Embryo Transfer – A Shadowy Market Ripe for Exploitation

Pregnant mare. Google search result credited to Thinkstock.

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We’ve known for many years that farm animals have been exploited to produce more meat, milk, wool etc. Embryo transfer in horses is another technology that is unrivalled for its inefficiency and costliness. There’s also some evidence that embryo transfer (ET) is exploitative because it can be painful, requiring analgesics. We recently read about the cast-off recipient mares (the “gestational” carriers that give birth to foals of a different mare/stallion) from the Arnold Reproduction Center who were consigned to the Kaufman kill pen/kill buyer Mike McBarron for eventual slaughter.

Once exposed on social media platforms, veterinarian Leea Arnold responded:

“I recently sent some mares to the Cleburne Horse Sale. I certainly never intended for them to end up in the slaughter pen. Many of these mares came to me through the sale barn system, were sick, completely unbroken and certainly destined for slaughter at that time (15 or so years ago). As long as these mares are reproductively sound, they stay in my herd – many probably longer than they are useful. My staff and I have taken the time, money, and resources we have to help these mares become useful and give them a viable purpose.

“I will use another avenue to re-home these mares in the future. If you are a non-profit organization and have your 501(c)3 at hand, I would be more than happy to donate any older or reproductively unsound recipients to your facilities as they become available.”

Dr. Arnold did not otherwise offer to help the animals that were scheduled to be sent for slaughter.

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Google search result crediting Thinkstock.

Rolling Stones wife withdraws horses from troubled Polish stud farm

Cross-posted from The Telegraph

The future of one of Europe’s oldest stud farms has a cloud hanging over it after political rows and the death of prized horses left the reputation of the 199-year-old institution battered.

Horses from Poland’s Janow Podlaski stud can sell for hundreds of thousands of pounds but the recent scandals have prompted one high-profile owner to pull her horses out and there are fears other might follow suit.

Charlie Watts and his wife Shirley at the National Arab Horse Society in Malvern in 1998 CREDIT: JEREMY WILLIAMS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK
Charlie Watts and his wife Shirley at the National Arab Horse Society in Malvern in 1998 CREDIT: JEREMY WILLIAMS/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK

Earlier this week, Shirley Watts, the wife of Charlie Watts, the Rolling Stones drummer, withdrew her horses from the stud after two of her mares, with a combined value of £460,000, died in rapid succession.

The deaths of the horses came just weeks after the Polish government sacked the management board of the state-owned stud and fired Marek Trela, the director who had been at Janow for 38 years, replacing him with a man who, by his own admission, knows little about horses.

The appointment of Marek Skomorowski, an economist by profession, raised eyebrows in Poland’s horse world, and prompted allegations that the government was putting its people in positions of authority in order to cement its hold on power regardless of their competencies.

The government has, however, initiated a criminal investigation into the deaths of Mrs Watts’ horses.

In a statement Mr Jurgiel said that to have two horses die so suddenly gave “reasonable grounds for suspicion” that the deaths were the “intentional acts of third parties”. Continue reading »

FEATURED IMAGE: Preparations are made for the transport of the mares owned by Shirley Watts CREDIT: EPA.

Lawsuit over quarter horse’s clone may redefine animal breeding

Los Angeles Times »

Three identical horses. by Pixgood.com.
Three identical horses, possible with today’s science of cloning. But is it a good thing considering the rampant overbreeding done in the natural way, not taking into account of course frozen semen and no live cover already allowed by the AQHA. Image by Pixgood.com.

Texas horse breeder Jason Abraham and veterinarian Gregg Veneklasen sued the American Quarter Horse Assn., claiming that Lynx Melody Too should be allowed to register as an official quarter horse.

A Texas jury decided in their favor in 2013, but a three-judge panel of the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that ruling in January, saying there was “insufficient” evidence of wrongdoing by the association.

Abraham and Veneklasen are now seeking a rehearing before the full 15-judge circuit panel.

The suit is among the first to deal with the status of clones in breeding and competition, and its outcome could impact a number of fields, including thoroughbred horse racing and dog breeding.

The quarter horse association is adamant that clones and their offspring have no place in its registry.

“It’s what AQHA was founded on — tracking and preserving the pedigrees of these American quarter horses,” said Tom Persechino, executive director of marketing for the association. “When a person buys an American quarter horse, they want to know that my quarter horse has the blood of these horses running through it, not copies of it.”

But Abraham and Veneklasen say that cloning follows a long tradition of using the latest technology to improve and maintain the breed.

First Clone to Clone Foal.
First clone to clone foal. When is a horse truly a horse with this type of madness is going on. Picture attributed by Google to hoofease.com.

Cloning “is nothing more than an assisted reproductive technique, similar to in vitro fertilization and artificial insemination,” the plaintiffs wrote in their suit. “A clone is simply the genetic twin of the original animal separated in time.”

Ever since Dolly the sheep was cloned in 1996 in Scotland, the use of clones as food, resurrected pets or competitive animals has been hotly discussed. Continue reading at the LA Times »

Low cost gelding clinic coming to Fallon, Nevada Nov 24, 25

Stabled Horse. NERN.


Stabled Horse. NERN.
NERN’s flagship program was created to help economically challenged horse owners castrate their colts and stallions at a minimum cost, and to decrease equine breeding at a time when there is an over abundance of horses in the United States.

A low cost gelding clinic will be held at Snow Livestock & Grain in Fallon, NV on Saturday, Nov 24th and Sunday, Nov 25th. Private horse owners in need of this service are invited to participate in this event that is co-hosted by National Equine Resource Network (NERN) and R-VETS.

The cost to horse owners who bring their horses to the clinic will be only $75, compared to an average veterinary fee of approximately $150-300. The clinic will also take a limited number of cryptorchids and hernias, for an additional fee.

Dr. Eric Davis, DVM of R-VETS, is volunteering his services to NERN and the community, stressing the importance of reducing the future equine population in the face of the nation’s ongoing economic woes.

In 2011, NERN ran a pilot program for low-cost clinics in California, gelding a total of 92 horses, in eight separate locations around the state. This year, they have already held a total of 16 clinics, and castrated an additional 204 stallions.

Shirley Puga, NERN’s Executive Director, said her organization’s goal for 2012 was to provide low cost castration for 250 or more colts/stallions in a series of gelding clinics. “At a time when many horse owners are struggling just to feed their animals, we felt that providing financial assistance in this area would be one of the most important contributions we could make, not only for existing horses, but for the future” she said.

NERN-sponsored gelding clinics have been held throughout California, and a two day clinic was recently held in Washington State. Soon Nevada will be added to the list. At the request of horse rescues, vets and/or horse owners that have learned of this service, other western states such as OR, AZ, and TX are under consideration.

To participate in the Fallon gelding clinic, area horse owners can contact NERN at nationalequine@gmail.com or (760) 419-2462. For more information on the gelding program, or to donate, please go to www.nationalequine.org.

Source: Press Release