Testing for Equine Diseases and Ownership of a Test Mare

Interesting fact: apparently Iceland prohibits importation of foreign horses, or the return of exported horses

I read this story yesterday (which I found on the blog If Wishes Were Horses, always an interesting read!); there is a text and video story about a particular mare.  
In quick summary, according to the article, when non-U.S. stallions are brought to the country they are tested for Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) by being bred to healthy mares.  The mares conceive, the embryo is deliberately aborted, and if the mare contracts the disease then it is known that the stallion is infected and it cannot be used for U.S. breeding.
One of these "test mares" was discarded from the testing center and was bound for slaughter; a rescue organization saved her from a kill pen, and through the organization's facebook page, the original owner identified her mare (6 years later) and the two were reunited!

The story gave rise to a number of legal implications, the two I want to address in following blog posts are:
1. While in this case it is a rescue who purchased the mare, if it were a private party, would you have to give the horse back to the original owner?
2. The legality of the method of testing

Do you have any particular insights (or questions) into either of these issues? 


~Allison said...

That is seriously how they test for STDs? They can't do a blood test on the stallion? Seems that would be much simpler and they would not have to abort a fetus or infect another horse to find out!

Do you happen to know if bacterial equine STDs respond to treatment?

Corinna said...

It certainly seems odd to me too, I'm hoping to have a veterinarian guest post a response to some of our questions on this... will update soon. Corinna

Sonya said...

This is very scary! I will be asking my vet when I see him again!

Wolfie said...

WTH??? I am shocked. I can't believe this is how horses are tested for STDs. I am with Allison....why are they doing a simple blood test prior to allowing the stallion to enter the country? The horse has to have proof of vaccinations, etc., so adding this to the list would not be out of line.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I didn't know they did this either. It seems stupid to me but then again a lot of things seem stupid to me. I can't believe they would send the mare to a kill pen, I'm happy she was rescued.

Corinna said...

I plan to have a more thorough blog post soon on the method of testing stallions for diseases, but if you want to get a head start on the information, follow this link for UC Davis' quarantine information for imported stallions: http://www.vetmed.ucdavis.edu/ceh/docs/special/pubs-GlobalHealth-sec.pdf

panic attack said...

Nice article and i want to know more on this blog.

Lynne Ryder said...

How could they tolerate this kind of wicked things? I really hate it when man’s diseases where tried on animals. If I was not mistaken, there’s a law regarding this issue. Wasting the lives of performance horses, that’s the worst thing I heard this day.