Horse Racing & whips

I appreciate your concern for the welfare of horses, and I share it. I understand that the British Horseracing Association, the governing and regulatory body for the sport, requires that whips used in horse racing must be used responsibly, for safety reasons and only to encourage the horse. Any jockey breaking these rules should be punished accordingly.

Its policy on this issue was drawn up in consultation with animal welfare groups including the RSPCA, as was the approved energy absorbing design of the whip itself. Full details can be found on its website at

In addition to sanctions from the sport, using the whip indiscriminately on horses could lead to a prosecution under animal welfare laws. I would encourage anyone with evidence that a racehorse has suffered unnecessarily from being whipped to report it to the local authority.

I therefore believe that the provisions of the animal welfare laws coupled with the BHA's rules on the use of the whip, provide adequate protection for racehorses.