Media Centre

Breeders welcome end of India import restrictions

THE Tattersalls December Sale could benefit from Indian participation for the first time in 15 years after restrictionswere lifted on the importation of thoroughbred breeding stock to India.

The ban has proved costly for British breeders as Indian buyers last year bought horses at public auction worth €1.7 million.

Kirsten Rausing - Sept 08 - Mark Cranham

Kirsten Rausing: "a long campaign"

  PICTURE: Mark Cranham  

The news follows extensive lobbying by British breeding authorities, primarily the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association, whose chairman Kirsten Rausing said: "The TBA has been working to secure the movement of horses since the restriction was imposed in 1995. This  has been a long campaign, but one which was stepped up a gear last year.

"Whilst it was unfortunate that we were unable to welcome Indian buyers to the 2009 Tattersalls December Sales, we now look forward to their return to British sales later this year.

"This campaign would not have succeeded without support from our opposite numbers, the National Horse Breeding Society of India, and DEFRA, who through Dr Mauricio Lopez, Veterinary Head Global Animal Health, represented the industry at high level meetings in Delhi, supported by the British Trade Office in India.

"We also have to recognise the contribution made by a number of supporters, whose close contacts with India provided the necessary guidance and advice, local MPs and MEPs who also supported our intensive lobbying."

The restrictions were imposed in 1995 following an outbreak of CEM, a disease which occurs widely within the non-thoroughbred population and is notifiable by law.

Although the disease was swiftly eradicated, there have since been isolated cases detected in Britain, causing the restrictions to remain in place. The Indian authorities were only persuaded to lift the restrictions after members of the veterinary profession were able to clarify the distinction between thoroughbred and non-thoroughbred trade, supported by the Levy Board's Codes of Practice.

In line with yesterday's announcement, the Indian government has amended its  import conditions to allow the import of breeding stock from countries where CEM has been detected within three years before export.

Since the ban was imposed, India has become a major player in the European breeding stock market, in particular in Ireland. Last year saw Indian interests buy  €1.7 million worth of mares at public auction outside Britain, while the first three home in this year's Indian Derby were each out of mares sourced at Goffs.

Tattersalls chairman Edmond Mahony said: "This is wonderful news for the British thoroughbred industry and a tribute to years of collective lobbying and hard work.

"Particular thanks should go to TBA chairman Kirsten Rausing who has worked tirelessly to achieve this breakthrough. Historically the December Sales have been a very happy hunting ground for Indian breeders."





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