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Groundbreaking Survival Effort By Cleveland Bay Horse Society

IN a groundbreaking effort to ensure the survival of the Cleveland Bay, a unique initiative has been launched by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) and the breed society.

Semen is to be collected from a carefully selected cross section of Cleveland Bay stallions and then frozen to assist with the survival and growth of the breed.

The 10-year programme will see the Cleveland Bay Breed Society working in conjunction with the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) to ensure that stallions submitted represent the broadest genetic diversity in the live population.

All stallions will need to be registered and have an accurate minimum three-generation pedigree.

Charles Medforth, President of the Cleveland Bay Horse Society said: "We are delighted to be working with the RBST and feel very fortunate to have their technical expertise to help us with the survival of the breed."

The RBST National ReGENEration Appeal has been set up in direct response to the FMD outbreak. Although horses and ponies were not susceptible, the devastating effects of the 2001 epidemic highlighted the need for adequate reserves of genetic reserves for all species and breeds listed by the RBST.

Currently the RBST has no equine genetic material in store and funds have been made available to start collecting semen this year. The long term aim is to collect semen from 25 stallions from each of the equine breeds currently listed by the Trust.

The RBST has enrolled two studs where each stallion, which has been approved by the Trust, will stay for four weeks during which time semen will be evaluated and collected. They are Twemlows Hall (Genus Equine) in Shropshire and West Kington Stallion Stud in Wiltshire.

Owners will be asked to make their stallions on a no cost basis and the semen collected will be divided into three different portions:

" 55% will go into a National Archive stored by the RBST
" 30% will be stored for use in Conservation Breeding Programmes
" 15% will be stored by the RBST but belongs to the owner of the stallion at the time semen is donated to the project.

For more information on the Cleveland Bay Horse Society, contact Chris Ogilvie on 01904 489731.

For more information on the Rare Breeds National ReGENEration Appeal, contact Susie Craddock, projects manager on 024 7669 6551.

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