The American Wagyu Association (AWA) sent a memo last week to its membership announcing findings relating to a set 0f recessive genetic conditions in Japanese Black Wagyu cattle – and a series of new policies designed to identify and to eventually eliminate the defective genes. Needless to say, this announcement has brought forth questions and concerns amongst the membership. While genetic conditions are common in all breeds of cattle and, once identified, are simple to test, manage, and eventually minimize, it is understandable to initially feel concern.
At Lone Mountain we have a strong belief in the power of information, and we have gone extra lengths in a number of ways to get and share all the knowledge we can about the science regarding this remarkable breed. As always, the key to success with news of this nature is knowledge. To that end, we want to share the information we have accumulated over the past few weeks about recessive genetic conditions in the Black Wagyu population.
LMR has compiled a very simple, informative Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on the subject. It clearly explains genetic disorders, how to test for them, and how to virtually breed them out of existence with minimal stress on the producer.
Of immediate concern to Lone Mountain and our customers: how does this affect our upcoming sale?
Needless to say, the timing is inopportune. As news regarding the testing of Recessive Genetic Conditions rolls out, we are faced with a dilemma about our April 17th sale. The good news is that the DNA testing program that the AWA has contracted to develop with iGenix will successfully manage and eliminate the disorder. The bad news is that the results will not be available for several months. So, the simple question becomes: should Lone Mountain cancel the April 17th sale?
We have made two important decisions.
First and foremost, we have decided to go forward with the sale and to provide an absolute guarantee to buyers: if any purchased animals are identified as Carriers after the sale, buyers will be given the option of a full refund or their choice of a replacement animal of similar quality that has been tested and identified as Free.
Secondly, in order to alleviate any concerns, we have scratched from the sale all lots that have already been identified as having suspected carriers in their pedigree.
At Lone Mountain we feel that it is important to do whatever we can to dispel any undue concern about these conditions.
Foremost, none of these Recessive Genetic Conditions has any affect whatsoever on the health or quality of Wagyu beef.
Further, many breeds before us have successfully dealt with Recessive Genetic Conditions. The fact of the matter is that Wagyu breeders have not had any tests available until now, nor were experiencing any indications that would cause concern. Now that the test is imminent, we will simply have more information available and protocols in place which will be able to dissipate any conditions which are uncovered.
Further, we are convinced that the numbers of Carriers will prove to be minimal. This is a controllable situation. Our breed is the finest quality cattle in the world. We are confident and assured that we will continue to reap the long-term rewards of being involved with Wagyu.
Moving forward with our sale as planned, is the best way to prove to the Wagyu community that this is a manageable bump on the road to success.