Federal Court dismisses A.I. Appeal

The Full Federal Court of Australia has handed down a unanimous judgment dismissing the A I Appeal brought by Bruce McHugh.

Thursday’s decision upholds the judgment handed down by Justice Alan Robertson in Federal Court in December 2012.

The Australian Rules of Racing have again been found to be valid and enforceable.  TBA President Trevor Lobb hailed the decision as “wonderful.”

Justice Robertson dismissed McHugh’s initial legal action ruling the refusal to register horses bred via artificial insemination was not a restraint of trade.

Under international rules, only horses that are conceived by “direct cover”, where the stallion directly inseminates the mare, can be registered, which allows them to race and breed.  Any country legalising AI would be effectively isolated from the rest of the racing world.

The legal action was defended by six co-respondents – Australian Jockey Club, Victoria Racing Club, Australian Racing Board, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, Racing Information Services Australia and Australian Stud Book.

ARB Chairman John Messara AM has welcomed  the decision.  “A great deal of industry time and financial resources have been spent over the past 5 years in defending this matter,” Messara said.  “The issue of artificial insemination is settled once and for all.  We have said from the outset that our sport was not anti-competitive or a restraint of trade as proponents of AI are perfectly free to establish their own industry.

“Racing and breeding has many challenges now and into the future and the finality of this case will allow to concentrate fully on what matters most to participants, punters and stakeholders.”