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Q: The recent falling out between a stud and its agent has left breeders who bought semen for artificial insemination (AI) from the agent in the lurch. Can broodmare owners protect against such commercial disputes?
CA, Devon

The dispute between a Belgian stud and its France-based British agent has left breeders who bought semen from the agent with difficulties obtaining covering certificates, passports and branding (news, 19 February). H&H asked several breeding experts for their advice to worried broodmare owners.

The Defra-approved Glenwood Stud in Northumberland imports semen from various EU states. Co-proprietor Valerie Williams believes there are many reputable semen agents available.

“However, things can go wrong,” she said. “We have encountered problems such as semen being sent from Germany by road, instead of air, and semen that has been verbally guaranteed to be sent with the necessary health certificates, when there were none available. Broodmare owners should do their homework and should also talk to the stud working with their broodmare.”

Jonathan Pett of Trojan Stud in Carmarthenshire said: “We use a couple of different semen agent and deal with some studs directly,” he explained. “We use agent for most of our imported semen purely for ease — one agent will have several studs on their books, and will sort out all the paperwork.”

Carol Brown of Gloucestershire-based semen importers, Equine AI, recommends using well-established agents who could: “Provide information on a range of stallions and their semen quality, arrange importation, ensure the required health papers accompany the semen, notify Defra, and track the delivery,” she said.

“Another option is to choose a semen agent who provides all of this, plus an artificial insemination centre — the complete package.”

David Ashby of sport horse insurers Amlin Plus believes there is no cover available to insure against a semen agent severing ties with a stud.

“However, anyone can take out prospective foal insurance from 42 days post-covering — or artificial insemination — or 60 days post-embryo transfer on a foetus,” he said.

Information

Amlin Plus, tel: 020 7423 0920 www.amlinplus.co.uk

Equine AI/Willesley Equine Clinic, tel: 01666 881026 www.equineai.co.uk

Glenwood Stud, tel: 01661 886453 www.glenwoodstud.co.uk

Trojan Stud, tel: 01267 275 676 www.trojanequine.com

This Q&A was first published in Horse & Hound (12 March, ’09)

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