RSPCA Statement on BHA rules
“It’s absolutely staggering that the BHA has taken such a clear backward step, less than six months after the new whip rules were introduced. Not only has the BHA failed to consult the RSPCA or other welfare groups about its plans but the decision flies in the face of scientific research which shows that excessive use of the whip actually increases the likelihood of falls.
“This is a black day for the racing industry but the real losers today are horses – jockeys have effectively been given a licence to beat them with impunity. We are extremely disappointed that once again the BHA has seen it necessary to change the rules in favour of the jockeys, despite having already allowed two previous concessions.
“Since the new rules limiting the use of the whip were introduced there appears to be a culture of change among jockeys, which is a positive move forward. This latest move sees the preventative, punitive, element of the new whip rules reduced even further which gives us real cause for concern.”
NB I originally attributed this statement to David Muir, the RSPCA’s consultant, who emailed it to me. David tells me he was not the author and that it was written by the RSPCA’s press office. Joe McNally