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Wednesday, 16 January, 2019

Weatherbys satisfied with early take-up for 30-day foal notification

New ruling in Britain came into effect this year

Foals born in Britain need to be notified within 30 days from this year
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Figures supplied to the Racing Post suggest breeders have got squarely behind the new BHA ruling that states they must notify Weatherbys of foals born in Britain within 30 days of their birth.

The regulation, announced in November, came into effect on January 1 and was intended to improve the traceability of thoroughbreds from cradle to grave. The move to enhance already high welfare standards while reflecting EU legislation was also viewed as important in terms of maintaining trading agreements – especially the movement of horses – after Brexit has been completed.

Weatherbys has revealed it had received 163 notifications on the operation's new online system up to the end of last month. That is in line with expectations, as in January 2017 there were 313 foals born, but 236 of those came between January 20 and 31.

Weatherbys communications director Nick Craven said: “We're very pleased with the reaction to the new 30-day foal notification system and have received positive feedback from stud offices and breeders.

“The notification numbers up to the end of January are in line with what we would have expected when compared to January-born foals in 2017.

“The Stud Book team have had a handful of queries and are available should anyone have any questions regarding the system.”

One contented user of the new system, who will have plenty of foals to upload this season, is Sharon Harper, office manager at Cheveley Park Stud.

“The notification process is simple and easy to follow,” she said. “It just takes a few minutes to load each horse.”

The Thoroughbred Breeders' Association supported the new ruling and worked with the BHA to ensure it was implemented with no significant administrative burden to its members and at no extra cost. Indeed, there are no additional fees for notification of the birth of a foal if carried out within the 30-day window, with an ascending fee structure for notifications made after that period has elapsed.

TBA chief executive Claire Sheppard was in Ireland for last week's ITBA Expo, where experts in the main forum called Brexit an impending catastrophe for the Irish breeding industry due to potential disruption in the free movement of thoroughbreds.

“The new 30-day foal notification requirement strengthens and further demonstrates the industry’s absolute commitment to the highest possible health and welfare standards,” she said.

“Brexit is a topical issue and one where the TBA has been at the forefront of developing industry strategy and policies, to maintain the current freedom of movement of thoroughbreds in Europe and between ourselves, Ireland and France in particular.

“The new systems demonstrate that our traceability systems and policies are at the very least equivalent to the best among EU member countries, which will be of vital importance to future thoroughbred movements and trade.

“Weatherbys' new online system to notify foal births has been designed to assist breeders with the new requirements and step-by-step instructions on how to use the new system are available on both the TBA and Weatherbys websites.”

The 30-day foal notification has also been cited by the BHA as supporting its reinforced anti-doping policies.

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