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Changing human-animal relationships in sport: an analysis of the UK and Australian horse racing whips debates

By R. Graham, P. McManus

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Changing social values and new technologies have contributed to increasing media attention and debate about the acceptable use of animals in sport. This paper focuses on the use of the whip in thoroughbred horse racing. Those who defend its use argue it is a necessary tool needed for safety, correction and encouragement, and that it does not cause the horse any pain. For those who oppose its use, it is an instrument of cruelty. Media framing is employed to unpack the discourses played out in print and social media in the UK (2011) and Australia (2009) during key periods of the whip debate following the introduction of new whip rules. Media coverage for the period August 2014-August 2015 for both countries is also considered. This paper seeks to identify the perceptions of advocates and opponents of the whip as portrayed in conventional and social media in Australia and the UK, to consider if these perceptions have changed over time, and whose voices are heard in these platforms. This paper contributes to discussions on the impacts that media sites have either in reinforcing existing perspectives or creating new perspectives; and importantly how this impacts on equine welfare.

Publication Title Animals
Volume 6
Issue 5
Pages 32
ISBN/ISSN 2076-2615
DOI 10.3390/ani6050032
Language English
Author Address School of Geosciences, The University of Sydney, New South Wales 2006,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animals
  3. Animal welfare
  4. APEC countries
  5. Attitudes
  6. Australasia
  7. Australia
  8. Behavioral research
  9. British Isles
  10. Commonwealth of Nations
  11. Countries
  12. Developed countries
  13. Europe
  14. Government
  15. Horse racing
  16. Horses
  17. Laws and regulations
  18. Mammals
  19. Oceania
  20. OECD countries
  21. opinions
  22. Pain
  23. Psychiatry and psychology
  24. racehorses
  25. recreation
  26. regulations
  27. social anthropology
  28. Social psychology and social anthropology
  29. Social sciences
  30. Sport animals
  31. Sports
  32. ungulates
  33. United Kingdom
  34. vertebrates
  35. Veterinary sciences
  36. Zoology