Whip use in horseracing is increasingly being questioned on ethical, animal welfare, social sustainability, and legal grounds. Despite this, there is weak evidence for whip use and its regulation by Stewards in Australia. To help address this, we characterised whip rule breaches recorded by Stewards using Stewards Reports and Race Diaries from 2013 and 2016 in New SouthWales (NSW) and the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). There were more recorded breaches at Metropolitan (M) than Country (C) or Provincial (P) locations, and by riders of horses that finished first, second, or third than by riders of horses that finished in other positions. The most commonly recorded breaches were forehand whip use on more than five occasions before the 100-metre (m) mark (44%), and whip use that raises the jockey’s arm above shoulder height (24%). It is recommended that racing compliance data be analysed annually to inform the evidence-base for policy, education, and regulatory change, and ensure the welfare of racehorses and racing integrity.
Hood, J.; McDonald, C.; Wilson, B.; McManus, P.; McGreevy, P. Whip Rule Breaches in a Major Australian Racing Jurisdiction: Welfare and Regulatory Implications. Animals 2017, 7, 4.