Does whipping actually hurt a horse?

Dr Lydia Tong

Is this a joke? Are they being rhetorical? Of course it hurts! If another study with more horses will prove the point to the racing industry – then by all means look into the number of nerve endings in more horses skin. Chances are they will see what this study saw – horses have very sensitive skin. Whipping a horse will hurt the horse. Since it is known from other research that whipping does not make a horse more likely to win, this is just a device for the rider’s entertainment. Cruel entertainment. Now how can we get the racing industry to stop? ~ HfH

From: SBS.com
By: Kristina Kukolja

(Transcript from World News Radio)

Dr Lydia Tong

Dr Lydia Tong – does whipping a horse cause pain

It’s been one of the more controversial questions in horse racing: does whipping actually hurt a horse?

As Kristina Kukolja reports, for the first time, science appears to have come back with an answer.

Dr Lydia Tong has made a discovery that’s putting the horseracing industry under the microscope, yet again.

The forensic veterinary pathologist at the Elizabeth MacArthur Agriculture Institute outside Sydney has been studying human skin and comparing it to a racehorse’s, paying close attention to areas where thoroughbreds are known to be whipped.

“We found that, actually, there seem to be more nerve endings in that piece of horse skin, which was a big surprise. In addition, this idea that horses’ skin is thicker and so they are more resistant to pain was a little bit debunked because, in fact, the very top layer of the skin which lies over the pain sensing fibres was actually thinner in horses than it was in people. So, it was only a comparison of the two — one person and one horse at this stage — but it really gave us a lot of food for thought.”

From the anatomical differences, and similarities, she draws conclusions about how horse skin might respond.

“I think what we can say that there’s no neurological or anatomical reason to believe that they are experiencing anything differently to what we are. We know that neuro-anatomy is incredibly well conserved between species — certainly mammals — and the function that senses pain is one of the most primitive parts of neurological function. So, we don’t have any reason to believe that it’s any different.”

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1 Comment
  • Daniel Cordero

    Glad to hear science is finally addressing this.

    “There are already countries such as Norway, who have banned whipping in racing. There are models there to look at.”

    Norway does not import horsemeat either and very few equines are slaughtered there. Looks like a model.

    March 25, 2015