Thursday, July 03, 2008

Let's clarify a few things

Over the past few days I have thanked quite a few people for their
support. I wish they would have posted their support on the blog, but
oh well. I'm still grateful for it. What surprised me is that only one
IAGARB member bothered to tell me they thought what went on at the
annual meeting was wrong. I have not heard from any other members
of IAGARB, even those whom I contacted directly and asked for their
input, have been dead silent. So I can only assume either they're too
embarrassed to respond, or they're OK with it. If so, they must be
terribly misinformed, and from the correspondence I posted
previously, it's pretty obvious *who* is spreading the disinformation.
Even the information from Rich Gehr was slanted, because obviously
from the answers, the wrong questions were asked. Not because the
questioner had an ulterior motive but because she had the wrong

I was reluctant to address this, because certain people will take this
post as proof positive that they were right, but I feel it necessary to
present the facts, and then I will tell you what I have been doing
these past several years.

So let's start with a history of how the Giant Angora came into being.
The animals approved by ARBA were not purebred Germans, but German
hybrids. Why? Well, because the animals originally presented to ARBA as
"Commercial Angora (German Type)" were purebred Germans, but they were
small, and could easily be confused with English Angoras. Instead of
training judges to determine the difference, ARBA asked Louise Walsh to
improve on the size and change the name. So, she bred in colored French
Lops and Flemish Giants and the resulting hybrids passed the ARBA

Now ARBA does not judge genotype, or the actual genetic code of an
animal, it judge phenotype, or what the rabbit looks like. So, people
who did not have access to Louise's bloodlines went ahead and
registered purebred Germans who fit the standard as Giants. So yes,
Virginia, Germans have been registered as Giants practically from Day
One. And there wasn't a darn thing wrong with it. ARBA did not say Giants
had to have French Lop and Flemish Giant bloodlines in them, they just
had to fit the standard. If you have 3 generations of animals bred to
the ARBA standard for that breed, you can register them as such. So if
you start out with Germans, regardless if they are domestic or
imported, after you have 3 generations of animals that you (or others)
have bred to the Giant standard, you can register them as Giants.
Now Leslie and I had this conversation at Rhinebeck last Fall. We also
discussed my compromise on the tattoo method, and she understood
perfectly that:

1) I wanted it for the purpose of clarity on ARBA SHOW TABLES because
they don't care.

2) I am using my Germans to improve my Giants. I have only ever
registered one Giant, and that was a doe I bought, and who had 2
registered Giant Angora parents. I am not interested in registering
Germans as Giants.

So this is why I was shocked to read what I did in the latest issue of
the IAGARB Newsletter. Mind you, I'd been warned about Leslie, but I
didn't think she had the cahunas to misrepresent my proposal so
blatantly. I wish I had had the finances to attend the annual meeting
and present my proposal myself, if I had, I think it would have gone
quite differently. The Standards Committee still might have reached the
same decision, but at least they would have reached it based on fact
and not fiction.

Now, about my goal to have the first Giant registered with IAGARB.
That's right, my goal is to have the first GIANT registered with
IAGARB, NOT to have the first GERMAN registered with ARBA. And Leslie
knows this, because I distinctly told her I have bought several
bona-fide Giants from several reputable breeders, Louise Walsh being
among them, and bred German into those lines, for the sole purpose of
deflecting any arguments that my Giants aren't truly Giants. But I
digress. I do indeed have purebred Germans, and they have been, so far,
my best performers on the show table and in the nestbox. But I believe
that will change VERY soon. I have some very promising GIANT babies,
some of which will be hitting the show tables this Fall. I have three
distinct bloodlines in my herd right now, one of them pure Giant, one
of them pure German, and one Giant/German hybrids. The Giant/German
hybrids will be registered as Giants as soon as the recognizable German
names are off the pedigree PER ARBA RULES. It is this bloodline from
which I hope to produce a Giant which passes IAGARB's stringent
registration test.

While I'm clarifying things, there is something else I addressed in
this blog once before, and I'll address it again just so there is no
confusion. Contrary to statement made to some people by someone I used
to think was a friend, I have NEVER, EVER falsified a pedigree, or sold
a Giant as a German, or sold a German as a Giant. I have always FULLY
DISCLOSED German heritage in my animals. Ask anyone who has bought
animals from me. There's quite a few, in fact if any of you who have
bought animals from me would chime in with comments, I'd really
appreciate it. Not only have I never falsified a pedigree, I've never
gotten into trouble for it, either, with ANYONE.

I have said in the past, and I'll say it again, if someone buys an
animal *I bred*, and they want to use that animal to improve their
Giants, yes I will, *if asked* provide a pedigree that says that animal
is a Giant Angora, even if the animal is a German or a German hybrid.
How can I do that and not be misrepresenting the animal? Simple,
remember where I referred to ARBA registration policy, "If you have 3
generations of animals bred to the ARBA standard for that breed, you
can register them as such". As long as that animal is bred to the ARBA
registered with ARBA.

Got that?

In addition, *if* I were to use the IAGARB method of tattooing, it
would not in any way prevent me from registering animals as Giants.
ARBA does not have any tattoo system except that a number unique to
that animal be in its left ear, ARBA doen not care what you put in the
right ear, as I said above. As long as there is room somewhere on that
right ear for them to tattoo the registration mark or number, that's
all they care about. So by making the decision they did, the IAGARB
Standards Committee accomplished nothing except to discourage people
who prefer to use the tattoo system they always have from trying to
register their rabbits with IAGARB. Not a very "inclusive" thing to do,
is it?

Now, why haven't I registered any Giants except the one noted above?
Because I keep finding fabulous Germans that I just can't live without,
and I keep using them to improve both my Giants and my Germans. Why do
I show Germans in ARBA shows as Giants? I keep showing my animals
because collecting those Grand Championship legs is proof positive that
I am breeding my animals to the Giant standard. If ARBA ever does
question the heritage of an animal I'm registering, all I have to do is
flash the leg certificates of the animal's ancestors.

Now you may say, but the standards of the 2 breeds are so different!
No, actually, they aren't. Here is a portion of a post I made some time ago about
this very subject:

One of the great things about going to Convention is the opportunity to
meet breeders from other parts of the country and the world. Talking
with Judy Le Marchant from England was informative and a blast! Judy
judges rare breeds over there, and is a very smart cookie. One thing
that really gets her going is the American way of posing rabbits. ARBA
sates clearly how commercial breeds of rabbits should be posed, yet
time after time I see judges smashing the poor things together to get
that round topline. In spite of the fact that most, if not all, of the
standards for these breeds specifically state there should be a
*slight* rise from shoulder to hip, the judges want to see a hemisphere
with ears. In order to get that, you need a rabbit with a longer back,
because you're bending to get that profile, not a shorter back like the
standards specify.

What's this got to do with Germans and Giants? I cannot tell you how
many times I have heard that while the breeds may be similar, " A good
Giant does not make a good German, and a good German does not make a
good Giant." Why? Because supposedly the body type is so different.

First allow me to quote a small part of the Standard of Perfection for
Giant Angoras:

Body--Points 10: The body is to be of commercial type, with good width
and depth, tapering slightly from hindquarters to the shoulders. It is
to be well balanced throughout. The flesh is to be firm and smooth,
over a well nourished body.

Faults-- Rounded, cobby body.
Disqualification from competition-- Short coupled body

Now how does this differ from the IAGARB standard? The general
statement is as follows:

You should aim for a medium-sized rabbit of commercial type, with good
length/depth/width ratio, firm flesh and noticeable furnishings on
head, ears and feet.

A more detailed explanation follows:

The body is of medium length, cylindrical, of good depth and width for

Aahh... *cylindrical*. How do you judge this? You stretch the rabbit
out. I know this because I witnessed a German judging demonstration.
Ever see a Himilayan in a normal pose? They don't look cylindrical at
all until you stretch them. Neither does a German. Stretch a Giant out
like that, they look cylindrical, too.

As I stated on the germanangora list, the difference between the breeds
is not in the animals, it is in the standards for registration, and the
culture of the two groups. German breeders breed primarily for wool
production. They have very strict wool requirements for registration.
Giant breeders breed for wool, too, since more wool means better
showing, but they have very strict weight requirements to meet. Germans
don't. Everything else is pretty much the same.

Even IAGARB admits it cannot tell a Giant from a German. So if you
can't tell the difference, does the difference really exist? I don't
think so.

What do you think?

One final thought I want to leave you with, I am not posting this to disparage Leslie or IAGARB, I simply want people to know the truth of what went down and why. If you don't like what I've written, that's too bad, because it is all true, and I am not one to back down when someone twists my words into something they aren't. 'Nuff said. Please leave a comment. :)


Terri said...

Well said Janet!!
If you have a Giant that can make IAGARB registration, I think you should go for it!! Tattoo like IAGARB wants you to and then register it with ARBA too. The people that tattoo the IAGARB way most likely don't show and those of us that do show tattoo our way. I don't think at this stage of the game it is going to matter much. But I know you have your standards and reasons for doing things so if you disagree with me I understand. I'm not meaning to be ugly, I just think if you got it go for it!!

Jan said...

Thanks, Terri! I probably will do just that, when I'm ready to.