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Leiding_2000_Prevention of Disease Transmission by the Use of Semen in the Porcine AI Industry

Leiding_2000_Prevention of Disease Transmission by the Use of Semen in the Porcine AI Industry

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Livestock Production Science 62 (2000) 221–236www.elsevier.com/locate/livprodsci
Prevention of Disease Transmission by the Use of Semen inthe Porcine AI Industry
*Claus Leiding
. 5, 91413 
 Aisch Germany
For more than 40 years the artificial insemination(AI) in pigs has been used on piglet producing farms. It has becomepredominant over natural service only in the last 20 years. Boar ejaculates can be extended on average 20 times or more. Oneboar can produce more than 2000 doses of semen annually. AI studs with more than 300 boars are therefore required tofulfill all regulations to prevent the spreading of diseases. Regulations of the Office International des Epizooties (OIE), adirective of the European Union (EU), are enforced to establish a common standard in semen production all over Europe. Inaddition, certain disease prevention programmes exist, e.g. against the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome(PRRS) or Parvo virosis.The methods of preventing the spread of diseases by AI centres are documented and valued. Both the animal hygiene andthe personal hygiene of people working with the boars are required.To a large extent the success of a prevention programme is due to the regional situation of the diseases. Only when semenproducing organisations value disease prevention methods highly in their work can infection of boars and semen doses beprevented.
2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
Insemination; pigs; transmission of diseases; prevention methods
1. Introduction
Improvement of product quality by implementingbreeding and testing programmesMore than 40 years ago the artificial insemination
Better on-farm-organisation of the breeding pro-in pigs reached a level of practicality but it has cess in comparison to natural service especiallydeveloped into the most important biotechnology in under group-housing and –weaning conditionsthe porcine industry only in the last 20 years. As in
Better hygiene of semen doses compared toother species, e.g. cattle, at least 5 advantages of natural service or self-collected semenusing AI can be mentioned:
Economical reasons, since AI boars have a betterinheritance of the relevant parameter daily gain,percentage of valuable carcass and meat/fat-rela-tion or food conversion
Better fertility, since each ejaculate is tested
0049-(0)9161-7870; fax:
mail address
leiding@bvn-online.de (C. Leiding)
before use.
0301-6226/00/$ – see front matter
2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.PII: S0301-6226(99)00159-1
Livestock Production Science
62 (2000) 221
Table 1
Similar to the cattle industry the awareness of the
The boar ejaculate
AI-biotechnology arose in the pork area when dis-
Volume: 250 ml
ease problems spread in Europe and the USA.
Density: 0,2 Mio./mmCHR.4.26;
´Classical swine fever, Aujeszkys disease, Brucellosis
Colour: white or grey
or PRRS are some of the most important threats in
pH-value: 6.8-7.4
this regard. Breeding institutions did not show much
Motility: 70% or more
favour towards AI, since the breeding farmers lived
Anomalies: 20% plus 25% plasmic droplets
very much in fear of losing markets. The breeding of boars by private farmers has lost market share in thelast years much faster than in the cattle industry, and
Table 2
this is not necessarily due to AI as the most
Calculation of semen doses per boar and year
important reason.
One boar has a potential of producing 50 billion
Piglet producing farmers were the first to use AI
sperm per ejaculate.
for economical reasons and have been the most
From one ejaculate about 20 doses of 
important clients for pig AI-organisations ever since.
semen can be produced.
On specialized farms, with sometimes thousands of 
Two ejaculates can be produced per week.
inseminations per year, special epidemical risks arise
20 doses
2 ejaculates/week 
52 weeks
2080 dosis/year.
which can be controlled best by using AI.
With 2080 doses of semen about 1000 sows
At present, although facing a long time of low
can be inseminated.
piglet or pork sales prices, the percentage of AIcompared to natural service still rises, exceeding50% in most of the countries world-wide and inmany of them more than 70%. production units collect about 100 ejaculates or moreThe basis for using AI from these huge farms per day five times a week. In case of infection thisdown to the pig-smallholder is the confidence of the will cause an immediate spreading of the disease intofarmer in buying a disease-free semen dose, which is several hundred herds.free of transmissible viruses or bacteria that couldcause economical harm to the herd. To ensure this,semen-producing organisations have to guarantee
3. Diseases (the animal factor)
certain quality criteria, which are mainly but by farnot all, related directly to the live animal as will be There are a lot of possible risks in animal pro-shown. Only organisations that follow the best duction. By far, not all of them must be consideredpossible way of production, controlled by neutral to be dangererous for pigs. In addition, only a smallauthorities if possible, can be considered as serious number of pig diseases can be spread by semen.To clearly understand the pig situation, one shouldmarket partners for the farmers.follow the systemization of the International AnimalHealth code of the OIE, which gives the fundamen-tals for all animal diseases. The most relevant parts
2. Risk analysis
under our aspects are as follows (see also Annex A:OIE Animal Health Code, 1998 edition):Before the special methods of disease prevention In parts 2 and 3 of the Code the relevant pig oror transmission are discussed, it is important to show multispecies diseases worldwide are identified. Inthe potential risk of contaminated semen in the boar. part 4 health control and hygiene principles areThe physiological potential of semen production in outlined out especially for pigs in appendix is shown in Tables 1 and 2. These show the Here we have a very good definition of what we areimportance of keeping the semen strictly free of all aiming at in our disease transmission efforts in AIrelevant transmissible diseases. Average sized semen organisations:
Livestock Production Science
62 (2000) 221
The purpose of official sanitary control of semen
4. Prevention of disease transmission in the
production is to maintain the health of animals on an
european union
AI centre at a standard which permits the internation-al distribution of semen free of specific pathogenic In a certain way, these regulations and recom-organisms which can be carried in semen and cause mendations of the OIE can be applied to any regioninfection in recipient female swine. of the world. But, as they are covering all possibleArtificial insemination centres should be officially risks, to make it more practicable for regions withapproved and under the direct supervision and specific epidemiological problems, directives can besanitary control of an official veterinarian. The laid out. For example, it is practiced in the EU-Veterinary administration is also responsible for region since the introduction of the so-called COUN-routine checks of health and welfare at least every 6 CIL DIRECTIVE of 26 June 1990 laying down themonths. Only swine associated with semen product- animal health requirements applicable to intra-Com-ion should be permitted to enter and should be munity trade and imports of semen of domesticadequately isolated from farm livestock on adjacent animals of the porcine species (90/429/EEC).land or buildings. Entry of visitors must be strictly Following an EU-directive on bovine semen andcontrolled. Personnel should be technically compe- one on bovine embryos, the pig semen directivetent and observe high standards of personal hygiene brought clarity and a high degree of comparabilityto preclude the introduction of pathogenic organisms. into a large number of the pig-semen producingProtective clothing and footwear for use only on the centres all over the EU-member countries (and to acentre should be provided. number of centres in neighbouring or trade-keepingThe entering boars must fulfill the specific require- countries).ments of the Veterinary administration. No boar with At first, only trading organisations were meant togenetic defects can be used for export. Pre-entry tests qualify as EU-recognized sites. But it turned out thatwithin 30 days of entry into isolation are required; the EU-recognition is such a quality label, thatthe isolation period being as long as 30 days before nowadays more or less all seriously producingre-testing. The standards of testing are given in the organisations aim at gaining this qualification. AsOIE-code. After successful completion and in clini- this EU-regulation is the standard for the biggestcal health, boars can enter the programme piglet-producing area in the world, the regulationsTesting programme: The tests cover a minimal will be discussed in more detail as follows. For arange of diseases of which the routine tests have to better understanding the whole EU-directive is addedbe applied at regular intervals to confirm the con- as an Annex.tinued freedom from disease of the stud. Claims of For the EU the reason to introduce such a directivecountry freedom from some viral and bacterial was the existence of a certain risk of the spread oinfections of swine may be given consideration transmissible diseases in the trade of semen. Inprovided that serological survey data and epi- addition, the Community policy of harmonizingdemiological investigation back such claims. AI national animal health provisions governing intra-centres may be required by theVeterinary administra- Community trade in animals and animal productstion to include other diseases in their prophylactic required the creation of such a system for the porcineprogramme, either through vaccination or by requir- semen trade.ing negative results to serological tests. In principle, the Member States where the semenImporting countries may require assurance of is collected have the obligation to ensure that suchfreedom from other diseases based on negative semen has been collected and processed at approvedserology or other tests. Bilateral agreements are to be and supervised collection centres. Semen must beapplied in this case. Where a disease is covered by a obtained from animals whose health status is such asChapter of the OIE-code, the testing requirements of to ensure that the risk of spread of animal disease isthe respective disease of this Chapter should be eliminated. In addition, semen must be collected,followed. processed, stored and transported in accordance with

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