The Fédération Equestre Internationale Speaks for the Horse Who Has No Voice and the Court of Arbitration for Sport Listened: Equine Welfare and Anti-Doping in Equestrianism

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Dr Laura Donnellan


The strict liability standard employed by the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) in equine doping cases has been a source of contention among academics, riders and trainers. The FEI Disciplinary Tribunal and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) have consistently upheld the standard and no alternative has been considered. At the core of the application of the strict liability standard has been the protection of the equine athlete. With the dual aims of the protection of equine athletes and equality between competitors, the FEI imposes a provisional equine suspension when a horse’s sample records an adverse analytical finding. The standard of strict liability and the imposition of provisional suspensions together put the welfare of the horse to the fore. While the intentions of the FEI have been based on this noble premise, ambiguities and inconsistencies have undermined the effectiveness of the Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations (EADCMRs).

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