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IHP, indignation and regret for the choice of the University of Pisa


The president: ‘The first study on horses that recognise themselves in mirrors was conducted by our association, which made facilities and personnel available free of charge. We are sorry that such a noble Academy has taken it over without even mentioning our work’.

‘We express our great indignation and regret for the behaviour of the University of Pisa, which yesterday officially announced that the research on horses that are able to recognise themselves in mirrors was published in the journal Animal Cognition. According to the University's announcement, the experiment was conducted at the Ethological Training Centre in San Marcello Pistoiese, replicating a previous experiment. Well, the 'previous experiment’ had been conducted in 2014 at the Recovery Centre managed by IHP, the main Italian association actively committed to the protection of equidae, which made horses, facilities, staff and equipment available for free for weeks with the sole purpose of contributing to the progress of scientific research’.

This is how the President of IHP, Sonny Richichi, comments on the news of the publication of the study signed by Professor Elisabetta Palagi of the University of Pisa and her team.

‘We have hours and hours of video that show exactly the various phases of the experiment cited in the research: from the preparation of the horses to the coloured markings, and the filming of the animals’ behaviour in front of a mirror’, adds the President of IHP. ‘The experiment was conducted thanks to our support, for the first time in Italy, in two different moments: between 12 and 14 August 2014 and between 29 September and 5 October the same year. The fact that an institution like the University of Pisa, which is well known and respected also at international level, has fully taken over the results of this work without even mentioning the main Italian association that fights every day to raise greater awareness about the ethological characteristics of horses in order to ensure their full protection, provokes indignation and desolation at the same time’.