by Fran Jurga | 30 November 2009 | The Jurga Report at Equisearch.com
The following statement was received from the United States Equestrian Federation (USEF) this afternoon. USEF is the governing body of equestrian sports in the United States and is the representative body within the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI).
"Progressive list" medication rule changes voted in at the FEI's General Assembly two weeks ago in Denmark end the international competitions' traditional zero-tolerance policy for anti-inflammatory and some other medications and bring FEI rules closer in spirit to USEF medication policies, while being more conservative.
Many leading equestrian nations are protesting the rule change; see past posts in this blog. Because the USEF statement was released late in the day, US time, reaction from Europe won't arrive for a while.Nightowl Irish journalist Louise Parkes reported confusion in her camp, noting her recollection that USEF CEO John Long stated on FEI-TV that his organization was against the progressive list at the General Assembly; other European federations apparently believed that the United States would stand with them.
Instead, it looks like USEF is seeking a middle ground, or at least a temporary ceasefire.
Here is the USEF statement:
The USEF is supportive of the rule change allowing certain non-steroidal medications included on the "Progressive List" passed at the FEI General Assembly in Copenhagen earlier this month. The list includes medications that would be allowed in FEI competitions and which are already permitted in USEF competitions.
These medications are not considered by WADA to be performance enhancing in human athletes and because of this distinction, they are not prohibited. While it is the human athlete that is solely responsible in making the decision to use these non-performance enhancing medications, it is the responsibility of the FEI to protect and ensure the welfare of our equine partners. By placing restrictions on the use of the NSAIDs to include low level administrations and continuing a rigorous program of veterinary examinations and inspections, the FEI is providing for equine welfare while still prohibiting the non-judicious use of these and other medications consistent with the Clean Sport initiative.
While fully supportive of this change the USEF believes that the implementation of the rule on January 1, 2010 may be problematic.
The addition of certain NASIDs (sic) to the permitted medication list will be new to many NFs and an education and communication plan needs to be implemented before the rule takes effect. FEI laboratories need to adopt standard identical protocols for testing so as to assure a level playing field for all athletes throughout the world.
The USEF is also concerned that the premature implementation of this new rule may impact team participation at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games in Kentucky in 2010. Without a carefully prepared education and communication program, a premature implementation of this rule is risky and has high potential of causing a series of unintended consequences.
The USEF believe the passage of the "Progressive List" is a step forward in a commitment to horse welfare. The General Assembly of the FEI has made its decision but, we strongly encourage the FEI to delay implementation until such time that the laboratory procedures are in place and a communication and education plan has been launched.