Thoroughbred Breeders Australia welcomes the High Court’s decision to deny Bruce McHugh leave to appeal the Artificial Insemination (AI) case.

Friday’s ruling brings to an end proceedings which have gone on for more than five years and means Mr McHugh has now exhausted all legal challenges to the rule barring the use of A.I. in horses registered as thoroughbreds.

Had Mr McHugh been successful in getting the ban on A.I. overturned, the Australian breeding industry faced the prospect of being ostracised on the world stage, with the possibility that horses bred domestically would have been barred from competing overseas or being recognised as thoroughbreds in other jurisdictions.

“This is a very important day for Australian breeders and we’re delighted with the court’s ruling,” said Basil Nolan, President of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia.

“Hopefully, we don’t have to go through this again, all it does is cost everybody money.  I can’t believe somebody who has got so much out racing would put the industry to this expense.  Thankfully, we can now move on without this cloud hanging over us.”

The High Court decision upholds the findings of the Federal Court, that the ban on artificially bred horses is not anti-competitive or a restraint on trade.  There has long been an international agreement to ban racehorses being bred using A.I.

“If we lost this case, Australia would have been a pariah state in world racing, with our horses unable to race internationally or be recognised by breeders overseas,” TBA CEO Tom Reilly said.  “In an increasingly globalised industry this would have been incredibly damaging.

“I’m sure people involved in the sport around the world would have been watching this result closely and it will certainly give people confidence to invest in the Australian breeding industry.”

Mr McHugh has been unsuccessful at every step of his legal challenge, which began in 2009.  Costs have been awarded to the respondents in the case.

In closing, Nolan thanked the Australian Stud Book, Australian Racing Board and their lawyers Esplins who handled the case.

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