- The registration of animals maintains the interest in specific breeds, and also leads to a pursuit of excellence – i.e. to get top performance from the animal. There is a vast difference between performances of the two groups within most breeds where registered animals outperform non-registered animals. There is also a vast price difference between them. The breed is thus promoted, and the breeder obtains maximum return on his investment.
- The first objective of the registration of animals is a guarantee to the buyer that the particular animal is authentic in terms of breed, breeding, breeder, performance, breeding values etc. Other objectives include breed improvement and limiting of inbreeding. The farmer who breeds with unregistered animals of a particular breed is not regarded as a bona fide breeder but as a commercial one.
- The breeders’ societies are a vital part of organised agriculture.
- Registered animals around the world are also known as seedstock-, stud-, pedigree- and pure-bred animals. With the infrastructure breed societies have, it is easy and straightforward to register animals.
Artificial insemination (AI) is the placement of sperm into a female reproductive tract by other than natural means. The use of AI is a very cost effective way to speed up genetic improvement because it allows the use of superior male animals to be propagated very easily and quickly.
Cloning uses specialised DNA technology to produce multiple, exact copies of a single animal. The first calf was cloned in South Africa in 2003. It is envisaged that cloning will become a cost effective way to speed up genetic improvement as exact replicas of superior animals can be produced.
Embryo transfer is the process of removing embryos from a superior cow and placing them in a surrogate cow where they develop into a calf. Like AI, embryo transfer is a very cost effective way to speed up genetic improvement. In this instance the genetics of a superior female animal can be propagated.
In Genomics, hereditary characteristics are passed down through DNA, the “blueprint” of the organism. Genomics is a branch of genetics which deals specifically with the sequence of chemical bases in DNA. Genomics complements existing technologies like performance testing, and will accelerate genetic improvement.
Laparoscopic-assisted artificial insemination is when, simultaneously to AI, gas is inserted to assist insemination.
Performance recording entails the measuring of traits that affects the profitability of the animal and ultimately the breed. Different breeds measure different attributes based on what is considered important to that breed. Members of cattle breed societies usually measure attributes such as reproduction, growth, carcass and functional efficiency. Merino breeders would for example measure additional traits such as fibre diameter and fleece weight.
2. Breeds and breeder societies
A Breeders’ Society may be formed if members of a particular breed wish to form such a society. The application forms can be obtained from the registrar at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry & Fisheries (DAFF). Breeders' Societies exist for most breeds of animals. The objectives of most societies are to:
- promote and develop their breed;
- offer various services to their members;
- improve the national herd in the country.
The Animal Improvement Act of 1998 allows societies to issue their own registration certificates if they so wish. These societies act as their own registering authorities. The SA Stud Book is a registration authority providing registration and secretarial services on behalf of many different breed societies. BREEDPLAN fulfils a similar function.
Registration certificates certify that an animal is a “stud” animal and is issued on behalf of the Breeders’ Society. These certificates are intended to be a guarantee that the animal has met certain requirements as laid down by the society and registering authority.
A list of registered Breeders' Societies with their contact details is given under relevant headings later in this chapter. Lists may also be found at the following websites: www.sastudbook.co.za and www.agribsa.co.za.
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