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subk
Nov. 19, 2009, 11:02 AM
Eventing Nation has a recap on the discussions in Copenhagen. "Turmoil" is the descriptive verb...

http://eventingnation.com/home/2009/11/fei-considers-change-to-more-lenient-substance-policy.html

JER
Nov. 19, 2009, 12:33 PM
More at Horse & Hound: FEI president Princess Haya refuses to allow a re-vote on bute (http://www.horseandhound.co.uk/news/397/292010.html)


Britain's and Ireland's calls for a re-vote on the decision to allow bute in competition have been dismissed.

Damian McDonald chief executive of Horse Sport Ireland has questioned this afternoon whether delegates at the FEI general assembly understood fully what they were voting for.

"On 13 November it was stated by the FEI that we would get a choice between the 'progressive list' and a list legally called the '20 October list'," he said.

"But this morning we were asked to vote on 'progressive list' and 'current list', and the current list we had until now is very different from the list of 20 October."

He urged to allow a revote to be absolutely certain that federations were clear on what they were voting for, a call backed up by British Equestrian Federation (BEF) chairman Keith Taylor.


Don't you just love international sport federations?

(Most of my sport-federation-related anger today is directed at FIFA over the France-Ireland outrage. Why is it these federations can act so corruptly and with such impunity?)

vineyridge
Nov. 19, 2009, 01:02 PM
JER. you get outraged over SOCCER?! :)

Lexi
Nov. 19, 2009, 01:04 PM
and then there's the sticky issue that the bylaws require the final draft of rule changes to be sent out 4 weeks before the general ASSembly. they only got this on nov 13.

JER
Nov. 19, 2009, 01:10 PM
JER. you get outraged over SOCCER?! :)

No. I get outraged over FOOTBALL.

:):):)

vineyridge
Nov. 19, 2009, 01:13 PM
No. I get outraged over FOOTBALL.

:):):)

:D

subk
Nov. 19, 2009, 02:14 PM
Eventing Nation gives an update today with a host of links to follow.

http://eventingnation.com/home/2009/11/fei-approves-bute-and-other-nsaids-at-horse-competitions-around-the-world.html

Leave it to the FEI to fumble the process...

JER
Nov. 19, 2009, 02:25 PM
From subk's EN link (http://eventingnation.com/home/2009/11/fei-approves-bute-and-other-nsaids-at-horse-competitions-around-the-world.html):


It is unclear exactly where the push for the progressive list was initiated, but the FEI apparently concealed the progressive list's existence until several days ago, and then rushed the proposal to vote without fully educating the delegates. The FEI also repeatedly changed the names and contents of the lists just a few hours prior to the vote. To make matters worse, check out this ridiculous spin by the FEI.

The FEI stated that the progressive list is built from the USEF model of allowing low levels of drugs, such as bute at competitions. This prompted the USEF chief executive Jon Long to strongly deny any involvement by the US in starting the new proposal. Jon Long also said that the USEF did not support the progressive list. Most other major equestrian nations, such as Great Britain also strongly opposed the progressive list.

:(

Geneva
Nov. 19, 2009, 03:33 PM
So...is anyone buying what John Long is selling? Because the US has a long history of lobbying for FEI thresholds, no secret there. Not that there weren't other known "behind the scenes factions" at work from the moment the Commission came back with the "wrong" recommendations.

I can certainly accept it wasn't them driving it this time, but not that they weren't in support of it. It was only that statement by Long that makes me suspicious (voting is no longer done by a show of hands so no one would ever know whether or not they supported it). A love of statutory process is usually secondary to getting what you want. And I find it hard to believe that O'Connor and Co. weren't giddy with delight when they saw it, the Statutes be damned! David was on one of the commissions, he is well within the inner circle. JL was one of the handful of people developing the new structure/statutes which would have given even more inappropriate power to HRH. Thank God the NFs woke up and didn't allow that to happen.


Leave it to the FEI to fumble the process... it's not really "the FEI" though, that's the thing. The real "FEI" is not the problem here. It's ONE person's takeover of the FEI, and this should have been dealt with two long years ago over the financial business.

JER
Nov. 19, 2009, 03:38 PM
The Telegraph: "International Equestrian Federation damns decision to take 'bute' off banned list" (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/equestrianism/6605617/International-Equestrian-Federation-damns-decision-to-take-bute-off-banned-list.html)

Some words from Capt. Mark Phillips:

The bute proposals were a surprise to delegates in Copenhagen, and Phillips was baffled by the news.

"I have not seen the new list yet," he said. "It has long been a complaint of riders and vets that the medicine box is not big enough, but that what is a required is a larger list of medications that are non-performance enhancing.

"The rules were written in the days when testing was steam-driven. Nowadays they can detect miscroscopic amounts of anything. What riders don't want to be looking at is six months off [through a disciplinary suspension] if a miscroscopic residue is detected. But if you can give a significant dose, then it's not a clean sport."

DMK
Nov. 19, 2009, 03:39 PM
well if the "progressive list" is truly modeled after the USEF list, I think there are a few things on that list that USEF is stuck with due to membership (i.e., "trainers") demand rather than a historical philosophical attachment (not mentioning stacking NSAIDS or dex by name or anything) ... so if the list (anyone seen it?) IS modeled closely off that list, yeah, I can see that being an issue with USEF.

Geneva
Nov. 19, 2009, 03:55 PM
MP's comments are the other thing, besides how it was done. Even if done properly, when I was thinking "thresholds" I was thinking of getting rid of these ridiculously infinitessimal amounts that can't possibly have any effect. Drawing a line and saying we will not pursue these cases, because they damage the conduct and perception of the sport without catching the actual cheaters. This only for legitimate medication, not for doping class drugs which would still be zero tolerance. Then after you get Europe adjusted to that in concept, you can possibly start to look at what USEF does again, in a new environment that might be open to it some time in the future. But this is so radical in addition to being done in a highly improper way. Not the way to go, times two.

DMK it's rather funny that it seems only the MSM that can give us that information! (which is of course not authoritative):
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/othersports/equestrianism/6604438/World-of-equestrianism-dismayed-after-FEI-take-bute-off-banned-list.html

The [progressive list] does not prohibit phenylbutazone (up to 8 mcg/ml in plasma or serum), three times the level tolerated in the 1980s before the ban, salicyclic acid (up to 750mcg/ml in urine and up to 6.5 mcg/ml in plasma or serum) and flunixin (up to 500 mcg/ml in plasma or serum,) so long as those substances are not detected in a horse's sample above the prescribed limits noted and are used in isolation and not combined.
The progressive list also sanctions acetycysteine, dichloroacetate (lactanase), and isoxuprine.

Gry2Yng
Nov. 19, 2009, 04:14 PM
So...is anyone buying what John Long is selling? Because the US has a long history of lobbying for FEI thresholds, no secret there. Not that there weren't other known "behind the scenes factions" at work from the moment the Commission came back with the "wrong" recommendations.

I can certainly accept it wasn't them driving it this time, but not that they weren't in support of it. It was only that statement by Long that makes me suspicious (voting is no longer done by a show of hands so no one would ever know whether or not they supported it). A love of statutory process is usually secondary to getting what you want. And I find it hard to believe that O'Connor and Co. weren't giddy with delight when they saw it, the Statutes be damned! David was on one of the commissions, he is well within the inner circle. JL was one of the handful of people developing the new structure/statutes which would have given even more inappropriate power to HRH. Thank God the NFs woke up and didn't allow that to happen.

it's not really "the FEI" though, that's the thing. The real "FEI" is not the problem here. It's ONE person's takeover of the FEI, and this should have been dealt with two long years ago over the financial business.


I have yet to see the FEI do anything because the USEF promoted the idea. Do you know John Long? Cause IMHO, which is based on limited interaction, he is a pretty straight shooting, ethical guy. Sounds more like the FEI throwing the USEF under the bus.

JER
Nov. 19, 2009, 04:16 PM
DMK it's rather funny that it seems only the MSM that can give us that information! (which is of course not authoritative)

The Telegraph has a long history of excellence in reporting on equestrian sports.

I thought there was already an equivalent (750 mcg/ml) threshold for salicylates as they are naturally occurring.

Geneva
Nov. 19, 2009, 04:55 PM
The Telegraph has a long history of excellence in reporting on equestrian sports.I wasn't slighting the Telegraph, lol, just stating the obvious reality that any information on rules is never in fact "authoritative" unless it comes directly from the applicable governing body. ie the "authoritative" information is the actual document with the FEI logo on it, which has not been published. Thus highlighting the irony that we are first reading the specifics about drastic rule changes from the MSM, rather than directly from actual governing body news releases/ documents.

Ellie K
Nov. 19, 2009, 10:52 PM
http://equisearch.com/equiwire_news/nancy_jaffer/fei_drugs_medications_update_090309/index.aspx
The following quotes from David O’Connor dated 3 Sept suggest that he was well aware that thresholds were imminently on the way and likely quite actively involved in their development. That doesn’t mean the USEF was the only one working on it, since obviously there were a few others on the commission, and various riders known to be whispering in Haya’s ear after HK, which is what started it. But it is USEF medication principles, which are fairly unique in the world, and he is the USEF president.

By the statutory FEI rule change process, the deadline for the first draft of both the Vet Regs (which contain the prohibited substance list, or at least used to), and the EADMCRs would have already passed when this interview was published. The first drafts would already have been under consideration by the NFs at this time, with no apparent mention of thresholds (either because the prohibited list was fully extracted from the new VRs, or only the old list was included). The NFs then comment back to the FEI, the FEI either incorporates those comments and tweaks or not, and the final draft goes out a month prior to the GA.


“It’s a major paradigm shift in equestrian sport, making it more professional, and protecting the riders, the people who are playing the game within the rules as well as trying to catch the people outside the rules,” said David, noting that it also addresses “guarding the welfare of the horse. It’s a different way to look at it. I think everybody believes it is needed and needs to happen now.”If “everybody” believes it, why were they kept in the dark until the last minute?


Stakeholders in the sport, David said, “must have the conversation” about the details on the medication situation to determine what and how much can be used.So why were they only allowed to “have the conversation” about “what and how much can be used” once they got to the GA?


Defining what a performance-enhancing drug is, and at what level it acts in that regard
“I think the realistic part is that there are medication thresholds for classes of drugs. If the sport gets there, I think it’s going to be in a good place. I think people are ready for this, because the sport has to be held in high repute.”
The commission called for establishing threshold levels of certain medications, as the USEF does. Below the threshhold, these drugs will be deemed to have no effect in competition, so their presence will not be penalized. But David also warned there are some medications, such as human anti-psychotics, that have no place in treating equines, and will not be tolerated in any amount.So if the commission called for this, why did no other NF know about it until they got to Copenhagen? (or at least, no other NF except those few lucky enough to have members on the commission, or, alternatively, those aware that they needed to read equisearch.com instead of relying on info from their IF?)

ETA: the draft EADMCRs went out 24 July; still checking on the VRs but it had to be before Sept. Also I corrected myself to say the draft should have gone out before this interview was published rather than when he gave it (but you'd think for something so huge, there would be a call to Nancy J if something had changed in the interim).

JER
Nov. 19, 2009, 11:20 PM
Thanks for posting that, Ellie K.

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

tulkas
Nov. 20, 2009, 12:40 AM
It is well past time that the FEI recognized that they made a mistake twenty years ago when they adopted the homeopathic princesse's agenda. Why should horses be denied the minor discomfort relief that riders allow themselves?

And before you go off on the USEF permitting "stacking" NSAIDa, check out the rule change proposals for this year. From the D&M Committee: no more "stacking". Do something for the horses and express yoiur apporoval of this proposal.

tulkas

vineyridge
Nov. 20, 2009, 12:58 AM
It's one thing to establish thresholds for therapeutic benefits and a whole different thing to allow horses to compete on painkillers. Why bute and the others and not capsacin? If the thresholds for the drugs which are now to be allowed up to the day before the performance (did I read that right?) are high enough to provide therapeutic benefits then they are performance enhancing and questionable to say the least.

Do I hear Sheik Mo screaming in the background at his wife, La Presidenta?

PineTreeFarm
Nov. 20, 2009, 09:01 AM
And before you go off on the USEF permitting "stacking" NSAIDa, check out the rule change proposals for this year. From the D&M Committee: no more "stacking". Do something for the horses and express yoiur apporoval of this proposal.

tulkas

Yes, but there is also a rule change proposal that reinforces the use of 2 NSAIDS. All you have to do is report the 2nd one on the drug form. That one has the support of USHJA.

And one proposal that will allow 3 NSAIDS
"In the event that a third substance listed in (a) through (f) above is present in the same plasma or urine sample as two other substances and the quantitative amount of the third substance is less than 25% of the permissible amount defined in (a) through (f) above, the amount is considered to be below the permissible threshold level and is not considered to affect the soundness or performance
of the horse and will not be considered as a positive under this rule"

And one that would allow the following stuff to be 'legal' within limits.

(a) Procaine - 25 ng/ml urine
(b) Benzocaine - 50 ng/ml urine
(c) Mepivacaine - 10 ng/ml urine
(d) Lidocaine - 50 ng/ml urine
(e) Bupivacaine - 5 ng/ml urine
(f) Clenbuterol - 25 pg/ml serum or plasma
(g) Acepromazine - 25 ng/ml urine
(h) Promazine - 25 ng/ml urine
(i) Albuterol - 1 ng/ml urine
(j) Pyrilamine - 50 ng/ml urine
(k) Theobromine - 2000 ng/ml urine
(l) Cocaine - 300 ng/ml urine

bambam
Nov. 20, 2009, 10:46 AM
(l) Cocaine - 300 ng/ml urine
I apparently missed the memo on the therapeutic effects of cocaine (since it is an illegal narcotic, I am assuming it is a byproduct of something legit or this does not actually refer to the illegel narcotic that comes to my mind???)

As to the FEI rule- what a giant cluster

GotSpots
Nov. 20, 2009, 10:49 AM
Cocaine is (ostensibly) a contamination issue, not a health/welfare issue.

bambam
Nov. 20, 2009, 11:25 AM
Then I fail to see why any levels should be permitted since it is, oh I don't know, a CRIME to have it at all. They are tacitly acknowledging cocaine use by competitors and their staff and are arguably affirmatively condoning it by having permissible levels of contamination.
I am sure that the focus is on whether the drug is performance enhancing or not, but to have permissible levels of an illegal narcotic is, at best, wildly misguided.
Okay- sorry for the tangent

GotSpots
Nov. 20, 2009, 11:48 AM
The argument (not expressing support pro/con) is that there is sufficient trace residue of cocaine on a high percentage of paper money in circulation that even a non-user could inadvertently trigger a positive drug test in a horse if s/he handled tainted bills and then the horse. So not (in professed theory) condoning use by riders/grooms/etc.

bambam
Nov. 20, 2009, 12:56 PM
if the trace amounts on money were enough to show up in drug tests on horses whose handlers touched that money often enough that it warrants an exception in the USEF drug rules, wouldn't pretty much every person who is drug tested (for whatever reason) outside of the equestrian competition context be testing positive for cocaine ? I would be very surprised if the tests done on horses were that much more sensitive than those conducted on parolees, arrestees, certain employees, etc on a daily basis.
sorry, not buying it (and, yes, I understand GS that you not "selling" the justification :))

DMK
Nov. 20, 2009, 01:26 PM
oops, I do believe the 300ng/ml is a direct copy from the trace amounts permitted in pilots, so that certainly lends some support to the accidental contamination idea.

As for positive tests, there are reasons why you don't see many: a) you have to be tested, b) the sample has to be tested for cocaine, and c) you probably need to know the specific chemical name of metabolites of cocaine in order to determine whose name showed up in USEF for that particular positive. (hint there might be more than you think)

Now I'm not sure that 300ng/ml is the right number, but more than a few racing jurisdictions have a threshold that they apply to race horses, so that might be the better starting place. Trace levels in humans and horses may not have anything to do with weight.

Sara Lieser
Nov. 20, 2009, 03:49 PM
Our reporter just sent us a fairly comprehensive story about the debate. http://www.chronofhorse.com/article/...ei-competition

I have calls in to USEF, so we'll see how they respond!

RAyers
Nov. 20, 2009, 04:42 PM
Just to give perspective as to testing sensitivity and the insanity it presents.

A nanogram is 1/1,000,000 of a gram or about the weight of a grain of sand. Thus, the concentration of 300ng/ml is really a measure of 3 parts for every million. It is like looking for 400 very specific people in the entire US (pop of approx. 400 million) or 6 small bolts in the entire Space Shuttle, or using a telescope to see a candle in LA from New York. Seeing INDIVIDUAL atoms in a material requires only a 2,000,000 times magnification. So you can see that these measurements get into a very gray area.

Considering that most therapeutic dosages are in the order of parts per 100,000, the measurement of parts per million is beyond what is needed. In our labs we can measure things in the parts per TRILLION (3 orders of magnitude even finer). This is where drug testing has gone off the deep end. The ability to measure something so fine precludes the idea that there is any effect. There is no such thing as perfectly clear or pure. The only reason in the past we thought there was was because we could not measure it.

Sure there are compounds and such that will kill in the parts per trillion range - plutonium etc. - but most pharmaceutics have no action at that level unless used in a VERY specifically designed delivery system into the targeted tissue.

Reed

Gry2Yng
Nov. 20, 2009, 05:34 PM
Reed - I really *could* have skipped high school chemistry and gone straight to the School of Reed. (In reality, although I attended class, I did skip most of it.) Thanks, I learned something.

PhoenixFarm
Nov. 20, 2009, 06:00 PM
OK, I have a dumb question.

I'm not sure I understand why several of the countries most currently voicing loud opposition to the threshold concept/new lists, would be so, given they are countries that have consistently had big, public, embarrassing, medal-removing positive drug tests for far more complex--and IMHO, questionable--substances than things like bute and banamine.

Clearly their own people aren't in favor of/able to abide by (as defined by actions, not just words) their concept of "clean sport" so why all the hue and cry?

I get that Europeans have to deal with press on this issue to a degree we don't, but how is the press they get for losing medals when trying to find a way around zero tolerance "better" than saying, our horses are athletes and we'd like to give them an asprin?

Ireland, Germany, and England have all had "unfortuante incidents" at all the recent championships (as have we), and lost medals as a result.

I guess I'm just confused how they can claim this is a departure from the principles of clean sport, when the positive tests have been coming hard and fast for several quadrenniums now?

Now the way it's being handled? Classic FEI cluster. They can't even do the right thing right.

subk
Nov. 20, 2009, 07:33 PM
This is where drug testing has gone off the deep end. The ability to measure something so fine precludes the idea that there is any effect. There is no such thing as perfectly clear or pure. The only reason in the past we thought there was was because we could not measure it.
Thanks for explaining why I find the whole concept of "zero-tolerance" ridiculous and as always much better than I ever could have...

JER
Nov. 20, 2009, 07:59 PM
Another thing about the FEI and drug testing...

Some FEI events do urine screening only while others screen urine and blood samples.

As you can have a positive blood test but a negative urine test, shouldn't it be standardized as to what tests are required at an FEI event?

And while the FEI offers pre-competition screening to competitors, they only offer this pre-screening on a limited list of substances and only via urine testing. If they're going to offer pre-screening, shouldn't it be on everything they test for and in the form of the tests that are actually done in competition?

If they are testing blood and urine in competition and want to offer pre-screening, they should be offering pre-screening in blood and urine, on the full list of substances.

Peggy
Nov. 20, 2009, 08:20 PM
Reed's post clearly explains why low thresholds are far more appropriate than zero tolerance.

Cocaine is a very useful topical painkiller.

Sebastian
Nov. 20, 2009, 08:41 PM
OK, I have a dumb question.

I'm not sure I understand why several of the countries most currently voicing loud opposition to the threshold concept/new lists, would be so, given they are countries that have consistently had big, public, embarrassing, medal-removing positive drug tests for far more complex--and IMHO, questionable--substances than things like bute and banamine.

Clearly their own people aren't in favor of/able to abide by (as defined by actions, not just words) their concept of "clean sport" so why all the hue and cry?

I get that Europeans have to deal with press on this issue to a degree we don't, but how is the press they get for losing medals when trying to find a way around zero tolerance "better" than saying, our horses are athletes and we'd like to give them an asprin?

Ireland, Germany, and England have all had "unfortuante incidents" at all the recent championships (as have we), and lost medals as a result.

I guess I'm just confused how they can claim this is a departure from the principles of clean sport, when the positive tests have been coming hard and fast for several quadrenniums now?

Now the way it's being handled? Classic FEI cluster. They can't even do the right thing right.

Not dumb at all... I was wondering the same thing.

And Reed, thanks again for your succinct and scientific explanation of realilty.

Seb :cool:

Danny1234
Nov. 21, 2009, 03:41 PM
He. Simply because it is, of course, the ultimate declaration of bankruptcy. If you can’t prevent testing for a prohibited substance, that is prohibited for a good reason (i.e. making the lame walk again by killing the pain and therefore risking serious damages), then just make it legal. It’s like saying, okay, everyone in e.g. Cycling and Track and Field dopes, let’s just stop testing. While some think that would indeed be a good idea – it’s impossible. Why? Because it would destroy the billion-$$-Olympic-fairytale-machine: “You have to risk your health if you want to become an Olympic Champion, that's the way it is, noone forces you, take it or leave it!”, just doesn’t make well for pompous opening speeches. Same for horses. So I wonder how the IOC will take to this new rule, but sure, there’s a good chance they’ll just keep silent about it if there’s no major public uproar. However, this new FEI-rule is illegal as by national laws, in at least Sweden and Germany. So I suppose come next year’s tournaments, the media will be very interested in how the FN will manage with that. Then the animal rights people will come up, with good reason, and finally something in their hands that will easily win them every spectacular law suite. There you go, fab rule for the positive public image i.e..
If a horse is in pain, yes, make it more comfortable, give it an Aspirin, fine. And then give it a rest. Don’t take any risk then by competing at highest imaginable levels. That’s why that rule existed and it is as idealistic as it can get, sure, but as for central Europe, it’s the only way equestrian has any chance to remain (or become again) socially accepted.


Btw., I just love the 300 ng Cocaine/ml urine by contaminated money explanation. :yes: