Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Politics of Rabbits Pt 4

After the events of the last ARBA Convention in Indianapolis, I've been thinking very long and hard about how I was going to address what happened there. Specifically, regarding the Standards Committee and the Broken English and Broken Satin Angora presentations, although I do know the Jersey Wooly and Lionhead breeders have similar issues.

Basically, our presentations, which had been gone over by experienced breeders and some notable ARBA judges, got disqualified for truly ridiculous reasons.

The Broken English Angoras went up first. The Standards Committee, showing a true lack of knowledge of - the SOP (you know, that document they're supposed to be the ultimate authoirity on?) - tried to DQ the Broken English because one pedigree had a Chocolate Tort coming out of two Fawns. Well, in Angoras, this is entirely possible. Fawn is not a dilute color in Angoras. But not in Netherland Dwarfs, so the Standards Committee tried to say the the SOP for Angoras was wrong, and therefore the DQ.

So, let me clarify that a bit for you. The Standards Committee said that IN SPITE OF THE FACT THAT THE ANIMALS MET THE CURRENT SOP, they were DQ'd because the current Standards Committee did not agree with the ESTABLISHED SOP for Angora Colors. Essentially, they tried to impose another breed's color definition upon us. They made no mention of any other reason, we have lots of witnesses.

I took it upon myself to go to the ARBA General Meeting, and waited patiently until the meeting was opened to questions from the floor. I raised my hand, introduced myself, and asked if the Standards Committee had the authority to impose one breed's color standards upon another breed. I was assured that this was certainly not allowed. Well, I responded, they just did, and I gave the details. I was assured that it would be looked into.

When the presenter of the Broken English went back to dispute the ruling, the color issue wasn't even mentioned. Instead, a brand-new, never before-mentioned DQ, that of the junior doe being cow-hocked, was raised. The presenter grabbed said doe and demonstrated that she was not cow-hocked, just a bit pinched, but the Standards Committee denied her appeal and that was that.

Does that seem right to you?

On to the Broken Satins. The Standards Committee went from trying to find a genetic impossibility to trying to create one. They said that a Broken Tort was really a Broken Copper. Now, said Broken Tort was out of another Broken Tort and a Broken Black. Those of us who know genetics know that that isn't possible. In fact, the rabbit in question had no eye rings and no ear lacing. The rabbit did have what could be called rings when its wool was blown into, but they were not true rings, the experienced eye could see that the young rabbit simply had a new coat growing in behind the old one. This is typical of breeds that are pluck-able, especially among young angoras, pluck-able or not.

Another NARBC member kindly consented to having her true Copper rabbit presented to the Standards Committee to show them what a real Copper looks like, but when the presenter of the Broken Satin Angoras went back to appeal, she was denied, in spite of showing them in the SOP that the rabbit did in fact meet the Tort color definition. The excuse was that this particular rabbit didn't look like her other Torts - well, of course not, they were older and their coats looked different! We never got the chance to bring the copper doe up.

So, not only do presentation rabbits have to be good to excellent representatives of their breed, now they also have to be identical as well. No difference between juniors and seniors, apparently.

Does that seem right to you?

I won't go into who these warped ideas come from. Everyone who was there and saw what went on, and saw just who could waltz in and out like they owned the place, despite not actually being on the Standards Committee, knows of whom I speak.

I think it's time the members of ARBA took back their club. It is OUR club, it does not belong to an elite few, and abuses of power cannot be tolerated. We need to either clean house, or better yet, exercise our veto power. What veto power?

Well, we can create it:

ARTICLE IX

Alterations—Amendments—Resolutions

Section 1. Any alteration of, or amendment to, the Constitution to be offered at any annual or special meeting of this Association shall be made by Resolution, in writing, signed by one hundred (100) or more members of this Association in good standing. The Resolution must be received by the ARBA Executive Director not later than 1 May, so that the signatures can be verified. Once verified by the ARBA Executive Director, a copy of the resolution must be forwarded to the ARBA Resolutions Committee no later than 10 May of the year, if it is to be
presented at the annual meeting. All resolutions are to be confined to one subject. All resolutions shall be published in the ARBA Bulletin at least forty-five (45) days in advance of the annual or special meeting at which they are to be considered, in order that members may have the opportunity to form an intelligent opinion on their
merits. The Constitution may then be amended by an affirmative two-thirds vote of all members casting votes at a regular or special meeting of the Association for a Resolution, provided that the notice of the purpose of any special meeting has been stated in the call for such special meeting.

Section 2. Any proposed change in, or amendment to, the Constitution may be submitted to the members of the Association at any time by mail ballot, to be voted upon, and the ballots counted, in the same manner as is provided for balloting for the election of officers. An affirmative two-thirds majority of the ballots cast shall be
required for passage of any proposed change or alteration.

Section 3. A Resolution adopted at an annual or special meeting of the Association shall take effect on January 1st following such annual or special meeting. Any change or alteration voted by mail ballot shall take effect sixty (60) days after the date of certification by the Election Committee.

So, we can pass a Resolution giving the membership veto power over the decisions of the Standards Committee.

Thoughts?