Members of the International Thoroughbred Breeders’ Federation (ITBF), unanimously voted against the use of artificial breeding methods in thoroughbreds at the General Meeting of the 2018 ITBF Conference on 1 November in Lexington.
The agreement re-affirms the federation’s long held stance against such processes including (but not restricted to), artificial insemination, embryo transfer, cloning, sexing of sperm, genetic engineering/manipulation.
The meeting, attended by representatives of 16 ITBF member countries on 5 continents, was part of a wider programme of events hosted by the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association (TOBA).
Delegates discussed global trends in the thoroughbred breeding industry, particularly the polarisation of the market at sales, the ageing demographic of breeders, race prize money levels and racehorse ownership numbers.
The ‘middle market’ was discussed by a panel of leading industry figures; Geoffrey Russell (Keeneland), Terence Collier (Fasig-Tipton), Brian Graves (Gainesway), and Pete Bradley (Bradley Thoroughbreds), whilst the success of the Retired Racehorse Project in the USA was shared in a presentation by Jen Roytz.
A similar presentation was made by the French delegates, who introduced Au delà des Pistes, their official charity for the promotion of retraining racehorses.
In addition to ITBF delegates, veterinary professionals were invited to attend the federation’s Veterinary Meeting on Wednesday, 31 October, which carried accreditation from the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners as continued professional development.
The full day veterinary session featured discussions on equine infectious diseases, the importance of biosecurity measures, EHV vaccine development and genomics research. Two keynote speeches were delivered towards the end of the day, the first was presented by Dr Peter Timoney, on the Importance of Equine Infectious Diseases in Impairing Reproductive Efficiency in the Horse. This was followed by Dr Jeff Berk’s talk which addressed the ethics of medication at thoroughbred horse auctions and interestingly highlighted the wide tolerance discrepancy on this issue between e.g. the American and other thoroughbred market places.
World Equine Veterinary Association (WEVA), representative Professor Warwick Bayly also addressed delegates on the shared aims and mutual interests of WEVA and ITBF. The speech laid the foundations for a stronger working relationship between the two organisations, on items of shared interest.
ITBF Chairman Kirsten Rausing commented: “The 2018 ITBF Conference was a distinct success. We have built on the developments from the last conference in South Africa and continue to be united in our passion for the long term health of the thoroughbred breeding and racing industry around the world. The discussion of issues and trends in regions serves to highlight differences in the challenges – and rewards – the various ITBF member countries face.
“I would like to thank all sponsors and supporters of this year’s ITBF conference and of course our hosts TOBA who have co-ordinated an excellent programme of meetings and events.”