Landmark scientific study into the use of the whip in racing makes the case for it to be banned

Posted on the 5th November 2020

A landmark study into the use of the whip in horse racing shows that its use has no benefit in making races safer, in steering horses or reducing interference between horses, or in increasing race finishing times.

The paper, peer reviewed, and published in the journal Animals under the title: ‘Is Whip Use Important to Thoroughbred Racing Integrity? What Stewards’ Reports Reveal about Fairness to Punters, Jockeys and Horses’, is a world-first study that was led by Dr Kirrilly Thompson of the University of South Australia and was co-authored by Prof Paul McGreevy, Dr Bethan Wilson and Prof Phil McManus from the University of Sydney, and Dene Stansall, Horse Racing Consultant to Animal Aid.

The research compared ‘whipping-free’ races where whips are held but not used, to the mainstream ‘whipping-permitted’ races on the flat in Great Britain which were run between 2017 and 2019 inclusive.

Says Co-Author of the Paper and Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall:

‘In the light of the proposed Use of the Whip Review by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), this significant research into the actual effects of the whip – across a range of aspects – as an implement to be used on race horses, seriously questions its viability in racing. This has never before been studied. In the interests of racing’s social licence to operate, the BHA needs to take notice of this.’

Note to Editors

  • For more information contact Dene Stansall on 07864 830589
  • Read the paper




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