The Racing Post recently asked its readers and regular contributors what could be done to “make racing more popular” in Britain.
Among the wide range of suggestions submitted to the publication were those of columnist Tom Kerr, who believes that the most obvious thing that is “central to the future prosperity of racing: the public perception of the sport – specifically the welfare of its equine athletes and the morality of whipping.”
While Kerr states that he has “no personal desire to see the whip banned,” he believes that in order for the sport to attract a wider – and younger – audience, it is something that must be done. To someone not as familiar with horse racing, or who may be visiting a racetrack for the first time, it can be unsettling to see a jockey using the whip on a horse.
“All they see is the appearance of violence being inflicted upon animals,” Kerr writes. “The perception is appalling; it is of a sport that punishes its heroes.”
“Banning the whip is an inevitability. How racing chooses to meet that inevitability is up to the sport.”
Read more in the Racing Post
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