Research suggests equine mating practices contribute to foal deaths

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Research suggests equine mating practices contribute to foal deaths

Horse insurance policyholders have been told that a common horse mating practice in the Czech Republic could be contributing to cases of foetal death and infanticide among equine groups. reported that a study published in the Springer journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology looked at how the method of away-mating – where a mare is taken from its domestic group to mate in a non-familiar environment – affects the behaviour of the pregnant animal.

After being inseminated, researchers found that the mare will either be promiscuous with familiar males on return to its home environment or abort the foal, in order to avoid the dominant male killing the baby at birth.

The authors of the study commented: "The phenomenon shown in this study may explain the high incidence of domestic horse foetal loss [in the Czech Republic]."

This could have implications for mating practices in the UK, as it is suggested that mating in the home environment will improve the chances of survival for a foal.

March 30th 2011

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