Australia's Rules Banning AI in Thoroughbreds Upheld

The Full Federal Court of Australia has unanimously dismissed a challenge to that country's ban on artificial insemination (AI) in Thoroughbreds.

As a result of the ruling, the Australian Stud Book rules related to natural breeding of Thoroughbred horses, and subsequently the Australian Rules of Racing of Thoroughbreds, have again been found to be valid and enforceable, a statement from the Thoroughbred Breeders of Australia said.

The April 17 decision by the federal court upholds judgment handed down by Justice Robertson in December 2012.

In upholding the current Thoroughbred breeding standard that requires a mare to be covered, Robertson ruled Dec. 19 that owner-breeder Bruce McHugh's argument that the current breeding policies restrain trade comes up short on evidence. McHugh is a former bookmaker and former chairman of Sydney Turf Club.

"A great deal of industry time and financial resources have been spent over the past five years in defending this matter," Australian Racing Board chairman John Messara said in a statement regarding the latest decision.

"The issue of artificial insemination is settled once and for all. We have said from the outset that our sport was not anti-competitive or a restraint of trade as proponents of AI are perfectly free to establish their own industry. Fortunately the federal court agreed with us.

"Racing and breeding has many challenges now and into the future and the finality of this case will allow us to concentrate fully on what matters most to participants, punters, and stakeholders."

Originally published on

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The Blood-Horse Staff

The Blood-Horse is the leading weekly publication devoted to international Thoroughbred racing and breeding. Since 1916, the staff of The Blood-Horse has served the Thoroughbred community with the highest standards of journalistic excellence to provide comprehensive and timely editorial coverage and analysis.

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