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English horse industry rejects calls for whips to be banned

CALLS to ban the use of whips as punishment in competition have been rejected by the horse industry in England and Wales.

Norfolk Horse Training and Equitation Club (NHTEC) has asked the British Horse Society (BHS) for a ban, after similar rules were made in Scotland and Denmark.

The Scottish government’s Code of Practice for the Welfare of Equidae and the Danish federation’s rules both state a whip should not be used as a means of punishment.

Johanna Macarthur of NHTEC said: “Banning the whip [as punishment] in competitions begins a journey toward empathy and an improvement in welfare.”

The BHS code of practice says the use of the whip is permissible to “encourage the horse forwards” and “to reprimand the horse”.

Lee Hackett, BHS senior welfare executive, said: “We could not support an outright ban. Whips should be used at an appropriate time with an appropriate amount of force.”

The British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) Andrew Finding added: “As long as the whip is used in line with the recommendations of the individual bodies of the BEF I don’t see a problem.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (2 July, ’09)

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