Insemination - Things you should Know
Surgeon scanning the ovaries to predict optimum time of
Although some people, who are not vets, have been
artificialy inseminating their mares for some years, it has
been illegal to do so. As a result of recent legislation lay
persons who have been trained at approved training establishments
for AI, will be provided with an exemption certificate which
will allow them to carry out the artificial insemination of
mares. DEFRA who have been responsible for this legislation,
are expected to crack down on those people who continue to
carry out the procedure without the approved training.
The Order which came into force on the 6th July
2004 is called:
"The Veterinary Surgery (Artificial Insemination of Mares)
does it say and mean? The announcement about the order was
accompanied by the following:
(This note is not part of the Order)
Order specifies the artificial insemination of mares as a
minor treatment, test or operation to which the prohibition
of the practice of veterinary surgery by persons other than
veterinary surgeons in section 19(1) of the Veterinary Surgeons
Act 1966 does not apply.
effect of this Order is to allow such persons who are aged
18 years or more to carry out the artificial insemination
of mares if they (i) are undergoing supervised training on
an approved course in the artificial insemination of mares,
or (ii) hold a certificate of exemption.
1 and 2 contain introductory provisions. Article 3 specifies
the exemption that is to apply. Article 4 sets out the criteria
for qualification as a qualified inseminator. Article 5 relates
to the issue of certificates of exemption by the Secretary
of State. Article 6 relates to the suspension and revocation
of certificates of exemption.
Primarily the legislation is an animal welfare issue
in that inseminating a mare is what is known as an “invasive
procedure” and if not done to high standards infection
may be introduced and even worse injury to the mare. The practical
advantages of using trained technicians to do this work are
much more far reaching:
Conception rates are likely to be better.
The training includes semen assessment using a microscope.
There are three main factors which contribute to why a mare
does not conceive following artificial insemination:
• The mare.
• The operative.
• The semen.
It is this third problem which is usually blamed since in
most cases the operative can blame someone who isn’t
there! With good semen assessment techniques the semen quality
is known at the point of collection and at the time of insemination.
Provided correct procedures are followed the risk of transmitting
sexual diseases is virtually eliminated.
One argument against AI in equines has always been the risk
of pirate inseminators splitting semen doses and using half
in a mare for which no stud fee has been paid to the owner
of the stallion. There have even been accusations in the past
of cases of inseminators deliberately inseminating the wrong
mare, and using semen from a lesser stallion in the mare that
it was intended for. Regulation and registration should rule
out the pirate operators.
have approved four establishments at which training may be
carried out and leading to a Certificate of Competence which
is then sent to DEFRA who will issue a Certificate of Exemption
which makes it legal for that person to carry out AI in equines.
technician inseminating mare"
four approved training establishments are:
• The Equine Fertility Unit, Merton Paddocks,
Wooditton Road, Newmarket, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 9BH 01638
• Warwickshire College, Moreton Morrell, Warwickshire
CV35 9BL 01926 318 333
• Willesley Equine Clinic, Byams Farm, Willesley, Tetbury,
Gloucestershire GL8 8QU 01666 880 501
• Twemlows Hall Stud, Whitchurch, Shropshire SY13 2EZ
01948 664 966
the approval system was set up three years ago in order to
prepare the industry for this legislation only Wellesley and
Twemlows Hall have been running courses.