Monday, September 08, 2014

Compiegne Horse Death Case Closed; Transparency in Question

September 8 2014
by Merri Melde-Endurance.net

Following the Open Letter to Endurance by French veterinarians, Doctors Pelissier, Seguin, Benamou-Smith, Romantzoff, and Leclerc, concerning high speeds, "tired over-run horses in the vetgates", high number of treatments required, attempts to "cheat systematically" by some competitors, and in particular the death of one mare at the May 2014 Compiegne endurance races, this group of veterinarians has responded to the FEI's investigation into the horse's death.

Of the mare Elmerita di Gallura's death FEI concluded, "results from the anti-doping test are negative and the post-mortem examination did not explain the cause of death."

Veterinarians Benamou-Smith, Pelissier, Romantzoff, and Sequin express strong objection to this apparent dismissal of the incident, and do not accept that the FEI, "whose self-professed mission is to lead an enquiry into the death of a competing horse, produces such a statement. In order to show a real transparency (the key factor in 'clean sport') in ethics and sports, the complete scientific results of these tests, which are known to the FEI since June, should to [sic] be published."

The veterinarians can't help but draw a parallel to another horse in the 2012 Florac race, which "died in very strange clinical circumstances. The horse was sampled post-mortem at the venue. No less than 21 controlled substances were identified by the french MCP (medication control program) laboratory LCH." However, the veterinarians are still waiting for the FEI to release the results of these samples from 2 years ago.

Another mare from the same stables as Elmerita di Gallura was also treated at the May Compiegne ride and received invasive treatment because she was metabolically compromised. In such cases, FEI has instituted mandatory rest periods for the safety and well-being of the horses; and in this case, the mare was entered to race in Italy 17 days later, without being blocked by FEI, "which defies official mandatory rest periods and common sense."

While FEI has publicly expressed their intention and campaign to fight doping, and to have a "clean sport," these incidences continue to show the great distance between expressed intent and execution, and the reputation of the sport of endurance suffers while the horses continue to pay the price.

The French veterinarians insist that the FEI live up to their "transparency" goals. "Although the intention expressed by the FEI to fight doping has never seemed stronger, we still have the feeling that actions are not yet sufficient to attain the declared objectives."

See the complete letter here:
http://www.endurance.net/international/UAE/2013FEIControversy/Lettre_Compiegne2.pdf