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Some Whips Banned at California Racetrack

Written by PETA | August 14, 2009 / CC

Most of you probably remember the tragedy at the 2008 Kentucky Derby, in which a young filly, Eight Belles, was whipped mercilessly in the final stretch, only to break both her front ankles after she crossed the finish line.

At that time, we called for the racing industry to eliminate, at a minimum, some of its most abusive practices, including permanently banning the use of whips.

In an encouraging sign, California’s Del Mar Racetrack has just announced that it has officially banned the use of hard leather whips and will only allow softer riding crops on the track. These softer crops will not sting or leave welts on horses like traditional hard leather whips do.

All whips should be banned outright, but considering that this reform comes on the heels (hooves?) of similar improvements by the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, it seems that the industry is getting the message that “business as usual” won’t fly anymore.

Of course, while these are steps in the right direction, the racing industry is still far from humane. Young horses are still forced to race before their bones are fully mature, horses are pumped with drugs so that they can run while injured, and “retired” racehorses are still sent to slaughter—and these are just some of the many abuses that horses endure in the racing industry. The only way to stop the cruelty altogether is to end horse racing once and for all.

Written by Jeff Mackey

Commenting is closed.
  • kathy bresnahan says:

    yes softer whips are a success. But what about all the horses that have died at Del Mar since the start of the racing season. I’m new to the area are there any organizations I can get involved in that are protesting these deaths.

  • Susan Bump says:

    This is a big step for racing. The ends of these new whips are made of foam and make noise instead of leaving welts. The Jockeys Guild at Del Mar has donated whips to jockeys who couldn’t afford to buy their own. We shouldn’t discredit any step in the right direction. As a retired racehorse trainer I know that racing is far from perfect and at times inhumane. However there are good barns good trainers good riders and horses who love to run.



  • Brandon says:

    Why should men continue to hurt these beautiful beasts? They should not be the center of our entertainment. They should be marvaled at from a far as they are left alone. We should let these wonderful animals be free. save the horses peta you are our only hope.

  • Brandon says:

    Horses are big beautiful majestic creatures. They should not be implicated in this mass ploy of amusment. These beasts of wonder have no say in how they live their lives. This is downright ignorant to the needs and wants of all horses. They have feelings to.

  • Susie says:

    Hooray! We’re making progress. Perhaps all whips will one day be banned and while we’re at it horses will be not be allowed to race before they turn 4.

  • Chris says:

    I’m so very gratefully that the commission has had at least had the decency to bad the most damaging of the whips. It’s a small but crucial step to helping protect those beautiful abused horses.

  • Rev. Meg Schramm says:

    Personally I enjoy seeing human runners race at a track meet much more than watching horses run at Hollywood Park or Del Mar.

  • Kathleen Smith says:

    Its a small step in the right direction. Lets hope there are bigger steps to follow and in the mean time they keep checks on the jockeys. Here in England some jockeys have been fined for soaking their whips in water to make them heavier. This results in the horse being hit and stung even harder!Personally Id like to give them a taste of their own medicine to see how they like it!