RBST - Update to Breeding During Covid-19 Pandemic

Native Equine Breeding Advice: COVID-19

Rare Breeds Survival Trust, Stoneleigh Park, Nr. Kenilworth, Warwickshire CV8 2LG
Tel: 024 7669 6551 | email: enquiries@rbst.org.uk | website:www.rbst.org.uk
Patron: His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales KG KT GCB
Registered Charity No. 269442. Company Limited by Guarantee, Registered in England No. 1204694

Advice to Breeders and Breed Societies (15th April 2020)

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust recognises the extraordinary nature of current events, and the priority of maintaining and ensuring the safety of its members, volunteers, associates and the general public.

As such, RBST has closely followed Government advice and instructions when considering its approaches to the breeding of native equines, first of all ensuring all public health legislation is adhered to, as well as the context of the critically endangered status of some of our equine breeds.

Recent Government guidance on social distancing in the workplace gives examples of how social distancing and other measures might be implemented by employers in England to help protect their workforce1. As an example of specific and relevant guidance, the Thoroughbred Association (TBA) have developed detailed protocols and guidelines in order to maintain their essential equine breeding activities.

The RBST suggests that Breed Societies representing native equines consider guidance and protocols such as that from the TBA and others1,2,3, as well as their activities in the context of their necessity for the future development and survival of the breeds. Seasonal breeding in mares on average begins on the 7th April in the Northern Hemisphere, therefore the activities of Breed Society members should be in the context that the equine breeding season can run from April to September.
RBST believes that through adhering to the stringent guidance and protocols, travel and activities that are absolutely necessary for the breeding of native equines may be able to continue. Such protocols must be stringent, detail best practice, and scrupulous records should be kept.

At this time, if you cannot follow all of these protocols, you should not be moving and transporting native horses for breeding, or requesting veterinary involvement. Public health and NHS resources are the priority.
Advice on moving forward?

The RBST advises that during the controls for COVID - 19 that Breed Societies for critically endangered native equines consider developing stringent protocols and associated documents (as examples those developed by trade associations1,2) and thoroughly assess the delivery of breeding strategies that are absolutely necessary to undertake, on a case by case basis.

The 2020-21 RBST Watchlist4 was published on 8th April and provides information on the critically endangered native equines breeds. If native equines breeds wish to obtain further advice on breeding strategies please contact the RBST Head of Conservation, Prof. Philippe Wilson [PhilippeWilson@rbst.org.uk]

1 https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance
2 https://www.thetba.co.uk/corona-virus-latest-information-and-guidance/
3 https://www.rcvs.org.uk/setting-standards/advice-and-guidance/coronavirus-covid-19/
4 https://www.rbst.org.uk/watchlist-overview

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