Tuesday, July 01, 2008

So IAGARB is inclusive, is it?

Once upon a time, I was delighted to see IAGARB, the International Association of German Angora Rabbit Breeders, adopt the German policy of allowing any angora, regardless of breed, into its registry, as long as that rabbit met their stringent registration requirements.

Well, nice words, but I have come to believe that's all they are. Case in point: their tattoo system. It was decided that in order to be registered with IAGARB, the rabbit had to be tattooed with the IAGARB system. Specifically, the breeder ID number in the right ear, and in the left ear the rabbit MUST be tattooed in the month/year/some-running-number sequence. So, a rabbit born on June, 2008 would be marked 6.8.whatever-the-breeder-wants.

Now obviously, it is highly unlikely that someone with a well-established tattoo system of their own is going to want to change. Additionally, since we folks who show in ARBA shows tend to breed for big shows like Convention, if we used this method there is a distinct possiblity of having more than one rabbit on the table with, say, 6.8.12 in its left ear. ARBA does not look in the rabbit's right ear, so the breeder ID number would be ignored.

With the desire to avoid possible mishaps like this, I submitted the following proposal to the IAGARB Standards Comittee:

---- Original Message -----
From: Janet Gruber
To: charbees@cox.net
Sent: Sunday, November 11, 2007 2:40 PM
Subject: tattooing

Hi Charlene,

I wanted to express my concern with the decision to only register rabbits tattooed with the IAGARB method. This seems exclusionary to me, although I doubt very much that it was meant to be. My reasoning is this: IAGARB has relaxed the registration requirements so that ANY animal that meets its stringent standards can be registered. However, most people who have other breeds of angora have their own tattoo system, as I do. I show in ARBA shows, it is excellent publicity, and fun! ARBA only looks at the rabbit's left ear. With the IAGARB method of tattooing, it is entirely possible that more than one rabbit on the table could have the same tattoo, since we tend to breed toward our annual Convention, so it's a distinct possibility of more than one rabbit having, say 8.3.4, in their left ear. ARBA does not look in the right ear, so the IAGARB breeder number is useless as a means of ID on the show table.

I do understand the necessity of the breeder # in the right ear. So, I would like to suggest a compromise. Keep the breeder number in the right ear as a requirement, but allow the breeder to use whatever method they wish in the left ear.

Right now, I use the same numbering system I always have, unless I have an un-tattooed bunny I'm selling to someone who is breeding exclusively towards the IAGARB standard, then I use the IAGARB method to tattoo that bunny, to make the new owner's life simpler should they wish to register the bunny in the future. Needless to say, that's a bit of a pain in the butt. :)
Additionally, there are some very heavy-coated French out there who *might* make registration, but their owners are not going to abandon their tattoo system they've always used.

I plan on sticking with my method, which is the year the bunny was born, then "JG" (which can mean Jan's Giants, Jan's Germans, or Janet Gruber), then a number representing that bunny's place in the breeding for the year, 7JG16, for instance. It has a kind of "brand-name" recognition that I do not wish to abandon. It would be a shame if I could not register any rabbits just because the left ear has a "JG" in it instead of a number. :(

If IAGARB were to adopt my compromise, it would be very simple for breeders to add their breeder number to the right ear, and everyone would be happy. :)

Thanks for your time, and I hope the Standards Committee will consider this.


Janet Gruber

Well folks, somehow someone took my proposal and turned it into this:

"A formal proposal was sent to the
Standards Committee to change the
decision that was made at our last general
meeting (Michigan 2007) with regard to the
IAGARB tattooing procedures. The
petitioner requested that we make
allowances for those people who wish to
register their rabbits in both the ARBA and
IAGARB systems for acceptance."

This was further expounded upon that what was wanted specifically was to register Germans as Giants.

Um, EXCUSE ME!!!??? Where did I propose Germans be registered as Giants?

Phone calls were made, ARBA policy was quoted, the impression was given that Germans would be re-papered as Giants, and as a result, my actual request was obfuscated by this false allegation.

I cannot tell you all how disappointed I am at this obvious, deliberate subversion of my request. This certainly makes it appear as if some people in IAGARB wish to exclude people who show in ARBA shows. Why else my actual request be turned into something that it was not?

So naturally I bitched about it. Here is the response I got:

Dear Janet,

Over the years, we have received many questions regarding the practice of showing IAGARB Germans as ARBA Giants. We know that there are many opinions about this and that it is commonly done. Because this is an ARBA policy matter, we asked them.

Prompted by your proposal, Standards Committee member, Alexis Woodbury contacted ARBA secretary, Mr. Gehr. She reported that her conversation was quite long and detailed. Mr. Gehr said that ARBA judges are only able to evaluate phenotype. Therefore, if a rabbit fits the standard, then it will be judged accordingly.

According to Mr. Gehr, ARBA registration does present a problem, as it would require pedigree information indicating that the animals have Giant backgrounds. In order for rabbits out of imported German stock to present pedigrees that would satisfy ARBA registration, they would need to be repapered as Giants. That would constitute misrepresentation.

Please recall that it was the ARBA’s decision to refuse the German Angora and its standard. The ARBA declared the Giant Angora a separate breed from the German.

To address your specific question – would IAGARB reverse, or allow exceptions to, its decision to require all rabbits tested for registration to have the breeder’s number permanently tattooed in the right ear and the rabbit’s number in the left ear? After significant discussion, the committee agreed unanimously that it is important to keep the IAGARB registration system consistent. This was our original reason for establishing the tattoo requirement at the Annual Meeting in 2007.

If we adjust our tattooing requirements in response to your proposal then IAGARB will have acted with the intention to accommodate the possibility of misrepresentation with another organization’s registration system.

We are aware that you have a goal of double registration of the same animal in both IAGARB and ARBA systems. As the rules stand, your objective is not possible. Even if we relaxed our tattoo rules, the ARBA would not accept fully disclosed German Angora pedigrees for their Giant Angora registry.

We would like to thank you for provoking much useful discussion and look forward to your continued and valued participation in IAGARB.


Charlene Schultz, Standards Committee Chairperson

Leslie Samson, President

Isn't it convenient that they totally ignore that I NEVER proposed this issue of Germans being registered as Giants!

But just for the record, *IF* I have a Giant Angora (or French, or English, or Satin) tattooed with the IAGARB method, I can certainly still register said animal with ARBA. AND *IF* said animal passes the IAGARB registration process, I certainly CAN have one animal registered in both systems, and I won't be breaking any rules.

But that isn't the point. The point is, my proposal was deliberately misrepresented, in order to make sure it wasn't accepted.


I have no problem with the decision. I have a problem with how it was influenced.

And as for the sake of consistency, that is a solution looking for a problem.

PS - I think IAGARB should be encouraging the diverse interests of its ENTIRE membership, and the versatility of the animals we all love. I don't think an animal should be relegated to a non-registration wool test because of a number in its ear. What's a non-registration wool test worth? The paper it's written on? *I* certainly am not going to go through all the considerable hassle of getting the rabbit certified as shorn on a certain day, then travel to a certification event 90 days later only to have my rabbit pass, but not be worthy of registration simply because I don't use the number IAGARB wants me to use in the left ear.


Alderdeals said...

Hi, I found this post while Googling about angora tattoos. I know it's an old post but was hoping you could help me. My pet angora (from a shelter) is approximately three years old and has a tattoo on his left ear B6 10. I am soo curious to know what this means. Any ideas? Thank You.

Jan said...

No, I don't have any ideas, that number doesn't ring any bells with me. Perhaps it will with another reader.