BHA Whip Consultation Opens



The British Horseracing Authority on Thursday opened a 10-week open, public consultation on British racing's whip rules and penalities. The consultation, a recommendation of the industry's independently chaired Horse Welfare Board, aims to gather and assess the views of industry participants, stakeholders and wider audiences regarding the rules, use, and penalties for rule breaches.

The first part of the consultation is an online questionnaire that will be available until Sept. 6 and is open to anyone. The second part of the consultation will involve detailed discussions with relevant parties and focus groups.

Upon conclusion of the full consultation process the data, views and suggestions gathered will be considered by the Whip Consultation Steering Group, which includes representation from across the racing industry and wider sectors including politics, horse welfare and the media. Recommendations will be presented to the BHA Board for consideration and approval in early 2022.

The BHA has published three explanatory videos on how the consultation will work: how the process will work, about the whip and how the whip is used. A Q&A document is also available.

Julie Harrington, chief executive of the BHA, said, “At a time when societal and political views are constantly changing, the future health of our sport will depend in part on the maintenance of social licence and the trust that the public and politicians have in us. The racing industry must be willing to listen to and understand a range of perspectives if it is to prosper and safeguard its long-term future. Moreover, we must have rules and a penalty structure which are viewed as fair to participants and the betting public, which encourage riding within the rules and which deter rule breaches. By carrying out this consultation we are looking to signal and facilitate a positive, open debate about this important issue for our sport from the viewpoint of perception and fairness. We encourage everyone with an interest in the subject to take part in the consultation. This is your opportunity to be heard.”

Brant Dunshea, chief regulatory officer for the BHA, said, “The consultation process will be open and transparent, and the views of all parties are welcome and will be considered. The decisions that result from this process are then racing's to make, guided by the consultation responses and the significant expertise that exists within the Steering Group. We encourage all respondents to make use of the supporting information in the consultation, which explains the current design of the whip, and the rules and penalties relating to its use, to ensure that anyone responding to the consultation is informed by the facts.

“This is a complex issue and not a binary one. The consultation will cover a broad range of ground regarding the use of the whip for encouragement, the rules under which the padded whips are used for this specific purpose, and the penalties for breaches of those rules. We ask everyone involved to take part in this debate constructively and respectfully.”

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