Australian breeders will consider legal action against Racing Australia over moves to make them subject to the rules of racing.
Magic Millions owner Gerry Harvey signed a letter, along with up to 70 of NSW’s most influential breeders, that was presented to NSW Racing Minister Troy Grant last week. The petition claimed the breeding industry is galvanised in its opposition to Racing Australia’s proposal that would give stewards to power to walk on to any stud farm without notice.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone that thinks it’s a good idea,” Harvey told Fairfax Media. “I had a good chat to Racing Australia chairman John Messara and said there’s practically no one who wants the changes.”
Messara, who is also Chairman of Arrowfield Stud, fronted a delegation of angry breeders at the Inglis Easter Sale and they unanimously denounced the raft of changes.
Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) tabled its own plans on how the industry would police itself, including the introduction of an Australian Stud Book steward, mandatory 10-year disqualification for any breeder found guilty of an animal cruelty offence and an undertaking all horses would be registered within 30 days of birth.
It has argued breeders should continue to be regulated under the guidelines of the Australian Stud Book – which was bought by Racing Australia in late 2014 – rather than the rules of racing, which currently make just one reference to breeders in more than 100 pages.
“The proposal by Racing Australia would see a body which is completely unaccountable take control of the multi-billion-dollar industry,” TBA president Basil Nolan said. “We would rather avoid going to court on this issue but the ball is in Racing Australia’s court.”