Cassy O'Connor MP | Greens Leader and Animal Welfare spokesperson
The Greens strongly support the RSPCA and PETA in their call for the Gutwein Government to ban horse whips on the race track.
With community expectations supporting stronger animal welfare protections, the days of the whip are surely over. They are cruel, unnecessary and outdated.
Racing Minister, Jane Howlett, clearly does care about the welfare of animals but she needs to do more. It is within her power to stop the cruelty of the whip, and ban the lashing of horses as a recognised practice. Sadly, when we pushed the Minister on this issue in Budget Estimates, she was noncommittal.
We have questioned the Racing Minister on the use of whips in horse racing and harness racing. Other countries have banned the cruel use of whips, so why shouldn’t Tasmania?
Minister Howlett has previously claimed they are needed for safety. That’s untrue – many other countries have scrapped the cruel practice and their jockeys and drivers haven’t suffered by ending the suffering of whipped horses.
Whipping leads to exhausted horses being pushed past breaking point. It puts them at even greater risk of serious injury and death.
The Greens understand the growing public concern about this outdated, unnecessary, and cruel practice. The Gutwein Government needs to demonstrate it cares about the welfare of animals and ban the use of whips.