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Horses hurt as much as humans when whipped, as the animals have similar pain-detecting structures

Horses feel as much pain as humans when whipped, as they have similar anatomic structures in the skin that detect pain, study reveals

  • A new study reveals horses feel pain similar to that of humans
  • Experts analyzed skin samples of dead humans and euthanized horses
  • They found no significant difference  nerve endings in the outer layer of skin
  • This suggests horses feel the painful strike of a whip during races
  • The team conducted a second study to see if whipping was beneficial
  • They found it does not improve the horses race time or steering

Jockeys typically whip their horse about 15 to 20 times during a race, but a new study reveals the majestic creatures feel pain similar to humans.

A team from the University of Sydney found both have ‘no significant difference’ in nerve endings in the outer pain-detecting layer of skin.

Although horses do have a thick layer of tissue on the skin’s surface, researchers say it is not strong enough to protect the animals from ‘external cutaneous pain.’

The decade long study also uncovered that whipping horses during a race does not improve a thoroughbred’s stamina or steering, suggesting the act is ‘unnecessary, unjustifiable and unreasonable.’

Although horses (pictured) do have a thick layer of tissue on the skin's surface, researchers say it is not strong enough to protect the animals from 'external cutaneous pain'

Jockeys typically whip their horse about 15 to 20 times during a race, but a new study reveals the majestic creatures feel pain similar to humans. A team from the University of Sydney found both have ‘no significant difference’ in nerve endings in the outer pain-detecting layer of skin

Thoroughbred racing began in America after British settlers brought the animals across the Atlantic in 1665, but it did not become an organized sport until after the Civil War in 1868.

And a key part of this even is jockeys whipping their horse with the hopes of beating the rest to the finish line. 

However, the University of Sydney School of Veterinary Science found these creatures have evolved to feel pain when whipped a much as humans.

This conclusion is based on 10 years of research that, according to the team, ‘could rock the racing industry.’

The team used skin samples from 10 dead humans (pictured) and 20 euthanized horse

The results show that there is no significant difference 'in either the concentration of nerve endings in the outer pain-detecting layer of skin (pictured is horse skin)

The team used skin samples from 10 dead humans and 20 euthanized horses. The results show that there is no significant difference ‘in either the concentration of nerve endings in the outer pain-detecting layer of skin

Professor McGreevy said: ‘This was not surprising, as horses, like humans, need robust yet sensitive skin to respond to touch, say, from flying insects or other horses.’

McGreevy and his team used microscopic skin samples from 10 dead humans and 20 euthanized horses to explore the differences or similarities in the anatomic structures.

The results show that there is no significant difference ‘in either the concentration of nerve endings in the outer pain-detecting layer of skin (epidermis) or in the thickness of this layer,’ according to the study published in the journal Animals.

The samples showed that the dermis of the horse skin is thinner than that of humans, but this area does not involve pain detection.

And although horse skin is thicker, it does not protect them from the pain of being hit with a whip.

‘This finding challenges assumptions about the physical capacity of horses to feel pain particularly in comparison to humans, and presents physical evidence to inform the discussion and debate regarding the ethics of whipping horses,’ the team wrote in the study.

A second study looked at if whipping a horse is actually beneficial. the team found 'no statistically significant difference' between the two, this includes movement on course, interference, jockey-related incidents and race times

A second study looked at if whipping a horse is actually beneficial. the team found ‘no statistically significant difference’ between the two, this includes movement on course, interference, jockey-related incidents and race times

McGreevy was involved in a second study that looked at if whipping a horse is actually beneficial, which compared 126 races.

Approximately 67 were ‘Hands and Heel’ races, which allow jockeys to hold the whip but cannot strike their horse and the other 59 allowed whipping.

Following the analysis, the team found ‘no statistically significant difference’ between the two, this includes movement on course, interference, jockey-related incidents and race times.

‘The findings of this study clearly show that the use of whips in horse racing is unnecessary, unjustifiable and unreasonable,’ McGreevy said.

‘Repeated strikes of the whip in horses that are fatigued as they end a race are likely to be distressing and cause suffering.’

‘A horse’s loss of agency as it undergoes this kind of repeated treatment is thought to lead to learned helplessness.’

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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