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AI Court Challenge Branded "Lawyers' Picnic"

Wednesday, 18th November 2009

The landmark legal action over artificial insemination “that could force major changes on Australia’s $3 billion thoroughbred horse-racing industry has kicked off with a warning that breeders will be hit with a levy to cover the legal costs,” reported The Australian Financial Review. Thoroughbred Breeders Australia argued yesterday that the “challenge to the long-standing ban on breeding thoroughbreds by using artificial insemination” would be a “long-running lawyers’ picnic”. Speaking outside the Federal Court, TBA chief executive Peter McGauran declared the case was “eye-poppingly complex” & sought to apply competition laws to the rules of thoroughbred breeding & racing. McGauran warned: “There will be massive legal costs for all parties by the time this is finished. In the case of the (Australian) Stud Book, the cost will be borne by every breeder.” Former bookmaker & Sydney Turf Club chairman Bruce McHugh has launched the legal action, alleging the industry’s refusal to register horses bred using AI is a restraint of trade & in breach of the Trade Practices Act. His action is against the Australian Jockey Club & Victoria Racing Club (joint owners of the Australian Stud Book), along with the Australian Racing Board & Racing Information Services Australia. Yesterday’s hearing in Sydney set a timetable for “exchanging documents & the filing of defences”, with a further directions hearing set for February 16.

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