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Study on the use of whips in Thoroughbred racing wins Australian science prize

The study called into question the necessity of whips during horse races.

14-Sep-11

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Horse racing Four researchers from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Veterinary Science were awarded the Eureka Prize, a prestigious honor in Australia’s scientific community. Specifically, the researchers won the prize for Scientific Research That Contributes to Animal Protection.

The use of whips during Thoroughbred racing has contributed to the negative public image of the sport. Riders and trainers within the industry have claimed that whips are necessary tools, but the Eureka Prize winning study called that assertion into question.

The study, titled, “An Investigation of Racing Performance and Whip Use by Jockeys in Thoroughbred Races,” found that whipping a horse does not increase the horse’s likelihood of placing at the top of the field, and that horses ran faster when not being whipped.

“Professor [Paul] McGreevy’s team has been instrumental in bringing an ethical dimension to horse training and racing at an international level,” says Frank Howarth, Director of the Australian Museum. “Moreover, the team has shown through scientific research that much of the harm currently inflicted on horses in sport bears no real benefits anyway.”

The full study is available for download at www.plosone.org

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Study on the use of whips in Thoroughbred racing wins Australian science prize

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Reader Comments

kilee shoulders    sioux city, IA

10/1/2011 5:59:47 PM

I think they should only use the crop if the horse is being {stubborn}in a way.In the the world of horse raceing they think that the horse will get faster i think that the horse runs faster when not being whipped.

random    choose one, OR

10/1/2011 3:58:13 PM

It seems to me that a crop should only be used as an inforcer, like if you're riding an old poky pony who refuses to move otherwise. Also, this study has already been done, just less officially.

PKL    somewhere, WY

9/15/2011 6:21:01 AM

Most of those great horses, run/race because they love it and were bred to do just that...run!!

Galadriel    Lothlorien, ME

9/14/2011 11:00:31 PM

That's wonderful to read. I think occasional use of the whip is fine but to flog them the whole way? How does that help?

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