Biosecurity Protocols

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Collection of semen

1. When collecting semen, the stallion handler, the person in charge of collecting from the stallion and anyone else in the area (for example someone holding a teaser mare) should be suitably clothed including secure shoes/boots, a hard hat, back protector and clothes that cover the arms and the legs. Footwear must be readily disinfected.

2. Stallions must have proof of negative testing for infectious disease (CEM, EVA and EIA) according to the HBLB Codes of Practice prior to 86 mounting the phantom mare. If semen is to be exported, you must ensure that you are aware of and conform to the import requirements for the countries concerned with respect to collection facilities and health testing.

3. Stallions should demonstrate that they have no evidence of clinical disease prior to collection.

4. The entire phantom mare and surrounding collection area, including the floor area, must have the ability to be fully disinfected between stallions. The dummy must be disinfected between stallions.

5. A clean, sterilised artificial vagina (AV) should be used for each collection. Ideally, each stallion should have its own AV and lubricant. Separate AVs should be used for collection of semen for UK distribution and for collection for EU/worldwide export. See British Equine Veterinary Association Guide to the use of Artificial Insemination in Horse Breeding for more details (

6. Clean, sterilised collection jars should be used during each collection process.

7. DEFRA has a list of minimum requirements for DEFRA approved semen collection centres. This status is essential if semen is to be collected for export from the UK. Information on EU trade is at:


Semen handling


1. Semen should be handled carefully to reduce external contamination.

2. Gloves, and clean clothing/lab coat should be worn when handling semen.

3. Extenders added to semen should be from a reputable manufacturer and should be used within the ‘use by’ date of the product.

4. Semen extender ingredients must comply with international regulations if semen is to be shipped internationally.

5. If semen is to be shipped outside the UK, then a separate handling area and a separate AV preparation/cleaning area to the main collection area is required and these areas must be in separate air spaces.


Semen processing

1. All equipment used in the processing of semen must be easily cleaned and disinfected between semen samples to prevent lateral spread of disease.

2. All stored samples or samples for transport must be sealed in a manner, which will prevent contamination and spillage.

3. Processing of all semen samples must be documented and such documents must be included in all transported samples.

4. A log of semen processing, storage and transport should be kept to ensure quality control.

5. Semen for export must not be processed in the same laboratory at the same time that non-export semen is being processed and must be processed prior to non export semen.

6. For international export, all stored semen must comply with the import regulations of the country of destination and original health papers must accompany the shipment.

7. Semen stored for export must be stored in a separate room to that being stored for UK distribution.



Preparation of mares

1. Every mare should be tested for CEMO according to the recommendations of the HBLB Code of Practice before being inseminated.

2. It is recommended that mare and stud owners familiarise themselves with the HBLB Codes for EVA and EIA and discuss any testing requirements with their veterinary surgeon.

3. The mare must be well restrained, preferably in stocks.

4. The vulva and perineum should be thoroughly cleaned to prevent contamination and the tail bandaged.

5. All relevant paperwork of semen to be checked including ORIGINAL health papers if from outside the UK.

6. All semen samples must have proof of negative testing for infectious disease according to the HBLB Codes of Practice as a minimum requirement.


Insemination of mares

1. Use sterile/unused disposable rectal gloves to reduce contamination.

2. When handling semen, be careful not to contaminate hands or facilities with semen.

3. If using frozen semen, care should be used when handling liquid nitrogen. Gloves and eye protection should always be worn when handling liquid nitrogen, as well as a long sleeve top to protect arms.

4. Keep all containers upright to avoid spillage.

5. Wear gloves and use appropriate forceps to handle frozen semen straws. 

6. Use fresh water in clean receptacle to thaw straws.

7. Use clean paper towel to dry straws and minimise risk of contamination. All equipment should be cleaned and disinfected or disposed of after each use.