This entire industry has long relied on a premise that’s now been proved a lie. So does this spell the end of horse racing as we know it?
The horse racing industry has long relied on the premise that whips don’t hurt horses — but a new study has revealed that horses are thin-skinned creatures who feel pain when whipped.
The science of horses’ pain levels as a result of whipping has never been tested before and, according to to the Herald Sun, the new results are likely to put pressure on the racing industry to ban the use of the whip.
In last night’s episode of ABC program Catalyst, Australian Racing Board chief executive Peter McGauran said that board would “further restrict or abolish’’ the whip if the science proved horses felt pain.
Dr Tong said her research proved the horse’s skin was thicker than ours, but only by less than a millimetre. She added that the epidermis – the top layer of skin where the whip would hit – is actually thinner.
“In some ways you could therefore argue when it comes to pain the horse’s skin is thinner,” she said.