Written by PETA
Anyone who's ever watched a racehorse being flogged down the home stretch can see the obvious: It's animal abuse. Jockeys routinely strike thoroughbreds 15 to 20 times before they cross the finish line. Now, thanks to a new study from the University of Sydney, we know that whipping doesn't even make the horses run faster.
This first-of-its-kind research into the effects of whipping, which was conducted by studying horses' speed in racing clips, found that horses accelerate most during the periods of races when no whip is used. Down the final stretch, as jockeys whip mercilessly, horses either slow down or maintain the same speed.
And whipping, says the researcher, actually punishes racehorses for running fast rather than encouraging them to go faster. Are you paying attention, National Thoroughbred Racing Association?
PETA's working toward the day when horse racing ends for good—and we've made huge progress, but until then, we aren't letting the racing industry off the hook. We continue to push the racing industry to ban whips, enforce a zero-tolerance drug policy, dump dirt tracks in favor of softer grass tracks, and wait until horses' third birthdays to use them in competitive racing. Learn more here.
Written by Jeff Mackey
While I do agree that horse racing could be much approved, I believe that this blog is incorrect. The correct use of a crop is to produce a sound to get the horses attention, not to inflict pain. In eventing, I do use a crop depending on the horse I am riding. With some of them, all I have to do is show them that I have it in my hand and that is enough to make them behave. For the slightly more stubborn jumper, I will hit my own boot to make a noise with it. Only with the most stubborn of horses will I smack them on the rump with it. And again, the sound is enough to snap them back to attention. Horses' skin is much thicker and tougher than ours. They also have a fur coat. I smack on the rump with a riding crop does no damage to them.
To take a horse away from racing, provided he is being properly raced and cared for, is cruelty to animals. These horses LOVE to race. They know when they win and they know when they lose. They know when it is race day and they couldn't be happier. There are good owners and trainers out there. Racing doesn't need to be banned. It needs to made a privilege. Those who cannot properly take care of their horses will not be allowed to race.
"It sends the horse a message, and now a much gentler message, due to the many changes that have been made regarding whips..the fact is we now can feel better about whips/crops. And, in the near future I believe any type of use will be banned altogether, it' just a matter of time. :)
Just over a year ago three states - Kentucky, Indiana, and South Dakota and now even more have followed - they have mandated use of the new, more horse-friendly whips. California has a proposed state rule, and jockeys there already are riding with new crops, a change mandated by Del Mar and Hollywood Park racetracks. Santa Anita, Delaware Park, Monmouth Park, and Philadelphia Park have "house rules" requiring the use of new crops. In New York, jockeys at the Saratoga meet took the lead, electing to use new whips beginning Aug. 16. New whips are already fully in use or being phased into tracks operated by Churchill Downs Inc. Canadian venues require new whips, and stewards there scrutinize the number of times jockeys strike their horses, handing out fines for overuse of the crop.
The new equipment feels and works differently than the old. The popper on the end of a traditional riding crop is about two inches long and made of solid leather. Used too vigorously, it can raise welts and draw blood. Not so the new whips, which are tipped by a popper about six inches long. Sewn inside a soft pad of woven fibers made to look like leather is a piece of foam. When it strikes horseflesh, the lighter, thickly padded whips make an impressive pop while delivering their cushioned message.
Horses used to being encouraged by the whip's sting may no longer feel compelled to respond. Riders accustomed to whaling away in the stretch may discover they're wasting energy.
Hall of Fame jockey Kent Desormeaux said during last years Keeneland fall meet. "The whip is not a whip," "It's a noisemaker."
A few days earlier, at Hawthorne in Chicago, veteran rider E.T. Baird had said: "If I had to make a comparison, the old one, it's 'pop,' and the new one, it's like you're hitting with a marshmallow.""
Higher speed is NOT the main reason for jockeys to use whips. They are used more as a saftey tool than anything. Jockeys cannot reach the sides of the horse to be able to cue them, and pointing their head in the direction you want them to go doesn't always mean they will go that way. Whips are used to keep them straight while running as not to interfere with other horses which could cause them to go down. They also help the rider cue the horse to switch leads, which is very important for safety and horse welfare. One more point...who funded this study? Many "results" of studies are in favor of the one with the largest wallet.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.