EFTBA 2023 AGM Press Release EFTBA Holds 2023 AGM in Newmarket



On 12th July, the eve of the July Racing Festival in Newmarket, the European Federation of Thoroughbred Breeders’ Associations (EFTBA) held its AGM at the John Lambton Rooms, National Horse Racing Museum. The meeting was well attended by over 10 countries. It was also attended by other country members via Zoom. All new EFTBA representatives were welcomed; namely Magdalene Donimirska - Wodzicka Poland, Frank Dorff, Germany, Jose Hormaeche Spain, Philip Lybeck Finland, Henrik Villadsen, Denmark, Pierric Rouxel, France.  Observers included Sarah Carmichael ITBF Secretariat and Victoria Murrell, The TBA.

Thoroughbred Movements: The EFTBA is very pleased that progress has been made in relation to the facilitation of freedom of movement (akin to the former TPA and BPA arrangements) - between EU Member states. This facilitation is based on the High Health Breeding concept which requires certification of compliance with the International Codes of Practice and evidence of a high standard of disease surveillance. This is a very important for the benefit of all our industry stakeholders.  This was achieved following a protracted period of intensive lobbying and negotiations by led by the EFTBA Veterinary Committee and the Ministries of Agriculture of Ireland and France, to whom we are very grateful.  They successfully convinced the Irish and French Governments and through them, the EU Commission to both acknowledge and endorse the High Health Breeding Status concept (HHB) which will facilitate easier thoroughbred movement across Europe.

Call for Mandatory Vaccinations Continue: Following the successful outcome of the yet to be published study into mandatory Equine Herpes Virus vaccinations in France, it was agreed EFTBA should continue advocating and lobbying all relevant international industry stakeholders for mandatory vaccinations across the global bloodstock industry. Regarding vaccinations, concerns were raised pertaining to the lack of the consistency in their supply. It was suggested EFTBA beef up its engagement with the big Pharma companies to address these concerns. The fear of one major incident at an International gathering of our Equidae would have a major impact on our industry for a long period of time, resulting in catastrophic economic and animal losses.

Wind surgery and Inbreeding: The papers on the case for recording of wind surgeries and the levels of inbreeding were tabled by Dr Bernard Stoffel were discussed by the EFTBA Veterinary Committee. The scientific study on inbreeding which is based on more than 280,000 anonymised pedigrees and is due for publication later this year was brought to the attention of the EFTBA Board.

Industry Co-operation: It was acknowledged that we have to sell our industry and way of life to the wider public as to how we care for our stock and how we cherish and nourish them. The 118 people arrested at the Grand National got more coverage than the 65,000 people who attended.  Calls were made for enhanced engagement and co-operation between all industry stakeholders at both European and International level.  To this end EFTBA produced a video highlighting how we care for our animals.  

EFTBA Promotional Video “The Amazing Story of the Thoroughbred” The wellness and health of the thoroughbred continues to be to the foreground in the mind of European breeders. The relationship between humans and horses goes back 8,000 years. As result of which, breeders have developed a close and inseparable connection with the thoroughbred. With this in mind the EFTBA Executive commissioned a promotional video, which showcases the European 2023 breeding season and all it entails. The footage from right across the Europe’s stud farms beautifully captures the wonderful relationship between mares and foals, as well as the breathtaking stud farms, grasslands and pastures.

European thoroughbred breeders work tirelessly to provide the purest of environments to ensure mares, foals and young stock flourish. Sustainability and biodiversity are to the fore when it comes to creating this environment. It celebrates high standards of care given to breeding stock and young thoroughbreds across Europe and Illustrates how management practices may vary to meet the requirements of the horses in each location, relative to the climate and pasture etc. The production of this video would not have been possible without the support of our country members and the working committee of the French, British and Irish TBA’s. It was agreed that the link to this video should be sent to as many elected parliamentary representatives in as many countries as possible.

The Amazing Story of the Thoroughbred European Breeding Season 2023

The reduction in the number of foals born globally in recent years was discussed. This is in an environment when prices and demand seem to be soaring. World pool betting continues to grow and funding on tracks continues to grow.

Welfare issues were discussed at length, including the whip, medication and farm gate practices. The manner and ways in which we handle our horses needs to be transparent to all.   




On taxation matters, it was observed that in France, effective from 1st January 2023, VAT had been reduced to 5.5% for the keep of mares and stallions, purchase of mares and stallions (including shares), nominations contracts and foaling procedures (unless foaled by a vet or in a clinic). In all other cases the VAT rate is 20% as before. The French TBA is now lobbying for an extension of this VAT reduction to be applicable to yearlings, purchases and training.  

 Carbon Calculator Tool Project: As custodians of the land, many thoroughbred breeders are very open and willing to further embrace and enhance both sustainability and biodiversity on their stud farms and breeding operations.  Breeders collectively hold many thousands of hectares of faming land right across Europe. Our thoroughbred industry is recognised as a green agricultural activity and its farming methods continue to contribute to and maintain vegetation cover including trees and hedges. Given all of this, work in underway by country members of the EFTBA to develop and implement a Carbon Calculator mechanism. This project aims to collate, analyse, measure and report on European breeders` stud farm’s carbon foot print. A sub-committee is being set up to oversee the establishment of such a reporting committee amongst our associations.

It was agreed that the IFHA should be advised of the work that the breeding industry has commissioned in relation to its carbon footprint, to ensure that this effort is not duplicated and that any resulting reports are based on the expertise of the breeding sector,


Joe Hernon, who was invited to extend his chairmanship of the EFTBA at the AGM said “Since Ireland last hosted it in 2019, many things have stayed the same; in terms of the desire of European breeders to produce first class thoroughbreds and equally the global demand and interest in European bloodstock, which is being proven time and time again in European auction houses and sales rings. However, we face many challenges in techniques, new methods of operations, which need a lot of consideration in order to maintain the history and standards of our glorious industry.

Other positive changes include the development and roll out of the digital passport by Weatherbys, which once fully implemented will have a transformative and positive impact on the tracking and tracing of all thoroughbreds. This will aid us in determining the size and wellness of the European herd. EFTBA will continue to combat against the challenges facing breeders. Despite such challenges, it is hard not to take pride in our great industry, which for us all is a wonderful and rewarding way of life. It is in this vein we will continue to be the guardians of the thoroughbred and strive to make it current and acceptable in today’s world”

The Amazing Story of the Thoroughbred European Breeding Season 2023