Artificial Insemination & Semen Transportation
Successful Animal Husbandry Elements in Standardbred Breeding
Australian
Harness
Racing
Council Inc

  
1.  AHRC Working Party:

   

Semen Transportation, Embryo Transfer, In Vitro, Genetic Engineering

Back to Index of Supporting Papers

 
Minutes

ST91001

A meeting of the Working Party above was held in Melbourne on February 5, 1991.

ST91002

Present: Judge AJ Goran, BD Rose, MO Humphries, J Tremellen, Dr P Huntington, Dr I Gunn, R King, R Stedman, G McDonald, KJ Dyer.

SUBMISSIONS (2)


SEMEN TRANSPORTION

ST91003

Submissions 1-31 were perused and examined. On balance there was a majority of submissions in favour. Those in favour were mainly Studmaster organisations and Veterinarians plus a sprinkling of breeders.

ST91004

Opposing the introduction of Semen Transportation were most (not all) of the Breeders Associations and a number of individual breeders. Included in this group were a number of organisations and breeders who recognised the inevitability of Semen Transportation but nevertheless whilst opposing the proposition there were a number of issues on which they could be satisfied if Semen Transportation was to be introduced.

ST91005

The Working Party noted that Canada and several European countries permitted Semen Transportation but this did not have any great influence in their discussions.

ST91006

The Working Party travelled to all States and the meetings were well advertised and in addition notices were sent to individual participants.

Findings

ST91007

1.

Reduces the risk of travel injury for mares and foals travelling to Stud Farms.

ST91008

2.

An injured mare, or a mare with an injured foal, and unable to travel would lose a season.

ST91009

3.

Mares and foals would be better cared on their owners properties than at far distant Stud Farms.

ST91010

4.

Mares and foals remaining on their owners properties would remain disease free in event of disease break out on Stud Farms (i.e. Strangles; EHV; CEM; EVA)

ST91011

5.

Breeders in isolated areas would have access to better genetic material even within their own State (i.e. King Island to mainland Tasmania; Townsville/Cairns to South Eastern Queensland).

ST91012

6.

Breeders could select stallions on genetic merit.

ST91013

7.

Breeders would not be limited by geographic location.

ST91014

8.

It would be encouragement for or it would stimulate new owners in isolated areas to enter the sport as breeders if there was easy access to good genetic material.

ST91015

9.

The Standardbred in general would be wholly improved by easier access to better genetic material.

ST91016

10.

There would be cost savings to the broodmare owner (i.e. travel, agistment) offset by cost of veterinary service and freight.

ST91017

11.

Studmasters, in the event of disease breakout on their farms (developing into quarantine) would not suffer as much financial loss if semen could be transported off the property.

ST91018

12.

With fewer visiting mares on a Stud Farm there would be a workload reduction and cost savings through employment of less staff and less capital outlay for property, fencing, maintenance etc.

ST91019

13.

Studmasters of stallions with less than full books may be the chief beneficiary, as those stallions with full books probably would not be used to a great extent in a Semen Transportation program where depending on the stallion the fertility may decline.

 

(Note: At the time a stallion could only serve a limited number of mares per season).

ST91020

14.

Semen Transportation may hasten the advent of stallion stations and/or insemination stations.

ST91021

15.

Insemination stations would help reduce costs to breeders.

ST91022

16.

Established Stud Farms might offer a service to inseminate mares with semen from distant studs and whilst this might diminish the travel injury/disease theory it would mean that mares would not have to travel as far.

ST91023

17.

Studmasters may require additional training, as may broodmare owners.

ST91024

18.

Transported semen procedures are already in existence in Australia in other horse codes.

ST91025

19.

Cooled or chilled semen can be satisfactorily transported over long distances for most stallions.

ST91026

20.

Courier systems are available that permit same day impregnation.

ST91027

21.

Technology has advanced to a stage where Semen Transportation percentages are about the same as normal Stud Farm service.

ST91028

22.

There are already containers in existence, which adequately transport semen.

ST91029

23.

Bloodtyping (or DNA fingerprinting) of mares and foals would guarantee the integrity of bloodlines and the Stud Book.

Factors, which tend to work against the implementation of Semen Transportation:

ST91030

24.

There would be higher costs for the whole industry if Semen Transportation is implemented by reason all mares and foals would have to be bloodtyped.

ST91031

25.

The costs saved by mares remaining on their owners properties may be more than offset by increased costs relating to additional veterinarian fees and freight costs.

ST91032

26.

Not enough research has been carried out to establish costs.

ST91033

27.

Broodmare owners may need upgraded facilities (i.e. a crush etc.)

ST91034

28.

The insemination more than likely would have to be carried out by a Veterinary Surgeon as a mandatory procedure.

ST91035

29.

Fertility of stallions may decrease if Semen Transportation not properly synchronised.

ST91036

30.

Studmasters will lose control when semen leaves Stallion Farm.

ST91037

31.

The breeding industry in some States may suffer if Semen Transportation is implemented. This would be particularly so in Western Australia where there is no Sires Stakes program to encourage broodmare owners to breed to local sires.

   

(Note: The latter situation has changed)

ST91038

32.

The conditions of Sires Stakes programs, which are in existence, would need to be reviewed to carefully establish which foals would be eligible for each States Sires Stakes programs. There would be anomalies.

ST91039

33.

The purity of bloodlines would be endangered if bloodtyping not introduced at same time as Semen Transportation.

ST91040

34.

Current legislation may prevent implementation in some States.

ST91041

35.

A great number of breeders are opposed.

ST91042

36.

The current economic downturn in rural areas and in the cities is working against introduction of an innovation which whilst it may be beneficial the higher costs may escalate a further downturn in the breeding industry.

Conclusions

ST91043

1.

The technical aspects of Semen Transportation are well known and professional equipment and service is available.

ST91044

2.

The advantages of reducing travel, injury and disease, and better home care would be of great benefit to breeders.

ST91045

3.

Access to better genetic material would lift the whole breeding industry.

ST91046

4.

The Studmaster would benefit by less ongoing and capital costs.

ST91047

5.

Semen Transportation would dramatically reduce the current spread of disease.

ST91048

6.

Bloodtyping (or DNA fingerprinting) would be essential to guarantee purity of bloodlines.

ST91049

7.

For those that use Semen Transportation there may be some savings depending on circumstances.

ST91050

8.

The benefits may be both economic or intangible for the broodmare owners.

ST91051

9.

Whilst there is some call for frozen semen the great majority of submissions only support transport of fresh or chilled semen.

ST91052

10.

There is opposition to Semen Transportation on the grounds of higher costs to the industry and its affect on Sires Stakes.

ST91053

11.

Higher costs in some areas would be mitigated by savings. The greater cost of bloodtyping would be an extra additional cost to be borne by the whole industry rather than those using Semen Transportation.

ST91054

12.

Isolated areas (i.e. Western Australia) may suffer if breeders use other States stallions to a large extent, particularly if no home Sires Stakes program (i.e. Western Australia) is available to encourage broodmare owners to breed to local sires.

 

(Note: ST91037, 31)

ST91055

13.

Sires Stakes programs and conditions may have to be amended to protect other States breeding industries.

Initial Recommendations:

ST91056

 

ST91057

 

The main objections were identified as:

ST91058

1.

The prospective higher costs for the breeding industry as a whole. It was recognised that the higher cost of veterinary treatment on the broodmare owners farm plus freight for transport of semen would be offset by less transport and agistment costs. However, the cost of bloodtyping ($80) per mare plus $80 each foal would be an additional cost irrespective that the bloodtyping procedure would tend to support the integrity of bloodlines and the Stud Book.

   

(Note: The current 2002/2003 DNA Program in each State significantly reduces the sample costs above).

ST91059

2.

In Western Australia the lack of a Sires Stakes program would, in the event of implementation of Semen Transportation, tend to encourage breeders to breed to Eastern States stallions to the detriment of the local breeding industry.

 

(Note: ST91037, 31)

ST91060

3.

There is a considerable body of opinion against Semen Transportation and whilst there is room to believe that the fears of these objectors could be allayed more work is needed to be done to identify the problem areas.

ST91061

4.

Sires Stakes programs and conditions need to be reviewed.

Final Recommendations

It was unanimously resolved:

ST91062

That the Working Party reconvene in February 1992, and that by 1st December 1991 each Member of Council examines the issues and costs within its own State.

ST91063

That each Member of Council investigates

-

Whether bloodtyping or DNA fingerprinting should be in place before the introduction of Semen Transportation.

-

Local costs of bloodtyping procedures and freight charges.

-

Whether any State legislation affects implementation of Semen Transportation particularly the insemination of a mare away from regulated premises

-

What measures are necessary to police, regulate, and control a transportation system.

-

Who are the persons responsible for efficient control of insemination?

-

The possible areas of malpractice and measures that could be taken for prevention.

-

Whether Semen Transportation should be limited to an intrastate application only rather than across State borders, and whether such limitation would be against Section 92.

-

Whether there would be any corruption of existing Sires Stakes programs.

-

The affect of Semen Transportation on the export of Australian horses to North America.
 

EMBRYO TRANSFER

ST91064

The submissions in this area of inquiry were infrequent and what there were tended to favour the implementation of Embryo Transfer subject to stringent conditions. The technical aspects are now well travelled and the Working Party has no fears of problems in this area.

ST91065

It was moved and seconded that the Working Party accepts the concept of Embryo Transfer in principle subject to:

-

No current race mares in the program

-

Donor mare to be approved in advance by Controlling Body on independent veterinary advice.

-

One foal per mare per season.

-

Recipient mare to be standardbred.

-

Resultant foal to be parentage verified.

-

Veterinarians carrying out Embryo Transfer procedures must be licensed or approved to do so.

-

Freezing of embryos to be prohibited.

-

Sexing and splitting to be prohibited.

-

Clarification of breeding agreement.

-

Transport of semen to be permitted in this instance.

-

Satisfactory registration fees to be agreed upon.

-

Reference to New Zealand rules.

Carried 6/1

ST91066

Resolved further that the AHRC decides a further course of action as to adoption of rules and implementation.

Carried.

IN VITRO GENETIC ENGINEERING

ST91067

There was a total lack of knowledge by Studmasters and Breeders of these subjects.

ST91068

Dr McKinnon advised in his verbal submission that despite years of experimentation there was only one known foal born In Vitro, whilst Genetic Engineering was still in experimental stages.

ST91069

Resolved that the Committee is not in favour of registration of In Vitro or Genetically Engineered foals and that the Stud Book rules be amended to prohibited registration of such foals.

Carried.

AUSTRALIAN STUD BOOK REGULATIONS
Semen Transportation & Embryo Transfer Progeny

ST91070

Currently, the Stud Book Regulations prevent the registration in Australia of foals bred by Embryo Transfer and Semen Transportation procedures.

(Note: This has now been changed)

ST91071

The Working Party notes that Canada and a growing larger number of European countries permit registration of Semen Transportation conceived foals and in some cases also permit registration of Embryo Transfer progeny under restrictive conditions (i.e. New Zealand and others).

ST91072

It is believed that as technology advances it will become almost impossible and impracticable to police the condition methods relating to the foaling of sires and mares and foals arriving from Canada and elsewhere.

ST91073

The Working Party draws attention to the recommendations of the World Conference of 1985 and 1987 whereby the minutes record the view that "the true pedigree was more important than the method by which the foal had been bred".

ST91074

The Working Party endorses this view and recommends that the Australian Stud Book Regulations be amended to permit the registration of all foreign bred horses irrespective of how they were conceived provided such horses are registered with the Controlling Trotting Authority of the country they were exported from, that they are standardbred or equivalent, and have been parentage verified by bloodtyping or DNA fingerprinting.

 

 

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