Avoiding artificial insemination’s slippery slope

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I’ve heard most of the arguments – pro and con – on the issue of artificial insemination, and as with many contentious matters in our industry there are legitimate cases to be presented on both sides.
Having said that, however, at least in my estimation, it is welcome news that Australian Federal Court Justice Alan Robertson has dismissed the claim by Bruce McHugh against breeding authorities to overturn the ban on AI.
Thoroughbreds are about the last breed of equines to prohibit this practice. It has become commonplace in most other breeds. The American Quarter Horse Association learned several years ago that, once you start down the path toward artificial insemination, it can be a very slippery slope.
AI rules in Quarter Horses, which permit shipment of frozen semen, also allow embryo transfers. Ten years ago, a group of Quarter horse breeders challenged an AQHA rule limiting a mare to conceive just one foal per year, saying the restriction decreased the value of their bloodstock. A judge ruled in their favor, and the AQHA quickly changed the rules to allow mares to produce more than one foal per year via embryo transfer. The association also paid a financial settlement to the breeders.

I’ve heard most of the arguments – pro and con – on the issue of artificial insemination, and as with many contentious matters in our industry there are legitimate cases to be presented on both sides.

Having said that, however, at least in my estimation, it is welcome news that Australian Federal Court Justice Alan Robertson has dismissed the claim by Bruce McHugh against breeding authorities to overturn the ban on AI.

Thoroughbreds are about the last breed of equines to prohibit this practice. It has become commonplace in most other breeds. The American Quarter Horse Association learned several years ago that, once you start down the path toward artificial insemination, it can be a very slippery slope.

AI rules in Quarter Horses, which permit shipment of frozen semen, also allow embryo transfers. Ten years ago, a group of Quarter horse breeders challenged an AQHA rule limiting a mare to conceive just one foal per year, saying the restriction decreased the value of their bloodstock. A judge ruled in their favor, and the AQHA quickly changed the rules to allow mares to produce more than one foal per year via embryo transfer. The association also paid a financial settlement to the breeders.

Advocates of AI contend there is less stress and risk of injury to the stallion and mare and that the practice also reduces the possibility of an infectious disease outbreak. They also have argued that rules prohibiting AI create a financial hardship because breeders often must ship their mares long distances to stallion farms and pay boarding fees.

Opponents of AI worry a shrinking gene pool would eventually occur since there would be no limit on the number of mares a single stallion could impregnate each year using frozen semen. W.R. “Twink” Allen, a controversial equine fertility professor and AI advocate, said that argument doesn’t hold water, pointing out how some Stud Books are already flooded with dominant bloodlines, including Danehill in Australia or Sunday Silence in Japan.

When I heard Allen give a presentation on the subject before a group of South African breeders several years ago, he also said the United States Trotting Association has developed an answer to that problem for Standardbred breeding, which permits AI: limits on the book size of stallions.

But the USTA putting a cap on the book size for Standardbred stallions sounds a little bit like the AQHA limiting the number of foals a Quarter horse mare can produce via embryo transfer. Would the USTA rule, which has yet to be challenged, hold up in court?

Had the Australian judge ruled against the AI ban, one of two things could have occurred. Either Australia’s Thoroughbreds would no longer be able to compete outside of that country because of a longstanding international agreement among various breeding authorities that bans AI, or those authorities would have to back down from their position. The latter scenario seems more likely, which is why this ruling had huge ramifications well beyond Australia.

Small breeders, especially those whose mares are located far away from major breeding centers, may have benefited from a ruling that would overturn the AI ban. But, if the ruling eventually led to a change in the American Stud Book and AI became commonplace here, it would also forever change the economics of the Thoroughbred industry, especially in places like Central Kentucky and Ocala, Fla. – and not for the better. 

There would be no need to ship mares to be covered by stallions and an overall decentralization of the business would result. Boarding operations would go out of business and be turned into chicken farms or subdivisions. 

The heart and soul of the Thoroughbred breeding industry would disappear.

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  • Carriebrogden

    Agree 100%. AI should never be allowed!!!

  • Carriebrogden

    Agree 100%. AI should never be allowed!!!

  • Nucky Thompson

    Who is selecting the photos to accompany the PR articles nowadays – Salvador Dali ? This one is so surreal.

  • Nucky Thompson

    Who is selecting the photos to accompany the PR articles nowadays – Salvador Dali ? This one is so surreal.

  • Big Red

    Maybe I am missing something here (as I am not involved in this part of the business).
    The standardbreds have been doing this forever. What negative impact have they seen as a result of AI of their mares ???
    To me, AI makes perfect sense as it is a more efficient process, cheaper for the owner, and less stress on the mare? 

    • Bocephus

      AI would destroy the economics of the industry.  Simple.  Mom and Pop are barely surviving as it is, with most breeders losing money.  Who would be dumb enough to compound that problem?

      • Big Red

        Now I’m even more confused.
        If AI is a more efficient process,,,

        On the breeders side: wouldn’t the stallion owner see an immediate savings in his operation ? Couldn’t he breed his stallion to more mares ?

        On the mares owner side: wouldn’t the owner of the mare see savings in not shipping to the stallion?  Wouldn’t it be easier on the mare (it sometimes gets real ugly)

        again, it seems to be working fine in the standardbred world so why wouldn’t it work with the T-breds??

        just thinking out of the box here, no need to get upset…

        • http://twitter.com/wishgrl66 Kelly Barron

          sure, if AI was allowed, we’d get a bigger TB foal crop each year, but do we really need MORE? such a small percentage of TB foals actually become success stories at the track, while the rest struggle to find homes and careers and not end up in the slaughterhouse. AQHA doesn’t seem to care much about this, as they are officially pro-slaughter; QHs are the breed most commonly slaughtered in Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses. TBs who don’t make it on the track have a rough enough time of it…do we really need to create more of them just because science allows us to do so? 
          Economically, while a stallion owner might initially stand to profit from breeding more mares, ultimately the offsprings’ values are reduced. The Standardbred breeders have the right idea by limiting the stallions’ books, but it’s a slippery slope indeed.

        • Bhaerklaus

          You can sum it up in one word….IMPRESSIVE. Insdicriminate sipping from the genetic cup has been an unqualified disaster.  Impressive has over 100 THOUSAND living descendants, and HYPP is found only in his line.  In the old days, a stallion covered maybe 40 mates in a season…..he sired over 2,500 foals, and they all carry the potential for this holocaust.  I can’t believe AQHA ever fell for it, and is now debating CLONING.

    • Noelle

      Cheapness and efficiency make “perfect sense” at Walmart, but do you really think it’s in the interest of the sport (or the breed) to define itself by that standard?

    • RedShoesGirl

      i am not sure how having more than one foal a year, year after year is good for the mare. yes, the great zenyatta was bred back but from what i understand is she will be given a rest after she foals next year. in an industry that breeds too many foals now, making it easier to breed even more seems irresponsible. all we have to do is look at how many horses are sent to slaughter each year and that include pregnant mares and foals.

      • Barbara

        Very valuable mares are rarely given a year off unless they foal late or have health issues. This includes Zenyatta. She will foal in March and be bred back in April, if all is well, just like this year.

        It is a business. Mares can only literally produce one foal a year. Planting their embryo in other less valuable mares that carry the foal to normal 11 month gestation term is what allows a valuable mare to “have” more than one foal a year.

      • LongTimeEconomist

        USTA (harness) does not allow embryo transfer, so multiple foals per year is a non-issue. Not many years ago, USTA required mares to be impregnated on the farm where semen was collected, thus no semen by FedEx.

    • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

      “Am i missing some em here”???…Yes u are…BRAINS/COMMON SENSE…

      • Sandra Warren

        Not a very charitable reply to a person asking reasonable questions.  :(  Big Red, if you look at how the AQHA has done it, IMHO, it’s a disaster.  The big horses breed hundreds and hundreds of foals.  Genetic diversity is shrunk.  Whole lines disappear, and worse, genetic diseases run rampant through the lines that are left.  State-bred programs are destroyed.  I’m in California, and we already only have a few decent stallions here anymore.  If I could breed to a KY or a MD horse here at home, I could get some really good value for $5000.  I remember Slew City Slew stood for less than $7500 for years and years while racking up great percentages.  There are horses listed for $5000 in CA that have an AEI less than half of their mare’s CIs.  If we allowed AI, I don’t imagine there would be more than three or four stallions left in CA.  I certainly don’t want to advocate protection of lousy stallions, but there are a lot of farms and jobs, hay farmers, farriers, etc., who’ll lose jobs if they don’t bring in mares to breed.  It’s true that there might be some savings, although frankly I think costs would rise to bleed it out, but on the whole it is never a net positive for whomever tries it.

        • Big Red

          Thank you Sandra for your reply which is clear and to the point. You obviously have some experience on  this subject and the insight is appreciated.
          Too bad some others on this site are clearly morons. 

  • Big Red

    Maybe I am missing something here (as I am not involved in this part of the business).
    The standardbreds have been doing this forever. What negative impact have they seen as a result of AI of their mares ???
    To me, AI makes perfect sense as it is a more efficient process, cheaper for the owner, and less stress on the mare? 

  • Bocephus

    AI would destroy the economics of the industry.  Simple.  Mom and Pop are barely surviving as it is, with most breeders losing money.  Who would be dumb enough to compound that problem?

  • Anne Peters

    I was at a breeding conference in California about 15 years ago, and during the presentation by a geneticist from UC Davis, the question of AI was asked. She said, learning what we learned from Standardbreds and Quarter Horses, if the TB industry was ever faced with the decision, she recommended we vote NO to AI. That spoke volumes to me.

  • Anne Peters

    I was at a breeding conference in California about 15 years ago, and during the presentation by a geneticist from UC Davis, the question of AI was asked. She said, learning what we learned from Standardbreds and Quarter Horses, if the TB industry was ever faced with the decision, she recommended we vote NO to AI. That spoke volumes to me.

  • Ejb3810

    It is a subject that is controversial in more than one way, but I suspect that the negative out weighs the positive. In fact it would result in fewer stallions being used in the reproductive process and shrink the gene pool.  There is no doubt of that.
    I suspect that if you were to conduct a poll of those related to the American Quarter Horse breed that most would not wish it had been allowed.
    The Thoroughbred population is a small one, and anything that would cause even more concentration of the genes within that pool could have undesired consequence.  A select few would really benefit from this.  A small number of select sire owners, veterinarians and maybe some select mare owners?
    Do people not realize that there is tremendous variance in the performance of full siblings in the horse world? This is not some magic formula for success!

  • Ejb3810

    It is a subject that is controversial in more than one way, but I suspect that the negative out weighs the positive. In fact it would result in fewer stallions being used in the reproductive process and shrink the gene pool.  There is no doubt of that.
    I suspect that if you were to conduct a poll of those related to the American Quarter Horse breed that most would not wish it had been allowed.
    The Thoroughbred population is a small one, and anything that would cause even more concentration of the genes within that pool could have undesired consequence.  A select few would really benefit from this.  A small number of select sire owners, veterinarians and maybe some select mare owners?
    Do people not realize that there is tremendous variance in the performance of full siblings in the horse world? This is not some magic formula for success!

  • http://twitter.com/franjurga Fran Jurga

    The irony of it all: As long as breeders are thinking only of fashionable bloodlines that look good on a yearling at a sale or in a stallion ad, they are technically achieving a model of the concentrated gene pool that regulations banning AI were designed to avoid.

    Thoroughbred breeders need some incentive to diversify the gene pool (to the extent that is possible) or they will face the same genetic hiccups and short-career athletes that the AI Quarter horse has. 

    Some would say the two breeds took two roads to the result. In Quarter horses, burgeoning genetic engineering technology will attempt to fix the mistakes of previous short-sighted breeders by re-engineering flawed DNA.

    Championing AI is merely a symptom of a mindset. Breeds need to find ways to counter that mindset or they’ll end up at the same dead-end anyway.

  • http://twitter.com/franjurga Fran Jurga

    The irony of it all: As long as breeders are thinking only of fashionable bloodlines that look good on a yearling at a sale or in a stallion ad, they are technically achieving a model of the concentrated gene pool that regulations banning AI were designed to avoid.

    Thoroughbred breeders need some incentive to diversify the gene pool (to the extent that is possible) or they will face the same genetic hiccups and short-career athletes that the AI Quarter horse has. 

    Some would say the two breeds took two roads to the result. In Quarter horses, burgeoning genetic engineering technology will attempt to fix the mistakes of previous short-sighted breeders by re-engineering flawed DNA.

    Championing AI is merely a symptom of a mindset. Breeds need to find ways to counter that mindset or they’ll end up at the same dead-end anyway.

  • Noelle

    Cheapness and efficiency make “perfect sense” at Walmart, but do you really think it’s in the interest of the sport (or the breed) to define itself by that standard?

  • Watcher

    Eleven years ago I sent JC Registrar Buddy Bishop hand-written and emailed admissions from a California farm manager that she had been using A.I. with my stallion for the previous two breeding seasons.

    Bishop ignored my repeated requests for an investigation into Valley Creek Farm’s illegal practices, but after one year of haranguing him, he and sidekick Nick Nicholson finally flew to California. Their “investigation” was a sham from the beginning and I wasn’t surprised to receive a short letter from Bishop a few weeks later citing “insufficient evidence” to take action.

    Other than a video of the actual A.I. I provided them irrefutable proof that Valley Creek Farm manager Leigh Ann Howard regularly collected and artificially inseminated semen from my horse.

    Of course, it was only a coincidence that Valley Creek Farm was co-owned by two Jockey Club stewards, Tom Capehart and Jack Liebau (now head of Hollywood Park).

    The good ol’ boy system is alive and well in the Thoroughbred business–especially at The Jockey Club.

  • Barbara

    For Kentucky, AI would mean a significant reduction of the horse industry employment base, farms sold and developed, and a reduction in tourism, and the consequent tax revenue.

    For breeders (sellers), it would force lower prices since fewer colts would be in demand as stallion prospects, and for owners (buyers) it would lower incentive to participate since fewer colts would be in demand as stallion prospects.

    It wouldn’t help that many vets in KY, either, since even more mares would be long gone along with their foals, and there would be far less stallions here to collect.

  • Barbara

    For Kentucky, AI would mean a significant reduction of the horse industry employment base, farms sold and developed, and a reduction in tourism, and the consequent tax revenue.

    For breeders (sellers), it would force lower prices since fewer colts would be in demand as stallion prospects, and for owners (buyers) it would lower incentive to participate since fewer colts would be in demand as stallion prospects.

    It wouldn’t help that many vets in KY, either, since even more mares would be long gone along with their foals, and there would be far less stallions here to collect.

  • RedShoesGirl

    i am not sure how having more than one foal a year, year after year is good for the mare. yes, the great zenyatta was bred back but from what i understand is she will be given a rest after she foals next year. in an industry that breeds too many foals now, making it easier to breed even more seems irresponsible. all we have to do is look at how many horses are sent to slaughter each year and that include pregnant mares and foals.

  • Barbara

    Very valuable mares are rarely given a year off unless they foal late or have health issues. This includes Zenyatta. She will foal in March and be bred back in April, if all is well, just like this year.

    It is a business. Mares can only literally produce one foal a year. Planting their embryo in other less valuable mares that carry the foal to normal 11 month gestation term is what allows a valuable mare to “have” more than one foal a year.

  • No Moral Compass

    The heart and soul of the breeding industry is disappearing, Ray. And while the factors are many and the reasons plentiful, AI would completely kill what survives. In case no one has looked, there are hundreds of farms for sale in the bluegrass region of Kentucky. Owners of breeding mares are getting out, many by selling with low reserves at public auctions, or by giving their horses away. Still others have re-located their low end mares to farms in states who have resorted to state sponsored (and Casino fed) legal bribery to create a thoroughbred breeding industry. 
    While the current excuses advanced for the mess the industry is in ranges from a lack of slots (We’re All Going to NY!), to the evil bank who loaned me too much, the bottom line is that there is too much trading of dollars at sales and not enough actual profit for the seller/breeder/owner. While the stallion farms and sales companies don’t care how much a consignor’s clients make, the breeder/seller does. Adding AI to the mix would have allowed stallion farms to ship gallons of the sperm of mediocre and overpriced stallions all across the country, (world for that matter) and insure huge crops of talentless sons and daughters of what ever Derby winner these same farms are about to sell to Peru. There are more than enough nice looking, wonderfully natured, untalented horses, that have no future other than to wait in a field for the Mexican or Canadian meat transporter. 

  • No Moral Compass

    The heart and soul of the breeding industry is disappearing, Ray. And while the factors are many and the reasons plentiful, AI would completely kill what survives. In case no one has looked, there are hundreds of farms for sale in the bluegrass region of Kentucky. Owners of breeding mares are getting out, many by selling with low reserves at public auctions, or by giving their horses away. Still others have re-located their low end mares to farms in states who have resorted to state sponsored (and Casino fed) legal bribery to create a thoroughbred breeding industry. 
    While the current excuses advanced for the mess the industry is in ranges from a lack of slots (We’re All Going to NY!), to the evil bank who loaned me too much, the bottom line is that there is too much trading of dollars at sales and not enough actual profit for the seller/breeder/owner. While the stallion farms and sales companies don’t care how much a consignor’s clients make, the breeder/seller does. Adding AI to the mix would have allowed stallion farms to ship gallons of the sperm of mediocre and overpriced stallions all across the country, (world for that matter) and insure huge crops of talentless sons and daughters of what ever Derby winner these same farms are about to sell to Peru. There are more than enough nice looking, wonderfully natured, untalented horses, that have no future other than to wait in a field for the Mexican or Canadian meat transporter. 

  • Big Red

    Now I’m even more confused.
    If AI is a more efficient process,,,

    On the breeders side: wouldn’t the stallion owner see an immediate savings in his operation ? Couldn’t he breed his stallion to more mares ?

    On the mares owner side: wouldn’t the owner of the mare see savings in not shipping to the stallion?  Wouldn’t it be easier on the mare (it sometimes gets real ugly)

    again, it seems to be working fine in the standardbred world so why wouldn’t it work with the T-breds??

    just thinking out of the box here, no need to get upset…

  • LongTimeEconomist

    USTA (harness) does not allow embryo transfer, so multiple foals per year is a non-issue. Not many years ago, USTA required mares to be impregnated on the farm where semen was collected, thus no semen by FedEx.

  • Steve M

    The relentless breeding of stallions, some copulating 4 times per day during the season, is the next New York Times (NYT) article. The practice can be viewed as inhumane.

    AI makes contemporary sense. Safety, efficiency and biosecurity to name a few. The health and welfare of both the mare and the stallion – oh and the human caretakers. But this topic may not about the welfare of the horse or people; it seems to be more about $$.

    Breeding farms could set limits on the book of mares to help keep the gene pool diversified. The Standardbred industry has started doing this. One collection on the phantom could service 5+ mares. In the Thoroghbred world this would cut the stallion work load by enormously. 

    Years ago Thoroughbred books of 40 were typical. Today, the top stallions are breeding  (in some cases) 200-300 times from February 15th through June. Then some are sent to the Southern hemisphere for more.

    Again, like many aspects of our (wonderful) sport a well written NYT’s article could say the horse is being marginalized.

    As for breeders worried about the boarding mares and the value of their property. I empathize with this. Yet, business is a dynamic and evolving beast. Business has to adapt, become more customer service oriented, change locations, implement rules such as permitting AI ONLY on the premises of the farm where the stallion stands. Rule #1 though is to do what is best for the horse. 

    Lastly, AI is already being done in the Thoroughbred business. The Jockey Club requires that (paraphrase) the stallion penetrates the mare. After that I would imagine AI is perfectly acceptable.  

  • Steve M

    The relentless breeding of stallions, some copulating 4 times per day during the season, is the next New York Times (NYT) article. The practice can be viewed as inhumane.

    AI makes contemporary sense. Safety, efficiency and biosecurity to name a few. The health and welfare of both the mare and the stallion – oh and the human caretakers. But this topic may not about the welfare of the horse or people; it seems to be more about $$.

    Breeding farms could set limits on the book of mares to help keep the gene pool diversified. The Standardbred industry has started doing this. One collection on the phantom could service 5+ mares. In the Thoroghbred world this would cut the stallion work load by enormously. 

    Years ago Thoroughbred books of 40 were typical. Today, the top stallions are breeding  (in some cases) 200-300 times from February 15th through June. Then some are sent to the Southern hemisphere for more.

    Again, like many aspects of our (wonderful) sport a well written NYT’s article could say the horse is being marginalized.

    As for breeders worried about the boarding mares and the value of their property. I empathize with this. Yet, business is a dynamic and evolving beast. Business has to adapt, become more customer service oriented, change locations, implement rules such as permitting AI ONLY on the premises of the farm where the stallion stands. Rule #1 though is to do what is best for the horse. 

    Lastly, AI is already being done in the Thoroughbred business. The Jockey Club requires that (paraphrase) the stallion penetrates the mare. After that I would imagine AI is perfectly acceptable.  

  • Kris

    If our sport was still dominated by breeder/owners I would give supporting AI some thought, however, our sport is dominated by commercial breeders who have done racing no favors.  Imagine every horse descending from Storm Cat.  

  • Kris

    If our sport was still dominated by breeder/owners I would give supporting AI some thought, however, our sport is dominated by commercial breeders who have done racing no favors.  Imagine every horse descending from Storm Cat.  

  • Yorkknls

    Been there, done that!  We have been doing AI’s in dogs for years and guess what, nothing drastic has happaned because of it! We still have boarding facilities, the vets are still in business and we did not have a huge increase in registrations.  What people are not addressing is that it is business as usual.  The same people that are making the decisions now would continue to make the decisions.  The stud owner would still approve the breeding and the mare owner would have to decide to use that stud.  Prices for AI breedings can run a bit higher because of the paperwork required but expenses for transportation are less.  The risk of passing on a desease during breeding is greatly reduced. The stress of shipping  is deminished. Ethical breeders will still be ethical and crooks will still be crooks. If people are so worried, limit the number of registrations allowed by a stud in any given year.
    One great advantage is the ability to go back and use a stud that is clear of any problems that might have reciently shown up.  We have been able to do breedings with seman that has been frozen for 26 years and is clear for some medical issues that now plague the breed.  The bottom line is that with AI, Pulpit would not be gone forever.

  • Yorkknls

    Been there, done that!  We have been doing AI’s in dogs for years and guess what, nothing drastic has happaned because of it! We still have boarding facilities, the vets are still in business and we did not have a huge increase in registrations.  What people are not addressing is that it is business as usual.  The same people that are making the decisions now would continue to make the decisions.  The stud owner would still approve the breeding and the mare owner would have to decide to use that stud.  Prices for AI breedings can run a bit higher because of the paperwork required but expenses for transportation are less.  The risk of passing on a desease during breeding is greatly reduced. The stress of shipping  is deminished. Ethical breeders will still be ethical and crooks will still be crooks. If people are so worried, limit the number of registrations allowed by a stud in any given year.
    One great advantage is the ability to go back and use a stud that is clear of any problems that might have reciently shown up.  We have been able to do breedings with seman that has been frozen for 26 years and is clear for some medical issues that now plague the breed.  The bottom line is that with AI, Pulpit would not be gone forever.

  • Wilhelm

    That Thoroughbred registries have the right to outlaw AI is valid except that one comment by the judge – namely, that anyone is free to create a competing registry – is not accurate on its face, since most racing jurisdictions, at least in the U.S., refer to The Jockey Club by name in their statutes. In other words, to compete in the Preakness, say, a horse must be “registered as a Thoroughbred by The Jockey Club.” If The Jockey Club were willing to give up this special statutory privilege, the judge’s opinion about a competing registry would be correct. The fact is, allowing AI would have a devastating economic impact on the industry in central Kentucky by causing stallion stations to ship semen overnight rather than board thousands of mares at as much as $35/day. Three Chimney’s would not have grown to its present stature were it not for the millions in mare board adding revenue to the operation over the years. All the other arguments against AI – from the integrity of pedigrees to the concentration of bloodlines – are specious. They will continue to be heard, however, as an argument that AI would be have a disruptive economic effect doesn’t sound noble enough for this industry or breed.

  • Wilhelm

    That Thoroughbred registries have the right to outlaw AI is valid except that one comment by the judge – namely, that anyone is free to create a competing registry – is not accurate on its face, since most racing jurisdictions, at least in the U.S., refer to The Jockey Club by name in their statutes. In other words, to compete in the Preakness, say, a horse must be “registered as a Thoroughbred by The Jockey Club.” If The Jockey Club were willing to give up this special statutory privilege, the judge’s opinion about a competing registry would be correct. The fact is, allowing AI would have a devastating economic impact on the industry in central Kentucky by causing stallion stations to ship semen overnight rather than board thousands of mares at as much as $35/day. Three Chimney’s would not have grown to its present stature were it not for the millions in mare board adding revenue to the operation over the years. All the other arguments against AI – from the integrity of pedigrees to the concentration of bloodlines – are specious. They will continue to be heard, however, as an argument that AI would be have a disruptive economic effect doesn’t sound noble enough for this industry or breed.

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    SCREW ai…PERIOD…Damn glad they lost!!!…Hoo Ray for The Judge with some Brains!!!…ty…

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    SCREW ai…PERIOD…Damn glad they lost!!!…Hoo Ray for The Judge

  • http://Bellwether4u.com James Staples

    “Am i missing some em here”???…Yes u are…BRAINS/COMMON SENSE…

  • Sandra Warren

    Not a very charitable reply to a person asking reasonable questions.  :(  Big Red, if you look at how the AQHA has done it, IMHO, it’s a disaster.  The big horses breed hundreds and hundreds of foals.  Genetic diversity is shrunk.  Whole lines disappear, and worse, genetic diseases run rampant through the lines that are left.  State-bred programs are destroyed.  I’m in California, and we already only have a few decent stallions here anymore.  If I could breed to a KY or a MD horse here at home, I could get some really good value for $5000.  I remember Slew City Slew stood for less than $7500 for years and years while racking up great percentages.  There are horses listed for $5000 in CA that have an AEI less than half of their mare’s CIs.  If we allowed AI, I don’t imagine there would be more than three or four stallions left in CA.  I certainly don’t want to advocate protection of lousy stallions, but there are a lot of farms and jobs, hay farmers, farriers, etc., who’ll lose jobs if they don’t bring in mares to breed.  It’s true that there might be some savings, although frankly I think costs would rise to bleed it out, but on the whole it is never a net positive for whomever tries it.

  • Big Red

    Thank you Sandra for your reply which is clear and to the point. You obviously have some experience on  this subject and the insight is appreciated.
    Too bad some others on this site are clearly morons. 

  • http://twitter.com/chembites Joseph Franklin

    The quality of the thoroughbred breed is of no concern to the breeding industry; it will continue to breed the youngest, most fragile, pre-maturely retired bleeders that will continue this downward spiral trend.

    The standardbred industry got it right years ago by allowing artificial insemination – the breed now is much faster and stronger by far than at any time in its history – some of the sport’s male stars can even breed and race, the best of both worlds.

  • http://twitter.com/chembites Joseph Franklin

    The quality of the thoroughbred breed is of no concern to the breeding industry; it will continue to breed the youngest, most fragile, pre-maturely retired bleeders that will continue this downward spiral trend.

    The standardbred industry got it right years ago by allowing artificial insemination – the breed now is much faster and stronger by far than at any time in its history – some of the sport’s male stars can even breed and race, the best of both worlds.

  • Kim Howell (Anita Xanax)

    Can you imagine 500 Md’O's at a sale? 1k Big Browns? Three full sisters in one race bred like Rachel or Zen? No thanks…

  • Kim Howell (Anita Xanax)

    Can you imagine 500 Md’O's at a sale? 1k Big Browns? Three full sisters in one race bred like Rachel or Zen? No thanks…

  • James Staples

    TS…

  • James Staples

    The only MORON hear is u dumb dumb…

  • James Staples

    FTGOB’s…ty…

  • http://twitter.com/wishgrl66 Kelly Barron

    sure, if AI was allowed, we’d get a bigger TB foal crop each year, but do we really need MORE? such a small percentage of TB foals actually become success stories at the track, while the rest struggle to find homes and careers and not end up in the slaughterhouse. AQHA doesn’t seem to care much about this, as they are officially pro-slaughter; QHs are the breed most commonly slaughtered in Mexican and Canadian slaughterhouses. TBs who don’t make it on the track have a rough enough time of it…do we really need to create more of them just because science allows us to do so? 
    Economically, while a stallion owner might initially stand to profit from breeding more mares, ultimately the offsprings’ values are reduced. The Standardbred breeders have the right idea by limiting the stallions’ books, but it’s a slippery slope indeed.

  • Regional Breeder

    I am torn, because I don’t want to see more failed racehorses bred that end up overcrowding rescue facilities and standing in kill pens, but I would benefit, as a small breeder and stallion owner, if AI was available. 

    Major operations that insist on breeding an unproven stallion to 100-300 mares before he ever shows any ability to pass on his best genes, is one of the major factors destroying our breed and our sport.  The commerciality/high operation cost of large breeding farms demands they breed as many horses as they can get their mitts on, regardless of the negative impact when the stallion proves to be a failure, or only good for a small, regional market.  AI would likely increase the greed factor and make things worse.

    On the other hand, AI has great positive potential.  Among the possibilities:
    1) Mare owners unable to ship a mare across country/continents (either because of finances or age of the mare, time of the year, or mare’s closeness to foaling), would have access to a wider variety of bloodlines than their own regional/state stallions.

    2) The safety, health, and longevity of a valuable stallion would likely increase because the horse would not be shipped between hemispheres and wouldn’t physically (“cough cough”) have to cover 300+ mares in a season.  Less opportunity for illness or injury.

    3) Regional stallions would have access to a wider variety and potentially better class of mares than their region possesses.  This would vary the gene pool and allow the opportunity for success.

    The problem with going ahead with AI is not that it would “ruin” the gene pool, but rather that depending on common sense, self-policing, and self-limitation would never happen.  This sport has far too many commercially-minded breeders and not enough sportsmen to make this work.

  • Regional Breeder

    I am torn, because I don’t want to see more failed racehorses bred that end up overcrowding rescue facilities and standing in kill pens, but I would benefit, as a small breeder and stallion owner, if AI was available. 

    Major operations that insist on breeding an unproven stallion to 100-300 mares before he ever shows any ability to pass on his best genes, is one of the major factors destroying our breed and our sport.  The commerciality/high operation cost of large breeding farms demands they breed as many horses as they can get their mitts on, regardless of the negative impact when the stallion proves to be a failure, or only good for a small, regional market.  AI would likely increase the greed factor and make things worse.

    On the other hand, AI has great positive potential.  Among the possibilities:
    1) Mare owners unable to ship a mare across country/continents (either because of finances or age of the mare, time of the year, or mare’s closeness to foaling), would have access to a wider variety of bloodlines than their own regional/state stallions.

    2) The safety, health, and longevity of a valuable stallion would likely increase because the horse would not be shipped between hemispheres and wouldn’t physically (“cough cough”) have to cover 300+ mares in a season.  Less opportunity for illness or injury.

    3) Regional stallions would have access to a wider variety and potentially better class of mares than their region possesses.  This would vary the gene pool and allow the opportunity for success.

    The problem with going ahead with AI is not that it would “ruin” the gene pool, but rather that depending on common sense, self-policing, and self-limitation would never happen.  This sport has far too many commercially-minded breeders and not enough sportsmen to make this work.

  • Rachel

    Artificial insemination may seem like the new holy grail in preserving or strengthening Thoroughbred bloodlines, but the fact that it is artificial means it may actually achieve the exact opposite.
    With the current procedure, AI doctors have no option but to select a random spermcell from the stallion’s semen, to be injected into the mare’s egg. This random sperm is not necessarily the top performer of the bunch, as it would have to be to reach (“swim to”) the egg in a natural coupling.
    You may be breeding to the best stallion in the world, but if AI picks a bad quality spermcell from him, you can still end up with an expensive dud.
    To me AI is a gamble that’s just not worth it. I applaud the Jockey Club for insisting that in Thoroughbred breeding, nature should have the last word, and not a lab technician!

  • Rachel

    Artificial insemination may seem like the new holy grail in preserving or strengthening Thoroughbred bloodlines, but the fact that it is artificial means it may actually achieve the exact opposite.
    With the current procedure, AI doctors have no option but to select a random spermcell from the stallion’s semen, to be injected into the mare’s egg. This random sperm is not necessarily the top performer of the bunch, as it would have to be to reach (“swim to”) the egg in a natural coupling.
    You may be breeding to the best stallion in the world, but if AI picks a bad quality spermcell from him, you can still end up with an expensive dud.
    To me AI is a gamble that’s just not worth it. I applaud the Jockey Club for insisting that in Thoroughbred breeding, nature should have the last word, and not a lab technician!

  • James Staples

    FTGOB’s…ty…

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