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Authorities Crack the Whip on Harness Racing

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In June, Australian authorities had been looking to ban the whip in harness racing. It seems though that Harness Racing NSW has ignored the ban, letting the use of the whip to continue.

The Chief Executive Officer of Harness Racing NSW, John Dumesny, is also involved in the rewriting of the rules. Mr Dumesny suggests that it is the way the whip is used that needs to change instead of banning the whip altogether. He said “We have to be aware of the public and community standards about the whip and its use. The whip itself is not cruel, it is the way it is used that can be seen as cruel.”

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A charity organisation that is against the use of animal experiments, Humane Research Australia (HRA), is still persistent in their fight despite delays. Last month, the organisation’s chairman, Geoff Want said that there would be changes to the whip rules and that the organisation’s Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Kelly remained committed to achieving real progress this year.

Harness Racing – Safety and Integrity Issue

Mr Dumesny said that the HRNSW had told the NRA that they would continue with the use of a whip but they do not want to get to a stage where states have different rules. “We held a whip convention last week, where there was a consensus that we need to work on the whip rules.”

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This convention was attended by drivers, trainers and administrators from all states. “It was a very good discussion from everyone involved from around the country. In the afternoon session, the drivers got in a gig and showed their whip action as it is now, and how they would see it under changes to the rules.” said Mr Dumesny.

The HRNSW feels that with the backing of the other states, they will reach the desired outcome. They are looking at something that is enforced by stewards and is easy to understand.