Woodbine To Trial 3 Months Of No Whips
Woodbine Entertainment is once again setting the par and horse racing industry standard. The racetrack management corporation has announced that it will be instituting a trilogy of new rules aimed at investigating the viability of permanent implementation. The new rules will come into effect on October 18 and if successfully passed and unanimously received and supported, may very well end up changing horse racing as we know it in Ontario.
The proposed to-be-trialled rules involve horses no longer having any contact with the crop, jockeys only making use of the under-hand whip position (this one being the most significant of the suggested changes), and the avoidance of cocked position contact.
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No New Issue
The harm of whipping has for many years enjoyed a great deal of high-volatility discussion airtime. Animal rights groups and environmentalists have been vehemently outspoken about the inhumane act of whipping a horse in an attempt to make the animal deliver a better performance. The shame of it all, said those against the use of whipping, its that its all being done to animals in the spirit of making a profit.
Horse racing is an exceptionally popular pastime and especially so in Ontario. Many people think back fondly to the years of travelling with family to horse racing days and outings and associate Woodbine and many other tracks with pleasant memories and events. It would be a terribly stupid thing indeed to not take care of the animals running the races and the ultimately goal of the changes the rules is to adopt a more humane approach when considering sheer performance.
Solid Outcome Either Way
There are those who have proposed an animal-friendly whip and one that instead of hurting the animal absorbs all of the outward-bound energy beforehand. This has the effect of prompting the horse into action by way of an instruction instead of urging the animal forward by means of a negative event such as inducing pain.
The first prize is without a doubt a complete ban on the use of whips in any form of animal racing. This is clearly what Woodbine is hoping to achieve, and exceptionally commendably so. The show of support in favour or against the removal of whips from the race equation will ultimately determine whether the practice will be scrapped in its entirety, or whether more research will be prompted with regards to animal-friendly whips and prompts.
In the meantime, all hats off to Woodbine for spearheading the initiative.