Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) has urged its members to lodge a formal protest against regulations which brought breeders under the Rules of Racing from 1 August.

Basil Nolan, president of the TBA, wrote to members on Tuesday to inform them that while a period of legal consultation was ongoing, members can protect their legal rights by signing a letter of opposition which would be sent to Racing Australia.

It also provided its members with a template letter to allow them to register their own independent opposition and protect their legal rights to challenge the rules to be sent alongside their mares returns.

The formal protest comes after the TBA previously encouraged members to defer lodgement of mare returns while it received legal advice.  However, the new rules require breeders to register foals within 30 days of birth.

With a period of legal consultation ongoing and the foaling season underway, breeders are liable to be penalised if opting to delay their mare returns.

The letter of protest concedes that members have agreed to the new rules of the Australian Stud Book, including agreeing to be bound by the Rules of Racing, but have done so through a lack of choice.

It also states the new regulations are ‘unfair and invalid’ and reserves all legal rights to challenge the rules.

Nolan said that the protest is a result of overwhelming opposition to the new rules and is designed to protect the legal rights of its members.  “There has been an incredible level of opposition to this takeover of breeding by Racing Australia and (the TBA) wanted to help our members lodge a protest, while also protecting their legal rights.  I urge all breeders filing a mare return to sign our letter of protest.”

Nolan argued that the imposition of the rules, which Racing Australia argue will strengthen ownership transparency and animal welfare in the industry, does not give breeders a say in the future of the bloodstock industry.

“The board of TBA has said all along we will support any reform which improves traceability and welfare – but bringing breeders under the Rules of Racing and not giving our industry any say its own future is completely unacceptable.

“And it’s not just the board which believes that, it’s every breeder I’ve spoken to in the past few months.

“Racing Australia should put these rules to one side and work collaboratively on finding solutions that have the support of all breeders rather than acting dictatorially.  Racing doesn’t run breeding in any major jurisdiction in the world and it shouldn’t happen here.”

However, speaking to ANZ Bloodstock News, Racing Australia CEO Peter McGauran, said that the TBA’s advice to members was largely immaterial after the rules came into effect on 1 August.

“The TBA’s ill-considered advice to its members does not have a bearing on either the necessity for the new rules, nor their enforcement.  The rules took effect on 1 August and non-compliance with them means that a foal will not be accepted into the Stud Book.

“I won’t get into a debate about the legal viability of TBA’s stance except to say that Racing Australia is sure of its ground and will proceed unhindered.”