News GB Thoroughbred DNA Samples 2020

GB Thoroughbred DNA Samples 2020


Following discussions with the Animal Health Trust, Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association and Weatherbys, the decision has been taken to move the processing of all British Thoroughbred DNA samples to Weatherbys Scientific’s laboratory in Ireland for the remainder of the 2020 breeding season.

This decision has been made as a result of the AHT being unable to give assurances around the processing of samples at this critical time for breeders when certainty around service supply is vital. April and May are months which see the greatest volume of sample receipt and to delay a decision regarding sample processing could have a detrimental impact on registration, passport production, horse identification and even trade.

This arrangement will be reviewed at the end of the year. Consideration at that stage will be given to a number of factors alongside consultation with the Animal Health Trust and TBA.

Veterinary practices have been advised of the change in procedure around sample processing which will see them sending samples to Weatherbys Wellingborough office rather than the AHT.

Weatherbys will be responsible for ensuring delivery of samples to the Weatherbys Scientific laboratory.

By way of some background - Weatherbys Scientific Laboratory has provided animal parentage testing services since 1985 and in 1998, introduced DNA technology which superseded blood-typing and provided further opportunities to confirm pedigrees of other animal species such as cattle, sheep, dogs and cats. The Laboratory now completes over 50,000 parentage verification tests per annum across the equine, bovine, canine and ovine species. This includes all Irish bred Thoroughbreds.

Weatherbys Scientific is recognised by the International Society for Animal Genetics (ISAG) as one of the leading laboratories in the world in pedigree verification and currently holds ISAG Rank One status in equine, bovine, canine and dromedary species. 

TBA Chairman Julian Richmond-Watson said: "We have worked with the AHT for many years but it has become apparent in the past few weeks that there is uncertainty over their ability to continue to process DNA samples.

“British breeders need their foals to be registered and the respective passports issued without delay. There are many early foals that need to be sampled and microchipped as soon as possible, for health, welfare and traceability reasons. Breeders should liaise with their veterinary surgeons regarding this work.

“We are therefore pleased that through working with Weatherbys we have been able to redirect samples via Weatherbys to their laboratory in Ireland. The laboratory is starting with samples that have already been taken but are also ready for fresh samples.

“We have been assured of the integrity and the ability of this laboratory to process our samples and so I would like to thank Weatherbys for facilitating this process."

Weatherbys Chief Executive Russell Ferris said: “The AHT’s relationship with Weatherbys goes back very many years and they have provided both us and thoroughbred breeders with an outstanding level of service when processing DNA samples for foal registration. However, our first priority has to be around the needs of thoroughbred breeders and ensuring that they are looked after at this the busiest time of year for foaling and the registration of foals. The processing of DNA samples is a central part of the registration procedure and having confidence around this element of work is critical at a time when there is already so much uncertainty.”