The manual, "Preservation of Rare Horse Breeds Equine Genetics in Live Animals and Post-Mortem," was created as an educational resource for owners and veterinarians on how properly to collect vital tissues in ways that minimize loss and preserve significant genetic material for conservation. The manual is available for free to download on the TLC’s website at https://livestockconservancy.org/.
In addition to the efforts of the TLC to educate the horse owning public, biotechnological companies have highlighted advances in cell collection, storage, embryo flushes, implantation, and even cloning.
The future of “resurrecting“ lost breeds may be possible and even cost effective due to the technological strides being made.
The industry would benefit from the availability of secure “banks” for stallion semen or somatic cell materials for preserving the future of important bloodlines.
The first step taken includes the recent approval to have additional material preserved within the repository of the National Animal Germplasm Program at the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service.
This program already has shown the value of re-introducing previously “lost” genetics into livestock species, and those stories can be found on the USDA’s website at https://www.ars.usda.gov/.
The health of the equine industry is tied directly to the health of the animals and the diverse uses of those animals. The genetic health of an animal has a direct correlation to its usability and the financial opportunities open to that animal’s owner as well as all generations to follow.
While we may not know the ultimate value of a specific group of animals to the overall health and future of the industry, we do have the technology to protect them and thus ourselves.
Article by Cliff Williamson, cwilliamson@horsecouncil .org202-296-4031 American Horse CouncilWashington, D .C . provided by Equine Disease Quarterly - Diane Furry, Gluck Equine Research Center