WPCS Stud Book Integrity
At its meeting in May 2014, Council considered and discussed means of ensuring the accuracy and integrity of its stud book in the light of modern technology for verifying parentage, whilst acting as a responsible Passport Issuing Organisation (PIO).
A number of other equine societies have opted for full parentage verification of every foal as a condition of registration, which involves DNA profiling of both parents and the foal.
However, Council was of the opinion that, in the current economic climate and state of the market, this would be too great a financial burden for breeders. They felt that it was unnecessary to verify every foal – although the possibility of being able to do so would be an asset to both breeders and purchasers and would greatly assist in international trade and confidence in our pedigrees.
Accordingly, Council passed the following change to the rules for registration to take effect for the registration of pure-bred foals in section A, B, C & D of the stud book from 1st January 2016:
It is a condition of the registration of foals, which are the first pure-bred progeny of the dam to be applied for, that the dam be DNA profiled and that profile will be held on record by the Animal Health Trust (AHT) in the same manner as it does currently for our licensed stallions.
The effect of this is that over the next 20 years or so a complete bank of DNA profiles of the entire breeding herd will be established and maintained within the WPCS Stud Book. This would allow anyone in the future wishing to fully verify the parentage of any pure-bred animal the opportunity of doing so for a fee set by the Society.
Whilst Council appreciates that there is an initial cost of profiling and banking the DNA of these mares (currently £48.00 but going up to £50.00 from 1st April 2015), this will be a one-off cost for each mare that will eventually be spread over all the purebred foals that a mare produces. The alternative system, adopted by other societies, is to DNA every registered foal, which would prove much more costly to breeders.
Consequently, only females entering the pure-bred breeding herd from 2016 onwards will be required to be DNA profiled rather than all females producing their next pure-bred foal, which Council thought would prove a prohibitive cost for many breeders at this time.
DNA kits (exactly as currently used for stallion licensing) are available from the Society and the hair samples required should be taken by a qualified veterinary surgeon who can verify the identity of the mare, either by scanning the microchip implant or, in the case of older mares, by reference to the markings in their passport. To again assist with costs, this could be done at the same time as the foal to be registered is micro-chipped.
While the DNA bank is being built up, the Society has opted to double the number of random parentage testing of foals from that of every 600th application received to every 300th. Also, when licensing stallions, the Society now has the AHT to verify that the DNA of the stallion being licensed is compatible with the DNA of its registered sire held in the bank.
The rules regarding challenges to registered parentage remain the same. These require that the person making the challenge puts down a deposit of £200.00 with the Society, which will either be forfeited if the registered pedigree is proved correct, or refunded in the event of the registered pedigree being proved wrong. This sum may be reduced when the DNA of the registered dam is included in the DNA bank at the AHT.