In Australia, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has been making a fuss about jockeys over-using the whip during races.
To call jockeys who are upset about the new whip rules “rednecks” reflects the ignorance of the RSPCA in relation to this issue.
The new padded whips have been compared with “feather dusters”; they clearly do not hurt a horse, and yet the RSPCA maintains that the animal suffers unnecessarily. The integrity of racing is at stake here. Owners and trainers need to be sure that their horse has every opportunity to win the race, and the use of the whip helps to ensure this.
More importantly, punters need to be certain that every horse is racing on its merits. Gallops racing is preferred over greyhound racing because there is a human influence during the running of the race; whilst a greyhound may opt for a lazy day, a jockey can maintain a horse’s focus with the gentle encouragement of a cushioned whip.
The RSPCA would do well to mobilise its energy and resources towards addressing real issues of concern, cases in which animals are truly suffering unnecessarily. The organisation is on the wrong track completely in its arguments against the use of the whip in racing.