Open Letter to the WBFSH : For Good Practices of Managing Genetics!

GFE (France), Semilly (France), Paul Schockemohle Hengsthaltung (Germany), Team Nijhof (The Netherlands), VDL Stud (The Netherlands), Joop van Uytert (The Netherlands), Blue Hors (Denmark), Helgstrand Dressage (Denmark), Keros (Belgium), Zangersheide (Belgium) and Lovsta (Sweden) have written an open letter to the World Breeding Federation for Sport Horses (WBFSH) about the management challenges concerning the stallion frozen semen market.

The globalization and international traffic and sale of fresh and frozen semen and of embryos and ICSI-embryos require the urgent attention of the World Breeding Federation. The national and international traffic has become so complex that mare owners and stallion owners face the problems of the traceability of genetic material of their stallions and mares. The fraud with fresh and frozen semen and stolen embryos is most likely to get out of control if no rules are set up under the supervision of the WBFSH. To be perfectly honest, it already is out of control.
Urgent action is requested from the World Breeding Federation to have an international database where all studbooks will report the coverings registered for each stallion and each mare. These data should be viewable by everyone registered as its already the case in some countries. This is the only effective way to trace the horses’ offspring worldwide, and to benefit from an honest and transparent registration of coverings and embryos that have been duly paid for. We are fully aware of the WBFSH Board’s willingness not to interfere with the business between stallion owners and mare owners. However, our branch urgently needs regulation, supervised by the WBFSH!
Stallion owners are the first link in the breeding chain, along with breeders; they invest in young stallions, new genetics, and contribute to the genetic progress and breeding programs of Stud Books by promoting stallions approved in those Stud Books. This is also why they are prepared to encourage breeders to register foals in Stud Books that guarantee good practices in terms of traceability and transparency of semen/genetic material. Even if a solid contract is signed at the sale of semen (or oocyte or embryo), this does not exclude a subsequent control in good cooperation with the WBFSH and Stud Books. In the context of the new zootechnical regulation, the covering certificate and zootechnical certificate must be clearly refined to allow breeders to register their foals with the approval of the genetics owners.
Therefore we, as stallion owners, agent, breeding centres and breeders in Europe, ask for your urgent cooperation on this matter. These processes will help facilitate the management of semen and oocytes and enable the fair, ethical and transparent production of foals. Our urgent request to the WBFSH is, to open a database/platform with Unique Life Numbers (UELN) so every studbook worldwide must go into this to register their foals. This will avoid double registrations and will give a total resume of all the foals registered per stallion by any studbook per year. The FEI must then use this data base to add all sport results per horse per unique life number.