The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has assembled a 15-strong Whip Consultation Steering Group ahead of the forthcoming consultation regarding the use of the foam-padded whip in British racing.
The group, which is chaired by BHA independent regulatory non-executive director David Jones, is comprised of a range of industry participants, vets and politicians, including champion trainer John Gosden and jockey PJ McDonald, as well as Roly Owers, CEO of World Horse Welfare.
As part of the independent Horse Welfare Board's strategic plan, A life well lived – a new strategic plan for the welfare of horses bred for racing 2020-2024, a recommendation was made that a public consultation should be conducted by the BHA regarding the use of the whip in British racing. The newly-formed steering group will be integral to this process and, following consultation, will make recommendations to help determine the outcome.
“It is essential that the consultation process is fair, open and transparent and the views of all parties are considered,” said David Jones. “In addition, any decisions must be made by those who have a deep understanding and knowledge of the subject matter and who are willing to both represent and consider a range of perspectives. The role of the Steering Group will be to ensure that all of these requirements are met. The breadth of expertise and experience that has come together to form this group is truly impressive.”
Brant Dunshea, the BHA's chief regulatory officer, added,”The whips used in British racing are foam-padded and were designed with input from the RSPCA. Its use in races is subject to strict controls.
“The Horse Welfare Board were clear, however, that the use of the whip is an issue of public trust in the sport, and that the racing industry must be mindful of public opinion if it is to safeguard its long-term future.
“By carrying out this consultation we are looking to facilitate a positive, open debate about an important issue. Any decisions will be for racing to make, and the Steering Group's expertise from across the racing industry – alongside the perspectives of representatives of other independent sectors – will play a leading part in this process.”