Australian Court Ruling Ends Legal Effort to Overturn Ban on AI

by | 10.17.2014 | 8:39am

An Australian High Court has ended breeder and former bookmaker Bruce McHugh's four-year effort to overturn rules banning artificial insemination of Thoroughbreds with its denial of his appeal of a previous ruling. McHugh sued in 2011, saying the ban on AI was a restraint of trade. A lower court judge ruled against McHugh in December 2012.

The Australian Racing Board issued the following statement:

The ARB welcomes today's decision of the High Court to deny Leave to Appeal to Applicant McHugh in the Artificial Insemination case. There is no further avenue open to Mr. McHugh and the case in now concluded.

The result of the High Court's decision means that the Federal Court's findings that the ARB rules banning artificially bred horses were not anti-competitive nor a restraint of trade.

ARB CEO Peter McGauran said that there was a tangible sense of relief in breeding and racing that four years of uncertainty had now ended.

“Australian racing would have been reduced to a small and insular domestic industry if AI had been imposed on it,” McGauran said. “The major racing jurisdictions around the world gave evidence that our black type would not be recognized and exports refused. Naturally such exclusion would have been to our great disadvantage.”

“Australia is the second-largest racing nation after America and plays a major role internationally. We provide many of the world's best jockeys, stewards, administrators and horses. Today's decision removes any doubt about the industry's future and provides certainty,” McGauran added.

Costs have previously been awarded to the ARB which will now seek to recover them from Mr. McHugh as they are industry funds which should be returned to stakeholders.

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