The Artificial Insemination case brought by Bruce McHugh in the Federal Court alleging restrictive and anticompetitive conduct by the Australian Stud Book and Australian Racing Board has been set down for 29 August 2011. Justice Annabelle Bennett has allowed six weeks for the hearing.
Thoroughbred Breeders’ Australia (TBA) has joined the ASB and ARB as a party to the action believing it is critical to the interests of the industry as a whole that the TBA put forward and explain to the Court the countervailing views to those expressed by McHugh.
A TBA press release explained the following issues are paramount;
1. International racing and trade in thoroughbred horses (black type, ratings, cataloguing) is underpinned by international agreements to which every major racing country is a signatory. Australian breeders benefit significantly by Australia being a party. AI horses by definition are outside these international arrangements.
2. The international agreements are responsible for the incredibly competitive market place we witness today . A move to AI would likely see a reduction in competition and a concentration of power in the hands of the owners of the top stallions.
3. By concentration of market power, there carries the serious risk of a narrowing of the gene pool.
TBA has considered the alleged benefits of AI and finds no evidence to support any material benefit claimed. The alleged improved rates of fertility by AI by use of frozen and chilled semen are unsupported by evidence. Analysis to date of the harness racing industry appears not to support these claims and may tend to support the contrary view.
It’s important to note that anyone is free to breed and race AI horses in whatever fashion they wish outside of the ASB and ARB rules. The rules of the ASB and ARB are for naturally covered thoroughbreds and as such govern those who wish to abide by them. AI advocates are perfectly free to establish their own sport and industry, as presumably did those persons who race quarter horses in various parts of the world.