Cryoport Systems recently interviewed Dr. Colin Anderson from Masterson Farms, LLC, one of our highly valued animal breeding clients. Dr. Anderson is an attending veterinarian and oversees the equine reproductive lab at Masterson Farms. We take a deep dive in conversations around the equine breeding industry, the challenges of moving genetic materials internationally, as well as Dr. Anderson’s experience working with Cryoport.
Can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your background?
Anderson: I received my veterinary degree from The University of Tennessee in 2005. I began my career in private practice at the Equine Medical Center of Ocala in Florida where I primarily worked in the field of equine reproduction and was introduced to equine cryogenic techniques and the import/export of animal genetic material. Although I am not a board certified theriogenologist, I have worked primarily in the field of large animal reproduction for the past 15 years as a large animal veterinarian and a resident veterinarian for Masterson Farms, a quarter horse breeding and training operation just outside of Memphis, TN. Throughout my career I have continued my education and training in equine reproduction through contacts with the Equine Reproductive Laboratories at Texas A&M and Colorado State University. I have also worked temporarily as a USDA veterinary medical officer inspecting international shipments of animal genetic material being imported into the U.S. from around the world.
Tell our readers more about Masterson Farms and what you do. What do you personally enjoy most about working for Masterson Farms?
Anderson: Masterson Farms is a unique farm in Somerville, Tennessee dedicated to breeding, raising, and developing the finest show horses. The owners of the farm, Ken and Marilyn Masterson, have always been passionate about breeding American Quarter Horses. As the attending veterinarian, I am responsible for the collection and processing of both cooled and frozen semen collection onsite in our laboratory. We regularly ship equine semen all over the U.S. and Canada as well as internationally. Masterson Farms is a certified equine semen collection center for Australia as well as the European Union.
Some of the highlights of my career with Masterson Farms includes a visit to New Zealand to examine a stallion that was an offspring of the farm through the export of frozen semen as well as breeding and raising several AQHA world champions as well as a two-time AQHA Super horse.
We imagine moving these genetic materials has its complexities. To help educate others in the industry, what are some best practices when shipping these types of materials?
Anderson: Before starting the freezing process, it is vital to find a Certified Semen Collection Center and contact both your local USDA accredited veterinarian and your USDA Veterinary medical officer to be sure that all diagnostic testing, quarantine and necessary documents are completed properly. If you are shipping internationally, it would be ideal to also contact a broker or agent in that respective country as they will help you understand the requirements and what you need to do. Missing one step or detail can affect the whole process. These are just a couple of critical contacts to reach out to before getting started to ship these types of materials.
What are some specific challenges faced with international regulations for importing/exporting genetic materials?
Anderson: Since frozen semen is considered live animals by most countries’ standards, it is important to contact your local USDA Veterinary Medical Officer as they are responsible for providing the most up-to-date regulations. Regulatory compliance requirements are typically updated every 3-5 years. However, unforeseen animal disease outbreaks or changes to trade policy can occur at any time.
Describe your experience working with Cryoport.
Anderson: We had a high value shipment of about 500 straws of equine germplasm that needed to be moved from the US to Europe earlier this year. The total economic value of marketable semen in the shipment exceeded $150,000, so knowing our genetics were safe during transit was a top priority. I initially submitted a quote on Cryoport’s website and moments later, I was on a call with Tony Thomas, the Executive Director of Business Development in Animal Health. We sorted through what I needed and how Cryoport could support the shipment. I was impressed by Cryoport’s excellent customer service, detailed logistics coordination and monitoring capabilities including Cryoportal® and Live View™ that had the ability to track the temperature of the semen at all times, leaving me confident and assured during shipment transit. The 24/7/365 client support team was very helpful every step of the way especially being able to provide after business hours support, making the process very smooth and professional. Masterson Farms works hard to provide superior customer service to our clients. We look for the same approach in the companies we partner with. Cryoport offers superior service, and I would highly recommend Cryoport to others.