Blinkers Off: Old argument suggesting striking horse doesn’t hurt cops its fair share of whiplash   Leave a comment

Blinkers Off: Old argument suggesting striking horse doesn’t hurt cops its fair share of whiplash

Jockeys wield their whips down the home straight as they approach the finish line at Moon

Jockeys wield their whips down the home straight as they approach the finish line at Moonee Valley. Picture: Michael Klein Source: News Corp Australia

THE racing world’s reluctance to stop jockeys whipping horses suggests it now exists in a bubble.

There is a damaging mood in racing that the world outside the bubble is wrong and that racing is right; that racing can prosper quite nicely, thank you, without being influenced by agendas of politically correct hippies who wouldn’t swat a mosquito.

Jockeys, trainers, administrators, media and even a veteran racecaller with foggy binoculars have gone all insular and defiant over a strong message from the outside world — those millions of hippies! — that whipping horses is simply not on.

Last week’s Catalyst program on the ABC, where it was established that even padded whips almost certainly caused pain to the horse, hardly applied the blowtorch but it had racing and its unpalatable practices in its sights.

The jury is out, probably, on whether animals with brains the size of a golf ball actually perceive pain as we would.

But the point is it looks like it hurts, that it punishes. The horse is galloping its lungs out and these little belters just won’t let up. To those outside the bubble — the millions racing foolishly disregards — that’s how it looks, cruel.

A Sydney Uni animal welfare professor described it as “arguably the most visible form of violence against animals”.

That, not from a hippy covered in mozzie bites but an expert in animal and human interaction. The next day 3AW conducted a poll and 80 per cent said they deplored the whipping of horses.

Of course the racing industry scoffed.

Australian Racing Board chief executive Peter McGauran defended the whip by dissing Catalyst’s scientific conclusions as an “opinion piece of only two pages”.

Others resorted to the tired old angle of “you know it’s really only the negative ones who get involved in those polls’’ and one top trainer produced a lame deflection: “Why are we even discussing this? Look at what’s happening in Syria!’’

A veteran racecaller tweeted whip talk was “boring!’’

Yet the world moves on and has never been more sensitive animal welfare. The more we belt each other up, the more animals appear uncorrupted and best not to be whipped in the name of sport and punting.

You’d swear by industry reaction that the push was for jockeys to ride naked and bareback, not merely without whipping.

No one is even suggesting they get rid of the whip, which even the hippies would agree is important for control.

Former whip enforcer Greg Hall has tweeted he now realises whipping “looks terrible”. Pic

Former whip enforcer Greg Hall has tweeted he now realises whipping “looks terrible”. Picture: Colleen Petch Source:News Corp Australia

Racing resents change. There are still safari suits out there. New whip rules came in a few years back and jockeys threatened to strike. But it’s been a seamless transition and the jocks would be the first to admit that.

Now, most barely use the whip. If they do, it’s only in that desperate last furlong where it achieves little more than to look terrible to those millions of “hippies’’ outside the bubble.

One top trainer insisted last week that “some horses are no good without it, just wouldn’t put in’’, which would seem to put the onus back on the trainer to imaginatively, rather than bluntly (or battery driven), come up with ways to coax that horse to put in.

And if the horse won’t put in, why is that flaw any different to a horse who won’t take a gap, can’t sprint, can’t stay, hates it wet/dry, or won’t go left or right-handed?

One retired jockey pushed out of the bubble after a serious race fall now resides in the suburbs with the rest of the hippies, as does former whip enforcer Greg Hall, who has tweeted he now realises whipping “looks terrible”.

Our retired jock is a man of few but well chosen words.

“Whipping looks crap, like we’re punishing them. Stop it and there will still be eight races, eight winners. What’s the problem?”

Racing resents change. New whip rules came in a few years back and jockeys threatened to

Racing resents change. New whip rules came in a few years back and jockeys threatened to strike. Picture: Getty Images Source: Getty Images

Originally published as Old argument cops fair share of whiplash

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Posted March 30, 2015 by belesprit09 in Uncategorized

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