Horse Racing: Animal Welfare

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 7th February 2019.

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Photo of Mike Hill Mike Hill Labour, Hartlepool

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will make an assessment of what factors are behind an increase in the use of the whip in British horseracing.

Photo of Mike Hill Mike Hill Labour, Hartlepool

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps the Government plans to take to reduce the number of breaches of the whip regulations in British horse racing.

Photo of Mike Hill Mike Hill Labour, Hartlepool

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what assessment he has made of the decision to ban the whip in horseracing in Norway; and whether there are plans to introduce such a prohibition in the UK.

Photo of Mike Hill Mike Hill Labour, Hartlepool

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether he plans to prohibit the use of the whip in horseracing in the UK.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip

Defra is keen to ensure that we uphold our high standards of welfare including in relation to horseracing, and irresponsible use of the whip is completely unacceptable. The British Horseracing Association (BHA) requires that whips be used responsibly and jockeys may only use the whip within certain strict rules. The BHA policy on the whip was drawn up in consultation with animal welfare groups, such as the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare. The latest rules include a threshold on the number of times the whip is used before racing stewards can consider an enquiry. If the rules are broken, the jockey may be banned from racing for a certain number of days depending on the seriousness of the offence. Defra is satisfied that the rules in place are sufficient to restrict and limit the use of the whip in horse racing.

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