For Immediate Release:

19 December 2019

Animal Protection Group Puts Pressure on Racing Victoria Following Emergence of Images That Show Whip Welts on Melbourne Cup Winners

Melbourne – Animal protection group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has written to Racing Victoria calling for a ban on the use of whips in all forms of horseracing. The letter follows the emergence of photographs showing painful whip welts on this year’s Melbourne Cup winner, Vow And Declare, at the conclusion of the race. A veterinary pathologist confirmed the marks were likely caused by trauma, proving that padded whips hurt horses and can damage their delicate skin.

“Riders whip horses to push them to run faster – which, unsurprisingly, can lead to catastrophic breakdowns,” says PETA Outreach and Partnerships Manager Emily Rice. “The animals feel the sting of the whip and the throbbing welts that follow, and that should be reason enough for the horseracing industry to ban these barbaric implements altogether.”

In the letter, the group notes that welts such as the ones seen in the photographs indicate the swelling of inflamed tissue, a painful affliction for horses whose epidermis is thinner than that of humans, making their sensitive nerve endings more vulnerable to external stimuli, such as the sharp sting of a whip. The group further notes that whipping horses is also senseless. A 2011 University of Sydney study found that whipping a horse does not increase the chance of winning, and 98% of horses were whipped without altering the outcome of a race.

PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview.

A copy of the letter is available here. For more information, please visit