Ottawa, ON – Equine Canada strongly endorsed the Clean Sport Commission Report, presented at the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) General Assembly, held in Copenhagen at the end of November. We are pleased that the overwhelming majority of other national equestrian federations (NFs) also supported the report.
The General Assembly was similarly presented with a proposal to permit the use of strictly limited levels of a small number of specified non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) to horses in competition. Equine Canada expressed serious concerns that the proposal had been circulated to the national federations (NFs) shortly before the General Assembly, allowing no time for consultations with our veterinary advisors, equine welfare committee or disciplines. Equine Canada and a narrow majority of NFs voted in favour of the new NSAID policy, on the grounds that the underlying principles were consistent with those of the World Anti-Doping Association (WADA) position on the palliative use of non-performance enhancing NSAID treatments for human athletes.
The NSAID policy has been the subject of heated debate around the world since the General Assembly. Many NFs have expressed concerns that they had been given insufficient background information and inadequate time for consultations. The FEI President has therefore asked for the consent of the NFs to postpone the introduction of the NSAID policy until it can be discussed again at the 2010 General Assembly in Taipei, with the benefit of additional scientific analysis and time for national deliberations.
Equine Canada agrees that implementation of an FEI NSAID policy would benefit from additional research, education, and consultation. Whatever knowledge is available about the effects of implementing an NSAID policy should be documented and presented to all NFs, so that the best possible program can be structured to protect the health and welfare of our equine athletes.
As a result, Equine Canada supports the FEI President’s request to delay the adoption of the NSAID policy until it can be discussed at the 2010 General Assembly, with all of the relevant facts and research presented to the NFs for their review well before the meeting.