Racehorse Welfare: Opinion vs. Science

The general public has taken a more critical view of horseracing in the past decade, especially where issues of equine welfare are concerned. Those concerns could, however, have more to do with lack of understanding of scientific facts and the reasoning behind some practices than anything else.

Recently a group of researchers led by Camie Heleski, MS, PhD, who is an instructor and adviser in the University of Kentucky Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment’s equine science and management program, explored five areas of concern in horseracing as viewed by the general public: whip use, horse wastage/career conversion, racing of very young horses, medication usage and management. The group’s findings were presented at the 2017 International Society for Equitation Science Symposium, held in November in Wagga Wagga, Australia.

The researchers found that the general public is critical of things like excessive whip usage down the stretch. medication usage and repurposing of equine athletes at the conclusion of their racing careers.

Read more at The Horse.

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