EFTBA 2019 AGM Hosted by ITBA in Co. Kildare, Ireland 25th May 2019

The Annual General Meeting of the European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders’ Associations(EFTBA) was hosted by the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association last weekend. Twelve countries were represented and delegates enjoyed a number of stud farm visits and two wonderful days racing in the new Curragh racecourse.

Veterinary items dominated the agenda and the EFTBA board was unanimous in their opposition to Artificial Insemination, Embryo transfer and Gene Editing in the thoroughbred industry. Vaccination of horses was discussed and the board agreed to write to sales companies urging them to ensure that unvaccinated horses, or those with incomplete, or out of date influenza vaccine status, do not enter sales premises. The meeting also felt that there was a need to increase the number of horses that are vaccinated against EHV infection. The differences in policy in relation to Regumate among EFTBA member countries were noted. The veterinary committee recommended that the EFTBA board should write to the Racing Authorities, calling for a uniformed approach to Regumate usage, with an awareness of its importance in the breeding sector.

The ever increasing regulations and restrictions being imposed on the industry were discussed and our commitment to the welfare of the thoroughbred was highlighted.  The French TBA advised it had recently produced a paper on welfare matters which would be sent to the EFTBA secretariat, formalised as a template for EFTBA to be used by member states going forward.

In this changing political climate, the board agreed we should be more proactive in promoting all that is good about our industry and agreed to look at a communications strategy going forward. This will involve regular news feeds concentrating on good news stories. The uncertainty of BREXIT was discussed and the meeting unanimously agreed that irrespective of the outcome the UK should remain an integral part of the EFTBA executive. 

Each country produced a report and the chairman agreed to assist in any way, especially to those countries that were attempting to stabilise and improve their racing and breeding industries.  

Commenting on the meeting EFTBA Chairperson Joe Hernon said “I was particularly delighted with the level of engagement from member states that are all keen to further build on the success we have achieved over the past few years. There are 220,000 people employed in the industry which equates to c2.4% of all agricultural jobs in Europe. This includes 40,000 breeders producing over 30,000 foals who need to be represented at the highest level. There is no doubt that the political landscape in Europe is changing and we need to ensure that our message is articulated especially to newly elected MEP’s. The high health status of the horse, availability of vaccines, welfare and the positive promotion of our industry are the main agenda items we will follow over the next year.”