RSPCA raises whip debate with new study

david_hayesThe RSPCA has released a study which claims racehorses do not perform any better when jockeys use the whip on them in the final stages of a race.

A pair of animal behaviour academics from the University of Sydney completed the RSPCA-funded study with assistance from Racing NSW.

The study’s co-author Professor Paul McGreevy said he hoped would “highlight the fallacy and futility of whipping”.

“The reason for whip use has traditionally been the need to be seen to ride the horse out and the suggestion that you can steer a horse with the whip,” Professor McGreevy said.

“Many horse riders, and certainly these findings, refute that.

“Top performance horses have been bred and prepared to give of their best. Add to that excellent horsemanship and you’ve got a winning combination.

“That’s all you need. We have evidence here that great horsemanship does not involve flogging tired horses.”

RSPCA chief scientist Dr Bidda Jones said, “The results would help end the debate over whether there is a place for whipping in the future of Australian racing”.

“Jockeys may as well save their energy, keep their hands on the reins, and head straight for home. Their horses will be so much better off for it,” Dr Jones said.

Racenet is expecting a flood of comments over this extremely contentious issue.