whips can be used to hit horses in every stride of the last 100m of a race, when a horse is already exhausted, and when experts claim it will not do any good anyway.
The RSPCA have called for today’s event to be the last Melbourne Cup with whips, saying:
“When millions of Australians tune in to watch the race that stops the nation, too few will realise they’re not only witnessing the most public form of animal cruelty, but they’re actually cheering it on. Help make this Melbourne Cup the last one which allows horses to be needlessly flogged, by demanding whip-free racing in 2016.”
In a statement, Chief Executive Heather Neil added:
“Whipping is unnecessary with evidence showing that whipping does not increase a horse’s chance of placing.”“A horse can feel a fly landing on its skin, so repeated striking with a whip in the same area of the body has the potential to cause localised trauma and tissue damage, the extent of which will increase with the force of the strike and the number of repetitions.”
“The solution to the cruelty of whips is clear: racing rules need to be amended to allow for hands and heels races, where a whip can be carried by jockeys but not used in the normal course of the race.”
“Other nations have already moved away from whip use and allow horses to be ridden in hands and heels races. It’s time for racing authorities in Australia to follow this lead and meet modern social expectations.”
“Without whips, horses will still win races, and the party can continue.”
You can read more about the practice of whipping and send a letter to the Victorian Racing Club via the RSPCA’s website.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup saw the tragic deaths of two horses – Admire Rakti, who died of “acute heart failure”, and Araldo, who was euthanised after breaking a leg when startled by a flag-waving child.
Officials at Racing Australia and the Victorian Racing Club have been contacted for comment, but have not yet responded.
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