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Breeders call for rethink on bute rule change

EUROPEAN breeders are urging the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to reconsider a decision to abandon its zero-tolerance policy on drugs in competition.

Joe Hernon

EFTBA chairman Joe Hernon

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris  

The European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders Associations has described the FEI general assembly's vote to reintroduce the controlled use of bute, otherwise known as phenylbutazone, and two other anti-inflammatory drugs as potentially "a disastrously retrograde step."

Although no thoroughbred racing authority is expected to follow the controversial FEI line, senior members of EFTBA reconvened their autumn meeting last week to discuss the issue.

As a consequence, EFTBA chairman Joe Hernon has written to FEI secretary general Alexander McGlin, expressing the federation’s concern.

Hernon’s letter says: "It is of the utmost importance for all horse sport that the enormous anxiety that this decision has caused is resolved at the very earliest opportunity.

"We have grave concerns that horses competing whilst under treatment with pain-relieving medicines are at an increased risk of musculoskeletal lesions, progressing to catastrophic injuries.

"It is contrary to our own and the public aspiration of drug-free competition."

EFTBA’s message to the FEI concludes: “We would strongly encourage an urgent international review of the evidence on which your decision was based, and, if necessary, further research before you proceed.

"It is, in our view, imperative that you reconsider your position in the light of the worldwide reaction to your decision."

 

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