Do you want a say-so in what the United States government is doing that concerns horses? I’m talking about the issue of allowing equine semen into this country with even less testing than presently is required. Horse breeders know that semen can carry a lot more than the hopes of the next generation. Viruses, bacteria, and a host of other contaminants happily can travel along with the semen. Cooling and freezing are great ways to prolong the life of sperm and keep them viable. Guess what? It works the same way for all those “bad guys” that come with the sperm!

The USDA is proposing to eliminate import requirements for mule semen from anywhere in the world and for equine semen from Canada. “We believe these changes are warranted because these imports pose no threat of introducing diseases to U.S. livestock,” said Alfonso Torres, deputy administrator of the veterinary services program of the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), a part of the USDA.

(To be on the same page as the government, realize that mules are hybrids that cannot reproduce. This doesn’t mean a Mammoth jack in another country could have semen shipped in without testing. That jack is classified as an ass.)

The Canadians de-regulated our semen a couple of years ago, and our government wants to reciprocate. The feeling is that the Canadian import regulations on semen are “close enough” to ours that we won’t be opening ourselves up for any more problems than we do under our own regulations.

This new proposal is unacceptable for several reasons, including the following:

1) There are number of pathogens that can be spread via the venereal route. Those confirmed to be transmitted by stallions are mostly bacterial—Streptococcus zooepidemicus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Taylorella equigenitalis (the causative agent of contagious equine metritis), and <