International conference reaffirms opposition to A.I.

Delegates at the 2012 International Breeders’ meeting in England this week have given their unanimous support to Thoroughbred Breeders’ Australia by reaffirming its opposition to artificial insemination and embryo transfer.

A decision on the Artificial Insemination case brought by former Sydney Turf Club chairman Bruce McHugh is expected within the next few weeks.  The Federal Court in Sydney heard closing submissions by counsel late last year before Justice Alan Robertson.

Under international rules, only horses that are conceived by “direct cover”, where the stallion directly inseminates the mare, can be registered, which allows them to race and breed.

Article 12 of the International Agreement states:  “Any foal resulting from or produced by the process of artificial insemination, embryo transfer, cloning or any other form of genetic manipulation shall not be eligible for recording in a Thoroughbred Stud Book approved by the International Stud Book Committee.”

Thoroughbred Breeders’ Australia believes it will be adversely affected if artificial insemination is introduced.  The TBA has stated the case is really about the industry having the ability – morally and legally – to set the rules by which it is governed.

TBA maintains the advent of A.I. will open the way for a number of long-term ramifications.  These include the practice of embryo transfer to enable multiple progeny registrations from a mare each season and potentially cloning.  Superior pedigreed mares would proliferate the market place and Australian horses would be boycotted internationally.

The TBA has incurred substantial legal bills and the Federal body sent a letter to more than 300 studs earlier this year seeking voluntary donations.  The amounts requested were based on each participant’s involvement with the industry.

The legal costs incurred are not expected to be refunded even if the Judge awards costs against McHugh.

Regarded as Australia’s biggest bookmaker 20 years ago, McHugh’s multi-million dollar duels with Kerry Packer in the betting ring have reached legendary status.  He took legal action claiming the refusal to register horses bred via artificial insemination is a restraint of trade and breaches the Trade Practices Act.