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In a response to the post regarding the outbreak of EVA in Argentina and the questions that problem raises about shuttling, live covers, and economics, The Observer posed these questions: “Are there any countries that permit AI for Thoroughbreds?  What would happen if AI was permitted in, say, Canada?”

The basic questions are easy to answer: “No,” and “They wouldn’t be eligible for registration anywhere else.” The latter is not precisely a fact but my reading of the political landscape.

Technically, AI foals would be eligible for registration on every qualification, except the rule requiring live covers. And there is a legal case in Australia that is trying to test the live cover requirement and is still working its way through the courts.

So, perhaps the answer to the second question is “in some countries.”

The problem with registering foals from AI conceptions is the reciprocal nature of international Thoroughbred registration. All the Jockey Clubs of the various Thoroughbred breeding countries agree with one another about the requirements for registration, even though some of them will admit (off the record) that they have no problems with AI.

Then, you might ask, why don’t they legalize it? The reason is that the JCs in the US and Brazil adamantly oppose the use of AI, and without reciprocal agreements on registration of foals, the international market in Thoroughbreds falls into disarray.

For instance, the British Jockey Club adopted a rule in the early part of the 20th century that made most of the American (and much of the Australian, Argentine, etc.) stock ineligible for registration in the General Stud Book. This was violently destructive to the American export business in Thoroughbreds but no problem for the French and Italian breeders such as Marcel Boussac and Federico Tesio who picked up elite American-bred horses and bred champions from them.

And the key question about the court case in Australia is how the other JCs will react if the verdict goes against the Stud Book authorities Down Under.