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International Coalition Launches Video to Expose Cruelty of Whipping Horses; Calls for a Ban on Whips








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23 February 2012, Tel Aviv




Hakol Chai today launched a 44 second, hard-hitting, witty video in Israel, Whipping Hurts, that exposes one of the many cruelties of the horse racing industry. The video, produced by the British NGO Animal Aid, proves that despite racing industry claims to the contrary, whipping hurts horses and must be banned. The video is being issued simultaneously in many countries as part of a campaign by a new international coalition of NGOs formed to work toward a total ban on whipping race horses.


The international coalition was formed in response to the action this week of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) to retract its four-month-old agreement to strengthen rules for using the whip. Made up of animal advocacy groups in all countries with a strong racing industry, including the U.K., Australia, France, Germany, and Ireland, the coalition will work toward a total ban.


"Members of the new international campaign reflect public opinion in calling for an end to the use of the whip to bully and intimidate horses into running up to and beyond their physical limits," said coalition head and Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler. The racing industry in Britain thinks that it has dealt with this issue by, essentially, tearing up the rule book. But it will not go away. All the signs indicate that the whip will be banned. We are simply determined that this day will come sooner rather than later."


According to the BHA's own recent poll, 57 per cent of U.K. citizens want an outright ban. Norway has been the first country to outlaw the whip, except for safety reasons, and leading figures in the racing industry agree that the days of the whip are numbered. At an April 2010 conference in Australia, Louis Romanet, former Director-General of France's racing oversight body, predicted that within the next five years, major racing nations would ban jockeys from using the whip to bully horses to run faster or to punish them.


A study conducted by the University of Sydney in Australia concluded that the use of the whip does not improve a horse's chance of winning. British jockeys do not use it when competing in Norway, where the whip is banned.


Whips commonly used in British racing have a padded area at the end, but they also have a long hard handle that frequently and painfully comes into physical contact with the horse on the hind quarters and down the neck. The BHA's own records reflect 17 incidents in 2010 in which horses were hit so hard with the so-called "welfare-friendly" whip that welts were raised on their bodies.


Said Hakol Chai spokesperson, Tal Sahar, "The new alliance has one sole objective: the whip hurts; ban it."