The whip consultation opened on 1st July 2021, and will be open for ten weeks until 6th September 2021. The consultation on the use of the whip is part of the recommendations made in the Horse Welfare Strategy, A Life Well Lived.
As it is a pertinent issue for owners and racing, we would like to encourage as many of you as possible to have your say. The consultation is open to anyone with an interest or opinion on the subject of the whip and no recommendations or decisions have been pre-determined. Most importantly, this is not a binary yes/no consultation and it is not a vote.
The consultation consists of an online questionnaire, which can be accessed via the Consultation Hub of the BHA website, alongside a series of focus groups which will also be held during the consultation period. There is an option in the online questionnaire that enables respondents to volunteer for participation in one of these groups.
Following the conclusion of the full consultation process, the data, views and suggestions from all parts of the consultation will be considered by the Whip Consultation Steering Group, which contains representation and expertise from across the racing industry – including Celia Djivanovic from the ROA - and wider sectors including politics, horse welfare and the media. The recommendations are expected to be submitted to the BHA Board for approval in early 2022. It is important to note that any decisions or changes made will be racing’s decision alone.
Why is this happening now?
As the sport modernises and debates around welfare continue, it is of vital importance that we, as a sport, take control of our narrative around high profile public concerns to ensure we protect the reputation and future of our sport.
The long-term health of British racing has never been more important in light of the impact of Covid in the last 18 months. Public trust in the sport will play a pivotal role in the sport’s recovery and plans for growth. The whip, rightly or wrongly, is often cited as a concern and poor perceptions distract from the positive progress the sport has made.
There is a need for the sport’s approach to welfare, and its response to perceptions of welfare, to be clearly understood by the wider public, specifically around the whip. So too do we need to show that our sport’s decision making is rooted in evidence.
In addition to the issue of public perception, this is also about the question of fairness of our rules. 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.
For more information on the Steering Group and the process, please see the link here and the following video: https://vimeo.com/565744788/ba3a790e08
Further supporting videos and other materials have been developed to provide background information on the whip and how it is used in racing. These will be available on the BHA website, as well as in the online questionnaire. You can also view the videos via the following links:
- About the whip: https://vimeo.com/566627070/c05f143be3
- How the whip is used: https://vimeo.com/566294506/651809275a