Santa Anita Park whip ban looks like a panicked response to a welfare crisis

From the UK’s Guardian:

The first, an immediate ban on the use of all race-day medication including the anti-bleeding drug Lasix, has since been watered down and will start with the two-year-old crop in 2020. The second, though, seems likely to apply from Friday: a ban on the use of the whip by jockeys for anything but “corrective safety measures”.

If so, Santa Anita will be the first track in a major racing nation to ban the whip for encouragement at any stage of a race. It will also set a precedent that racing regulators around the world will struggle to ignore. If Santa Anita can get by without the whip in the closing stages of a race, why can’t everyone?

The British Horseracing Authority will be watching with interest. “We talk regularly to our colleagues in other countries where racing is held,” a spokesperson said this week. “Events have moved quite quickly in recent weeks in California and we look forward to catching up at the next opportunity to hear more of their plans.”   more…

British Horseracing Authority stands firm in call for whip to be banned

An impassioned call for the use of the whip in racing to be banned met with a rigorous response from the British Horseracing Authority on Wednesday.

Respected journalist Matthew Syed said in his column in The Times the racing industry was “in denial” and that “pain is being inflicted upon animals for the purpose of making them run faster.”

He added: “It is in the interests not only of horses but of racing itself to consign the use of this device for the purposes of increasing speed to the scrapheap of history”.

Responding on Twitter, the BHA said: “If horses behaved as if they were in pain, then the millions of people who watch the sport – and the thousands who take part and dedicate their lives to the care of these animals – wouldn’t accept it.