The Society of International Thoroughbred Auctioneers (SITA) will clarify its policy on aged broodmares during its next meeting, according to a press release issued by the organization on July 10. Based on comments by Fasig-Tipton and Keeneland officials, there was confusion about the portion of the policy that addresses broodmares 18 years of age and older and whether the ban recommended by SITA concerns all broodmares of that age or only broodmares of that age that are not in foal.
SITA had developed the policy during a June meeting in England. According to the SITA press release, the organization acted on “a letter from the British Thoroughbred Breeders Association requesting that SITA members review their policies on cataloging aged broodmares on welfare grounds. Members discussed the issue and agreed that the welfare of the Thoroughbred was of paramount importance in all categories of bloodstock at all (SITA) members’ sales. The meeting agreed (on) a policy in connection with broodmares of 18 years or over, but when the minutes were circulated recently, it became apparent there was some confusion over whether the agreement covered all broodmares of 18 years or over or broodmares 18 years or over and not in foal. The meeting had listened to Keeneland’s Geoffrey Russell, who joined the meeting by telephone and who stated Keeneland’s policy was not to catalog mares aged 18 years or over if they were not in foal or mares that had been barren for three consecutive years or more.”
Commenting on the situation, SITA’s chairman, Henry Beeby, an executive with Goffs and Doncaster Bloodstock Sales, said: “It is very hard, if not impossible, to get every SITA member to attend our meetings given that our members are from every corner of the globe. Since the minutes of the meeting were circulated, it appears there is some confusion on this subject which will need to be debated at a future meeting.
"However, SITA members already have strong guidelines in place on this subject as evidenced by the likes of Keeneland’s existing policy. I apologize for any confusion that has arisen and, as the current chairman of SITA, take responsibility, but I am content that SITA members continue to work to the highest possible standards in all areas -- it is simply a case of reaching some degree of uniformity on this specific subject going forward.”
Russell, who serves as Keeneland’s director of sales, said SITA is scheduled to meet again in November. He said there is no confusion over the portion of the SITA policy that bans the selling of broodmares that have been barren for three consecutive years or longer.