Merciless Whipping at Parx Race Track Prompts Formal PETA Complaint

District Attorney Called Upon to Investigate Jockey Edwin Rivera's Seemingly Punitive Act of Cruelty Against Mare Who Dropped Behind

For Immediate Release:
March 17, 2016

Lakisha Ridley 202-483-7382

Bensalem, Pa. – This morning, PETA sent a letter calling on Bucks County District Attorney David Heckler to launch an investigation into a recent act of apparent cruelty to animals by jockey Edwin Rivera at Parx Casino and Racing near Philadelphia. Video from the March 6 race shows Rivera riding a mare named Forgetthefantasy—and as the mare fades to last place, Rivera appears to whip her repeatedly and forcefully. As PETA notes in its letter, Pennsylvania’s cruelty-to-animals statute prohibits wantonly or cruelly ill-treating, overloading, beating, or otherwise abusing any animal.

Following the incident, Parx stewards fined Rivera $250 for “misuse of the whip.”

“Rivera had no hope of pushing this mare out of last place and into the money, so it seems that he beat her in anger, to punish her, in what PETA believes is an illegal act of cruelty to animals,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “Pennsylvania’s anti-cruelty law exists to protect animals like this abused horse, and PETA is calling on the district attorney’s office to file all appropriate charges against the jockey.”

Rivera’s actions have been condemned by members of the horseracing industry. Industry website Equibase, which has no animal-advocacy affiliation, described the whipping incident as “rather excessive and severe.” PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to abuse in any way”—is calling on Parx to ban Rivera from all future races at the track.

PETA’s request for investigation is available upon request. For more information, please visit

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind