A LEARNING CURVE
July 5, 2017
A LEARNING CURVE
‘At the most recent meetings of the regions and Member Council we have come to an interim definition about how to deal with hereditary defects in our breeding. The decision means that all animals used for breeding will be tested so that risky matches can be ruled out altogether’, KFPS Director Ids Hellinga states in his initial remark in his column of the July issue of Phryso.
‘This implies the following: all active Studbook stallions as well as all broodmares. The question that should probably be asked is why this decision wasn´t taken at the outset in 2009 because in 2009, well before the test became available, mandatory testing of newly-approved stallions was integrated in the Stallion Inspection Regulations. However, even when looking back I think that this step-by-step process of decision making was the best way.
The past eight years have been a valuable, if not essential learning process. A learning process that has made it possible to establish an equilibrium regarding the correct division of responsibility between breeders and stallion keepers, but also a process that has enabled both parties to find out what importance to attach to the phenomenon of carrier status. In 2009 breeders and stallion keepers still used to think in terms of ‘we versus they’ if decisions had to be taken about who and what to test.
Last spring we managed to come to a solid consensus regarding shared responsibility and even more importantly, over time a much more adult approach to the issue of carrier status has emerged. End the end of the previous century the introduction of a test for the rather innocent aspect of chestnut factor triggered an almost zero demand for stud services from stallions that had been tested positive. These days stallions with carrier status are rated at their true value and no longer ignored because of just one unfavourable gene out of a pool of 22,000. This is the outcome of the realisation that this issue should not primarily centre around the prevention of carrier status but instead on ruling out risky matches.
Wouldn’t it be great if we manage to take forward this exact learning process? After all, for many people the process of choosing a stallion still comes down to deleting stallions on the basis of a list of unfavourable characteristics. And on various occasions before we have maintained at this very place that this means many stallions are referred to back-seat positions which in actual fact puts a restraint on breeding. Stallion selection should always be about weighing up the pros and cons. A never-ending learning curve!’
As posted in the July KFPS Newsletter