Whip Use in Horse Racing Debated

Equitation scientists and a national racing authority share their differing opinions on whip use and horse welfare.
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Whip use in Thoroughbred racing is painful and unnecessary for the sport, despite suggestions to the contrary released in an official United Kingdom racing guide, according to a group of equitation scientists. But the authority that published that racing guide is standing by its report.

Paul McGreevy, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS, MACVS (Animal Welfare), professor of Animal Behavior and Animal Welfare Science at the University of Sydney, in Australia, believes the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) 2011 report, Responsible Regulation: A Review of the Use of the Whip in Horseracing, defends the use of the whip based on unfounded scientific principles.

“Horse whipping is arguably the most public and visible form of violence to animals,” McGreevy said.

McGreevy criticized the BHA report in a recently published open-access review co-authored by fellow Australian scientist Bidda Jones, PhD; Australian lawyer Jed Goodfellow, PhD; and UK veterinarian James Yeates, BVSc, BSc, DWEL, PhD, MRCVS

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Written by:

Passionate about horses and science from the time she was riding her first Shetland Pony in Texas, Christa Lesté-Lasserre writes about scientific research that contributes to a better understanding of all equids. After undergrad studies in science, journalism, and literature, she received a master’s degree in creative writing. Now based in France, she aims to present the most fascinating aspect of equine science: the story it creates. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

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