The importance of the bloodstock industry and horse racing is recognised by the very generous level of Government subvention given to the sector.
Tens of thousands of people are employed by breeders or trainers and its importance to the country can hardly be over-stated. It is one of the few areas that Irish interests have led the world and set new standards allowing us all to happily bask in the reflected glory.
That reputation was decades if not lifetimes in the making and anything that threatens it must be regarded in the sternest light. That view is strengthened by the fact that all of our food animal exports depend on our reputation for proper animal husbandry, ethical standards and a regulatory system tough enough to detect and prevent abuse.
This week’s conviction of a horse trainer for possessing unlicensed animal remedies, including a “potent” anabolic steroid, should set alarm bells ringing in bloodstock, racing and meat sectors. There’s far too much at stake not to take the very firmest action.