The Responsibility of the Breeder

ParagraphenFor quite some years, genetic tests for congenital diseases such as Cerebellar Abiotrophy (CA) and Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) are available. Much educational work was undertaken, to explain the inheritance of this trait to the breeders and to give advise on how to avoid an affected foal. Also thanks to these genetic tests, the witch hunt of carriers has stopped, because today, everybody can test any potential breeding animal for its carrier status, and with this information can search for the right partner. And in case a stallion owner does not give this information, you are well advised to keep your hands off this stallion – or rather his owner.
However, despite all these efforts, there are still people (and I don’t want to call them “breeders”, as they are quite obviously don’t deserve that name), who by negligence or quite consciously mate two carrier animals with each other, taking the risk that with a probability of 25% the foal may be affected. Even worse, there is a case where an affected CA-mare, with a genetic status of CA/CA, was used for breeding and was mated with a CA-carrier stallion, increasing the probability for the foal to be affected to 50%!
The Arab Horse Society of Germany does not see any way, at present, to punish such violations of ethics and morality, common sense and the Animal Welfare Act, because their rules and regulations do not provide for it. A change of these rules is therefore urgently needed.
What is incomprehensible, however, is the trivialization with which the association reacts to the detection of a total of 27 foals in six breeding years, that were born form matings of “Carrier x Carrier”. Such “risk matings” would have to be condemned in the strongest terms, if legally no sanctions can be pronounced. Instead it has been said that “The mating of carriers has been reduced over the years.” In clear numbers that means, of eight foals born in 2010, the numbers went down to six in 2016, but all in all the numbers of such matings remained more or less the same since 2012, and one breeder stands out particularly negative with 13 risk matings in six breeding years.
By breeding a faol, the breeder takes the responsibility for a life. This responsibility starts already when planning the mating, and therefore, it is the damn duty of every breeder to be scientifically up to date, to consider test results in his breeding plan, so that diseases like CA or SCID do not claim unnecessary victims.
Gudrun Waiditschka