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PETA Files Lawsuit In Australia To Outlaw Horse Whipping

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PETA Files Lawsuit In Australia To Outlaw Horse Whipping

An animal rights organisation has launched a lawsuit in Tasmania against the state's racing authority in the hope it can outlaw horse whipping.

PETA filed 14 criminal charges against Tasmania's peak racing body, Tasracing, and a jockey while arguing that whipping a horse amounts to animal cruelty.

While whipping is permitted in racing under Tasmanian law, PETA believes it's actually in contravention of the state's Animal Welfare Act 1993.

They have focused on two races at Mowbray in Launceston in 2019 in their charges against the Aussie jockey.

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They said the whipping 'caused and was likely to cause unreasonable and unjustifiable pain and suffering to the horses'.

Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

The charges against Tasracing focused on how the racing body has permitted whipping to be allowed in the sport.

PETA has been clear in their lawsuit that neither Tasracing nor the jockey are accused of 'excessive' whipping, as they are trying to get the practice banned altogether.

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At the moment, the current rules only allow whipping up to five times 'in non-consecutive strides prior to the 100-metre mark' and then the rider can use their discretion to whip after that.

A spokesperson from Tasracing revealed they hadn't seen the legal documents supposedly submitted, however they are ready to battle against PETA.

"Importantly, Tasracing complies with the Australian Rules of Racing in full which govern racing and conduct of races," it said (via ABC).

"Tasracing has a seat on the Racing Australia Riding Protocols Committee which reviews the whip rules on an ongoing basis.

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Credit: Alamy
Credit: Alamy

"In Tasmania, these rules are overseen by the stewards of the Office of Racing Integrity. "Naturally, any proceedings instituted will be vigorously defended."

PETA will likely draw on a study that was released last year just after the Melbourne Cup raced that revealed horses can feel pain when they are whipped.

Not only that, but the finding explained that horses would feel the same amount of pain that a human would experience if they were whipped.

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Paul McGreevy, the Professor of Animal Behaviour and Animal Welfare Science at the University of Sydney, authored the study and said: "Humans and horses have the equivalent basic anatomic structures to detect pain in the skin.

"Our conclusions are that we need to accept that the physical capacity of horses to accept pain is clear."

Professor McGreevy said he was looking to understand 'one of the holy grails in equine welfare - that is a sense of what horses may feel when they are contacted by a whip'.

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Australia

Stewart Perrie
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