World News – UA – Research shows flogging horses doesn’t make them run faster – The Big Smoke


The Melbourne Cup is upon us This year will be different due to COVID-19 – but one thing we don’t expect to change is the concern over horse welfare, which appears to be remaking surface every year

Just days before the Cup, Victoria’s parliament heard allegations that unwanted thoroughbreds continued to be slaughtered in bakeries and slaughterhouses in New South Wales, reports The Guardian

Harvey Norman billionaire executive chairman Gerry Harvey has reportedly apologized after one of his former racehorses was sent to a pet food factory to be slaughtered, as the industry state racing announced rules against it in 2017 This is not the first time that we have heard of such horrific cases

Beyond that, there are lingering concerns about how racehorses have been ridden for over a century. In particular, the use of the whip to « encourage » horses to run faster and straighter has been found to be potentially both painful and dangerous

For our research, published yesterday in the journal Animals, we analyzed over 100 race reports to determine exactly how whip use influences a breed’s dynamics.

We found that the whips made no difference to the direction of the horse, the safety of the jockey, or even the speed of a horse.Our study presents scientific findings that support Racing Victoria’s recently announced plan to phase out using the whisks until the whisks are used only when absolutely necessary

Advocates for the use of the whip, such as Racing Australia and the British Horseracing Authority, say it is necessary for the safety of horses and riders They argue that it facilitates the direction needed to reduce interference between horses on the course

Another justification given is that the whip makes horses run faster This is seen as fundamental to the integrity of racing In a billion dollar industry that relies on gambling, all parties – including punters, trainers, breeders and owners – want to know that the horse they have supported will have every chance of winning

For many racing enthusiasts, breaches of « integrity » and the idea that a horse is not fully « ridden » on its merits is just as corrupt as a doped horse or a race is. corrected by other means

But animal welfare is also important to the integrity of races, according to the International Federation of Horse Authorities and other racing bodies

Stewards are in the unenviable position of upholding the welfare of horses during races, while ensuring that whips are used to give each horse every chance of winning

For all official races in Australia, there are detailed rules regarding the number and style of lashes allowed at different points on a course

Research over the past few decades has focused on jockeys accuracy, whip compliance, the connection between whip use and catastrophic falls that can injure or kill horses or jockeys and simply whether the whip hurts or not

But so far, few have stopped to wonder if whips actually work. It is simply because there has not been a way to scientifically test the culturally entrenched hypothesis that they do

However, since 1999 a form of whip-less racing has been conducted in Britain via the ‘hands and heels’ series of races for apprentice jockeys In this form of racing jockeys are allowed to wear whips but cannot use them except in exceptional circumstances, such as trying to avoid a collision

After the races, the stewards draw up an official report indicating any unusual or unorthodox behavior of the jockey (which may or may not have affected the classification of the races), jockey infractions, movements of horses on the course, interference between horses and veterinary problems

We analyzed reports from 126 races involving a total of 1178 starters (horses and jockeys) These included the 67 ‘whip-free’ races with hands and heels from the period starting in January 2017 and ending in December 2019 For these, we were able to associate 59 traditional races « authorized with the whip »

Thus, we were able to compare the performance of racehorses under both « whip-less » and « whip-less » conditions in real racing environments, to determine if the whip makes the horses easier to steer, safer to drive and / or more likely to win

Our results do not indicate any significant difference between the movements of the horses on the course, the interference on the course, the frequency of incidents related to the behavior of the jockey or the average end of race times

Simply put, the use of the whip had no impact on direction, safety or speed Contrary to long held beliefs, whipping racehorses just does not work

Our findings reinforce the need for more support for non-whip racing Importantly, they indicate that the use of the whip could be banned without any detrimental effect on horses, riders or the integrity of races

« Whip-less » races are not the same as « whip-less » races While some might argue for races without a whip at all, an acceptable compromise would be to let jockeys wear whips, but not to whip them. use only if their safety is endangered

This approach has already been taken in Norway, where whip-less racing has been taking place for over 30 years with no apparent negative consequences

Given the evolution of social values, we believe that the transition to a no-whip approach is essential for the future of an industry that relies on a social license to operate

Kirrilly Thompson, Associate Principal Investigator, University of South Australia; Bethany Wilson, Honorary Fellow, University of Sydney; Paul McGreevy, Professor of Animal Behavior and Welfare Science, University of Sydney, and Phil McManus, Professor of Urban and Environmental Geography: School of Geosciences, University of Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license Read the original article

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Horse, Jockey

World News – UA – Research Shows Whipping Horses Doesn’t Make Them Run Faster – The Big Smoke


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