A racecourse in England is petitioning to ban horse whips from being used during all races at their track.
Towcester Racecourse, in Northhamptonshire in central England, is hoping to be the first racecourse to abolish the use of the whip from October this year.
Racecourse General Manager, Kevin Ackerman, has asked the British Horseracing Authority in London to allow the Club to make the desired changes.
“At a board meeting of Towcester Racecourse, the directors considered the current rules relating to the use of the whip,” Mr Ackerman said.
“It was the view of the meeting that the public who attend Towcester do not enjoy watching horses getting whipped after they have raced up our steep hill.”
Mr Ackerman also feels strongly about the current rules in place that allows finishing orders to still stand despite a jockey breaking the current whip rules.
“As a secondary consideration, they also have reservations about a rule which allows the connections of a horse to be victorious in spite of their jockey breaching current whip rules,” he said.
“We would, however, stress that we do not consider the current whip rules to represent cruelty to horses. We simply wish to address the perception and fairness of racing at Towcester.”
Mr Ackerman plans to make all racing run under the ‘Hands and Heels’ series, which is a method used to teach inexperienced jockeys how to get the best out of a horse without having to use the whip.
“With this in mind, having noted the success of your ‘Hands and Heels’ series, the directors have decided that, with effect from the meeting on 5th October 2011, that they would like every race at Towcester to be run under the rules which were created for that series,” Mr Ackerman said.
“In other words, jockeys will be allowed to carry whips, but only be allowed to use them as a riding aid in front of the saddle, and any breach of this rule will result in automatic disqualification of the horse.”
The Chairman of Towcester Racecourse, Lord Hesketh, supports a complete whip ban.
“Towcester has always been an innovative racecourse,” he said.
“We believe this is the way forward for the industry.”