Born for Their Coat
by Corali on November 1, 2017 - 9:19pm
Born for Their Coat
Mostly everyone knows that animal like horses are bred for their capacity. It also knows that pets like dogs and cats can be raise for their physical appearance. But what people don’t know is that horse are also breed for the look of their coat. On horsetalk.co.nz, a website about horse issue, an article about breeding horse consequence had been published on July 4, 2017. It is named “The perils of breeding horses for color”. In this article, we learn that breeding horses without taking time to consider all possibility can be dangerous for them. This capability of forecast and prevent the color of the foal is due to advancements in equine genetic during lasts years. Breeders can do DNA test that targets color genes and gives the possible color pattern of the foal. If these tests are not appropriately use because of the coat color obsession, the foal can inherit of a disease. It is rare, but there is some genetically color pattern that came with a harmful effect on their health. For example, the Overo Lethal White Foal Syndrome (OLWFS) usually comes when a horse has an overo pattern that is when the horse has big parts of his body that are white but his legs are usually darker. You can see this website for further information about horse coat pattern. So, when the baby horse born with this syndrome it’s because both parents have the gene even if it’s inactive. The disease is marked by a completely white coat and is lethal, the foal can die in one day! If it survives, it will probably carry an “intestinal abnormalities that prevent the passage of food (due to a lack of important structures called “enteric ganglia”)”. There are also others fur color gene that can be harmful like the silver dilution that can causes eyes malformation. Finally, if breeders are aware of possible consequences of breeding certain horse coat pattern and use certifies test to prevent the, there is no health reason for them to stop.
This academic article can be useful to see the ethical aspect of the question that was not covered in the news article shown above. It talks about the debate on genetic engineering and explores “the merits of nature or nurture”. It also relates the history of horse breeding and how it was used to serve human interests.To have more information about the origin and the use of breed horses can help us understand the situation and don’t judge too quickly the equestrian industry of breeding.