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Whipping Rules Approved Down Under

Published: October 13, 2009 3:57 pm ET

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It has been announced that new rules governing the use of the whip in Australian harness racing will come into effect January 1, 2010.

The rules, which eliminate the excessive and highly visible use of the whip in harness races, were ratified at the annual general meeting of Harness Racing Australia on Monday, October 12.

Under the rules, drivers must hold a rein in each hand and only use the whip in a flicking motion or action during a race.

“After extensive consultation with the industry and animal welfare groups, including the RSPCA, these new rules present a common sense approach to the use of whips in racing,” said HRA chairman Geoff Want.

“The industry will now be provided with an extensive education program, including a DVD to ensure all participants are familiar with the rules before the introduction on 1 January. To assist drivers in adapting to the changes, a transition period, including the use of the new rules in official trials from 1 November and a lenient, common sense approach to penalties by stewards in the first two months of 2010 has also been agreed.”

The meeting also heard a wide ranging discussion on issues surrounding the breeding industry, which highlighted a number of critical issues to be referred to the HRA Equine Breeding, Animal Welfare and Registration Committee. Other key topics, including the future promotion and criteria of the Grand Circuit, as well as the establishment of a Prohibited Substance Review Panel, were progressed.

(With files from Harness Racing Australia)

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