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Horse racing set to debate use of whip - By Shailendra Awasthi I TOI

Posted on - 18 Jul 2014

Horse racing set to debate use of whip
By Shailendra Awasthi

The use of whip has always been a much debated issue in horse racing. While it plays a key role in good horsemanship, and is a must for the safety of both the horse and its rider, there are enough instances to show that the improper use of whip is commonplace. The present rule of whipping a horse not more than eight times in a race is often broken but situation may soon change.
A recent meeting of the Turf Authority of India (TAI) at Bangalore saw some major suggestions to look after the humane aspects of the sport with a proposal to set up a Welfare Committee to go into the issues relating to the whipping, home for retired horses, misuse of drugs etc.
Vivek Jain, chairman of the Royal Western India Turf Club, who suggested setting up of Welfare Committee, says “The issue of using whip in racing or at least moderating its usage is the subject of discussion at the International Federation of Horse Racing Authorities and it is important we adopt best practices."
A nominee of Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) may also be part of such committee. “I had discussed this issue with AWBI chief General Kharb. He was delighted and went a step further to state AWBI may also be represented on it," says Jain.
At the TAI meeting it was also decided to raise funds for a home for retired horses. “The Hyderabad Race Club had set up a fund for a home for retired horses. It was decided this should come under the TAI umbrella and this Committee can set up ways and means on looking after the welfare of such horses," informed Jain.
According to Jain it was also decided that the National Horse Breeding Society take forward the proposal of testing of two-year-olds for anabolic steroids by a joint discussion with senior vets and stipes from all clubs in India. At the meeting, the chairmen of various clubs also noted the progress made by the organising committee of the Asian Racing Conference to be held in Mumbai in 2016 (under Dr Cyrus Poonawalla's leadership) and noted that the Committee would make a formal presentation to the Asian Racing Federations executive Council in Paris in October later this year.

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