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Wednesday, August 21st, 2013

University of Sydney Veterinary School professor talks about the role of the horse whip in racing

It’s been a bone of contention for many, many years: should whipping be permitted in horse racing? Many animal welfare activists claim it is cruel and unnecessary. The British Racing Authority states “The whip should be used for safety, correction and encouragement only.” For many jockeys, trainers, and racing officials, there is a great distinction between “use” and “abuse” of the whip jockeys carry. Who hasn’t seen the close-up images of jockeys and horses dueling for position on the home stretch at Churchill Downs? Whips are flashed beside the horses’ faces and brought sharply against their hindquarters. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.

Sydney Veterinary School

Learn more about Sydney Veterinary School

Veterinarian and University of Sydney Professor Paul McGreevy’s talk on the use of the whip in horse racing caused a stir in the horse racing world.

The Sydney Veterinary School professor’s talk traced the history of animal welfare in his address at the University of Sydney, particularly in relation to horses. His major focus pinpoints the use of the whip in horse racing to make “tired horses run faster.”

While the University of Sydney Veterinary School professor praised the agility and skill of the jockeys and the magnificence of the racing thoroughbred, it is his belief that horses can still perform brilliantly—and win—without being whipped. Check out Prof. McGreevy’s full talk here.

About Prof Paul McGreevy

RCVS Recognized Specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine with the Faculty of Veterinary Science at the University of Sydney, and his research focuses on equitation science, epidemiological studies, ethopathies in companion and exotic species, and learning theory as applied to animal training and behaviour modification. Prof McGreevy also studies urban animal management and the use of IT in teaching.

At the University of Sydney Veterinary School, he lectures in Animal Husbandry to first year BVSc students, and Animal Behaviour and Welfare Science to third year BVSc and Animal & Veterinary Bioscience students.

The Sydney Veterinary School professor also co-wrote Carrots and Sticks: Principles of Animal Training, a book that brings behavioural science to life, explaining animal training techniques in the language of learning theory.

About the Sydney Veterinary School’s  Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (BVetBiol/DVM) program

Program title: Bachelor of Veterinary Biology/Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (BVetBiol/DVM)
Location: Sydney, New South Wales
Semester intake: March
Program duration: 6 years
Application deadline: TBC

Apply to Sydney Veterinary School!

Find out more about the the University of Sydney‘s new veterinary science program. Check out our blog “New Sydney Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program for 2015.”


Learn more about the Sydney Veterinary School and about Australian Veterinary Schools.

Do you have questions about Sydney Veterinary School and about studying veterinary programs at Australian universities? Contact OzTREKK’s Australian Veterinary Schools Officer Rachel Brady by emailing rachel@oztrekk.com or by calling 1 866-698-7355 (toll free in Canada).