[alpaca_fibre] Re: FW: Sire Reference Program

  • From: Ian Watt <alpacaconsult@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: alpaca_fibre@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 18 Apr 2004 12:25:55 -0700

Many thanks for your comments - I really appreciate them.
I hadn't thought of the possible problems you raise but I do see where=20=

someone can make a mountain out of a molehill. I must admit that I tend=20=

to disregard those who see a "red under every bed" mainly because these=20=

type of people spend a disproportionate amount of time protecting=20
perceptions instead of getting on with a productive and happy life -=20
their decision, their consequence. However, I do agree that they tends=20=

to be very vocal and quite easily provide a perception of import that=20
is not there.
I think I can overcome the problem by defining an inspecting=20
veterinarian as one not either in the employ of the participating=20
breeder or the woner of the animal. I would be most reluctant to draw=20
the line any further because, as you point out, there are plenty of=20
related business transactions between people that make real distance=20
really hard to achieve.
I would rely instead, on the professionalism of the veterinarian=20
reputation and qualification.
The fact of the matter is that the name on the proforma is that of a=20
professional veterinarian who has both a qualification and reputation=20
to maintain. i trust that this is sufficient reason for those=20
veterinarians who even sniff a conflict of interest will recuse=20
themselves to maintain the integrity of the assessment.
I personally would apply the same perspective to the treatment of=20
judges at shows. This practice of isolating the judges before a show,=20
during the show and also disallowing people who have dealt with the=20
judge in the six months prior to the show exhibits, to me, a lack of=20
maturity with both the proponents of this regime and the industry as a=20=

whole that does not have enough faith in a person to extend them the=20
courtesy of professional attitude and integrity.
But that is another matter I guess!
I hope this answers your question but if it doesn't and anyone else=20
would like to comment, please do.
Kind regards,
Ian Watt

On Sunday, Apr 18, 2004, at 09:29 US/Pacific, Ruthanne McCaslin wrote:

> Ian,
> Your proposal sounds very promising.  I am interested in=20
> participating.  I,
> too,  would like info on the reference lab for doing the biopsies as=20=

> soon as
> possible as we are starting to shear now.
> In the matter of transpaency,  have you considered that in the US=20
> there are
> a significant number of alpaca breeders who are also veterinarians? =20=

> This
> could produce a percieved or real conflict of interest.  Certainly I=20=

> would
> not think of doing the veterinary inspection on my own animals,  and=20=

> those I
> have sold to others,  but should I also exclude myself from doing=20
> those of
> other breeders with whom I do not have a business relationship?  What=20=

> about
> the friendships that develope at shows and confernces?  Somehow in the=20=

> small
> comunity of the alpaca world,  it seems we are all conected.  Also =
> about the larger farms who have a veterinarian or two on their staff?
> I think that most veterinarians are very objective and highly ethical
> people,  but there are perceptions to be addressed and the sour grapes=20=

> of
> someone whose animal failed against someone else whose animal passed=20=

> if,
> say,  the second breeder was the vet's best client and the first was=20=

> six
> months in arrears on his vet bills.  Even if the vet was meticulously
> impartial and the animal that passes deserved to pass and the animal=20=

> that
> failed deserved to fail,  that has never yet stopped a determined=20
> whiner.
> Whiners are a very, very small percentage of the alpaca community, =20
> who by
> and large are the nicest folks on earth,  but they tend to make=20
> themselves
> heard over the pleasantries of the majority.
> I am not trying to create problems here,  just help you think ahead =
> prevent them.  I totally agree that integrity,  both real and=20
> percieved,  is
> what creates the value in a program of this nature.  I hope to hear=20
> more
> soon.
> Wishing you nothing but the best,
> Ruthanne
> Ruthanne McCaslin,  DVM
> Promised Land Farm Alpacas
> Chardon,  Ohio
> www.blackalpaca.com
>> From: Ian Watt <alpacaconsult@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
>> Reply-To: alpaca_fibre@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> To: alpaca_fibre@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>> Subject: [alpaca_fibre] Re: FW: Sire Reference Program
>> Date: Sat, 17 Apr 2004 15:06:39 -0700
>> Wayne,
>> I did receive your earlier mail but then I went off to England for a
>> couple of weeks!! Great trip travelling the canals of Shropshire and
>> Wales in a narrow boat - guaranteed stress buster!
>> I am awaiting a note from my Australian lab with all the details and
>> will be incorporating them into the final release of the plan. I have
>> had a good response from a very limited mail out and am confident =
>> it will appeal to those forward thinkers who want to work away from=20=

>> the
>> show circuit. I will let you know the details as soon as I have them =
>> hopefully later this week.
>> The advance copies of the book have arrived and I am posting your =
>> on Monday. It looks better than I had hoped which is both exciting =
>> a relief!
>> Hope you are well.
>> Cheers,
>> Ian
>> On Wednesday, Apr 7, 2004, at 05:58 US/Pacific, Sixth Day Farm wrote:
>>> Hi Ian,
>>> I'm re-sending this as I never got a response about the lab doing =
>>> skin biopsies so I thought perhaps you didn't get the e-mail.
>>> Best Wishes,
>>> Wayne
>>> *****************************************************
>>> Dr. and Mrs. Wayne C. Jarvis            "In the beginning, God
>>> created.... "
>>>                                                               =
>>> 1:1
>>> home@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx           www.sixthdayfarm.com
>>> Everyone talks about genetic improvement, at Sixth Day Farm we're=20
>>> IT.
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Sixth Day Farm [mailto:home@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx]
>>> Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:27 PM
>>> To: 'alpaca_fibre@xxxxxxxxxxxxx'
>>> Subject: RE: [alpaca_fibre] Sire Reference Program
>>> Hi Ian,
>>> I am getting ready to do biopsies at our shearing day in May. I have
>>> everything I need to take the samples. I was going to send them to=20=

>>> the
>>> histology lab at OSU for slides to be made and then read them =
>>> but would prefer to send them to a lab in the US that already
>>> understands reading them for S/P ratio and density. Tell me about =
>>> processing you have available: how and where to send the samples,=20
>>> cost,
>>> and exactly how and what they will report.  Thanks!
>>> Also, The G.A.I.N. will be up and running by June.  Any of your list
>>> members who want to send in all of this phenotypic data that they =
>>> collecting for the sire reference site can submit the data for their
>>> sires, and or their hembras as well, and get computer generated=20
>>> reports
>>> of EPDs for all of the important traits that they want to select for
>>> and
>>> make genetic predictions about the offspring for.  Any who don't =
>>> about what EPDs are and their value for accelerating genetic gain in
>>> their herds can read the chapters on genetics in your upcoming
>>> International Alpaca Handbook, or the articles I wrote for Alpacas
>>> Magazine in 2002 and 2003, or the article on EPDs on Mike Safley's
>>> website excerpted from his book, or they can come to my lectures at=20=

>>> the
>>> AOBA National Conference in Louisville.
>>> Wayne
>>> P.S. Don't tell me the handbook is really being printed ALREADY!
>>> *****************************************************
>>> Dr. and Mrs. Wayne C. Jarvis            "In the beginning, God
>>> created.... "
>>>                                                               =
>>> 1:1
>>> home@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx           www.sixthdayfarm.com
>>> Everyone talks about genetic improvement, at Sixth Day Farm we're=20
>>> IT.
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: alpaca_fibre-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> [mailto:alpaca_fibre-bounce@xxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of Ian Watt
>>> Sent: Wednesday, March 31, 2004 8:03 PM
>>> To: alpaca_fibre@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
>>> Subject: [alpaca_fibre] Sire Reference Program
>>> I am delighted to announce that I have found a laboratory to=20
>>> undertake
>>> the follicle and density counts for alpacas both here and in=20
>>> Australia.
>>> I have also secured a website to be called alpacasiresUSA.com which
>>> will be the home of the new sire listing I wrote to you all about
>>> several months ago.
>>> I have extended the original concept to now include some phenotype
>>> features that may help disclose the underlying genotype of sires of=20=

>>> the
>>> future. I am awaiting a response from Elizabeth Paul and will, in =
>>> probability, include details of gum, toenail, point and eyelid =
>>> in the sire disclosure list. I would be very interested if anyone =
>>> any comments about this aspect of the project.
>>> I am pasting the new program guidelines into this email for you to
>>> peruse and consider. If you have any comments, I would greatly
>>> appreciate you airing them on this site so we can all share the
>>> thoughts.
>>> Incidentally, another 20 odd breeders have joined the list as they
>>> attended a workshop in California several weeks ago. New workshops=20=

>>> are
>>> planned for Maine, Colorado and Virginia later this year.
>>> And the International Alpaca Handbook is finally off the presses and=20=

>>> at
>>> the bindery awaiting binding!!
>>> Cheers,
>>> Ian Watt
>>> Preamble
>>> Selection of sires is possibly the single most important breeding
>>> decision any owner makes in striving for excellence in their alpaca
>>> business.
>>> The impact of a sire across a herd is more significant than any =
>>> single breeding decision.
>>> The American alpaca industry uses more sires across its national =
>>> than is probably necessary. Supporters of a wide gene pool for the
>>> industry would dispute this, but, from a production perspective, it=20=

>>> is
>>> hard to argue an alternative point of view.
>>> The lack of a breed standard (for the industry) allows the broadest
>>> possible interpretation on what comprises an acceptable=20
>>> conformation. A
>>> show standard goes beyond what is, or could reasonably be expected=20=

>>> of,
>>> an animal primarily devoted to fibre production ie the show standard
>>> aims at a much higher level of conformation correctness than is=20
>>> usually
>>> reflected in a fibre production breeding emphasis.
>>> Breeders who aim for fibre excellence in their alpacas often lack =
>>> tools with which to make informed and productive genetic selections.
>>> Too often males are offered for service that have little or no
>>> supportive objective data that provide objectively obtained=20
>>> information
>>> for the female owner and breeder. This information may not be=20
>>> important
>>> to many breeders (at the moment) but will become increasingly=20
>>> important
>>> as the rate of genetic improvement becomes harder and harder to
>>> achieve. This is reflected most dramatically when the phenotype
>>> differences between animals being considered for joining are not
>>> immediately or apparently obvious.
>>> Breeders seeking superior fibre characteristics and production will=20=

>>> be
>>> looking for more than show results and perceived quality than is
>>> currently the industry standard in the United States.
>>> Breeders aiming to sit inside the top 20% or better of the national
>>> herd (any national herd) will seek more and more objectively =
>>> information to aid their individual selection processes.
>>> Professionally oriented breeders will adopt a much more challenging
>>> approach to the selection of sires and this will also apply to the
>>> introduction of new female genetics into the individual herd as =
>>> This program is designed to not only apply objective assessment data=20=

>>> to
>>> both male and female selection criteria but to also show a way for
>>> progressive breeders to position themselves for the future in terms=20=

>>> of
>>> breeding and selling advanced fibre genetics.
>>> The following criteria suggestions are aimed at sire selections but=20=

>>> can
>>> apply equally to female selection protocols as well.
>>> This program is about placing fibre as a higher priority than
>>> conformation by objective measurement and the underpinning of
>>> conformation correctness through strict adherence to a standard.
>>> The Program
>>> Because the influence of any sire is far greater across the national
>>> herd than any individual female, it is important that sires be
>>> rigorously examined for possible genetic conformational weaknesses.=20=

>>> It
>>> is important that these traits be identified as health and welfare
>>> issues rather than cosmetic or environmental differences or effects.
>>> There is currently no industry conformation standard in place to
>>> measure sires (or females for that matter) against, nor is there any
>>> prospect of being one in the foreseeable future.
>>> The use of objectively collected and measured fleece data is not=20
>>> widely
>>> used in the promotion of sires.
>>> It is doubtful whether many breeders physically examine sires unless
>>> they see them at a show or live close by. Many breeders send females
>>> for mating to sight unseen sires and presumably rely upon a show=20
>>> result
>>> as a tick of conformational approval. This is not necessarily a =
>>> breeding practice.
>>> First requirement.
>>> Each sire will be required to pass a physical conformational
>>> examination as described on a pro-forma established for such a=20
>>> purpose.
>>> This examination is identical to that adopted by the Australian=20
>>> Alpaca
>>> Association (AAA) for registration of males as sires approved for
>>> progeny registration into the International Alpaca Register, owned=20=

>>> and
>>> operated by the AAA. Under the AAA scheme, any male used to sire =
>>> able to be registered must pass this test before the sire is used to
>>> get a female pregnant.
>>> Each component of the standard must be passed for the male to be
>>> considered satisfactory - there are no trade-offs, an animal must=20
>>> pass
>>> every requirement.
>>> There is no fleece component.
>>> The examination must be done by a veterinarian so that potentrial
>>> customers can be assured that the certification has been done by an
>>> independent and qualified person.
>>> Second requirement.
>>> Each sire will be required to be fleece tested using the OFDA2000
>>> testing technology. A fleece sample from each mid-side will be=20
>>> required
>>> and the average of the two tests used as the final figure.
>>> The sample will be collected by an independent person, divided in=20
>>> half
>>> with one sample forwarded by the sampler to the program coordinator=20=

>>> and
>>> the other half retained by the owner under seal.
>>> The information required by the program will include micron, =
>>> deviation, coefficient of variation, comfort factor, staple length,
>>> colour and average fibre profile.
>>> Third requirement.
>>> The fleece will be weighed at shearing by an independent person who
>>> will record total fleece weight and saddle. The male will be =
>>> to be shorn from the ears down the neck, the body and legs down to=20=

>>> the
>>> knee, excluding the tail.
>>> The weight will be recorded and affirmed by the owner.
>>> The shorn fleece will be raised to a height of eighteen inches from =
>>> table top and dropped. This will be done three times and the weight=20=

>>> of
>>> the fleece recorded. This procedure will remove a considerable part=20=

>>> of
>>> any dust in the fleece.
>>> Fourth requirement.
>>> Breeders of coloured alpacas are becoming increasingly aware of the
>>> phenotype expression of the genetics underlying what they see in the
>>> flesh. There is an increasing sophistication being exhibited by
>>> coloured breeders especially since the publication of Elizabeth=20
>>> Paul's
>>> "The Alpaca Colour Key". In order to meet this demand and to foster
>>> itys growth, each male will have any identifying colour spots=20
>>> disclosed
>>> as well as eye colour, eyelid colour, points colour, toenail colour=20=

>>> and
>>> gum colour. These potential genetic colour identifiers will be
>>> important to discerning colour breeders of the future.
>>> Additional option.
>>> This option will allow owners of sires to have their sire tested for
>>> primary:secondary follicle count as well as a density count. Owners
>>> will be provided with a kit comprising all the materials and=20
>>> equipment
>>> needed to undertake the test and a comprehensive set of instructions
>>> which will allow a competent person to do the collection without the
>>> need for a veterinarian. It is suggested however that the vet could=20=

>>> do
>>> the biopsy at the time of the physical examination. This is a =
>>> procedure and is offered for those breeders who might want to=20
>>> identify
>>> their top females within the herd.
>>> The information derived from the processing of the four requirements
>>> will paint a composite picture of any sire using objectively=20
>>> collected
>>> data. This data can then be used to make some initial assessments of
>>> the sire, allow comparisons between sires and lets sires be assessed=20=

>>> on
>>> performance rather than subjective assessment reinforced by emotive
>>> promotion.
>>> The exercising of the additional option adds a far deeper dimension=20=

>>> to
>>> the selection process and strikes a very new line of breeder=20
>>> disclosure
>>> to potential customers for sire services. This is very much leading
>>> edge genetics.
>>> Access to data
>>> The data and documentation of each sire would then be collated and
>>> processed into a website listing within a listing of "accredited=20
>>> sires"
>>> (or some such identifier). This website would be managed and=20
>>> maintained
>>> by Alpaca Consulting Services of Australia and would be open for=20
>>> public
>>> access.
>>> There would be a fee structure for animals entering the program and=20=

>>> an
>>> annual fee to cover the testing, collating and data processing of =
>>> annual shearing results.
>>> Once entered into the site, the animal will remain until, either it
>>> dies, the owner decides to withdraw or no new data has been =
>>> for two seasons.
>>> There will be a photograph of the sire on the site.
>>> There will be no mention of show results.
>>> There will be an option to link any particular sire to the owners
>>> website or email address.
>>> There will be no service fee or other advertising on the site.
>>> Benefits
>>> The industry-wide benefit is access to sires demonstrating=20
>>> objectively
>>> measured fleece and conformation information collected by an
>>> independent person. This feature alone will place these sires at the
>>> forefront of breeders minds as the collection, testing and=20
>>> distribution
>>> of the information is not managed by the owner of the sire - a truly
>>> vested interest - but by someone with absolutely no interest in any
>>> animal.
>>> By making the data public both breeders and sire owners have a
>>> benchmark against which they can measure any potential sire but also=20=

>>> a
>>> wider range of sires as this program allows any sire, or potential
>>> sire, in.
>>> Over time, the fleece history of the sire will become clear with=20
>>> those
>>> sires not blowing out in any measurable traits becoming more=20
>>> recognized
>>> and thus, potentially, more attractive as future herd sires.
>>> Owners of listed sires will no doubt be recognized as leading edge
>>> breeders as demonstrated through their strength of conviction in
>>> submitting their animals to scrutiny over the internet.
>>> Breeders looking for sires will, for the first time perhaps, have a
>>> broader range of sires from which to select as small breeders unable=20=

>>> or
>>> unwilling to exhibit at shows will have a vehicle through which they
>>> can market and promote their animals at minimal cost and at maximum
>>> credibility.
>>> Finally, the conformation examination by a veterinarian will, for =
>>> first time, underpin an expanded guarantee of correctness of
>>> conformation by a sire owner.
>>> These are benefits that will not only enhance the reputation of the
>>> animal but also the owner in an industry which will place more and=20=

>>> more
>>> emphasis on fleece production than is currently the case.
>>> In essence, breeders offering sires entered into the program will be
>>> attesting that their animals have met a documented conformation
>>> standard, have undergone independently collected, tested and =
>>> fleece measurements and, if selected, are prepared to disclose
>>> secondary to primary follicle ratios to buyers of both animals and
>>> service options.
>>> ---
>>> List Name: Alpaca Fibre Production
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>>> List Administrator: Ian Watt (alpacaconsult@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)
>>> How to Unsubscribe: send an email to=20
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>>> and put "unsubscribe" (without the quotes) in the Subject line of =
>>> email.
>>> ---
>>> List Name: Alpaca Fibre Production
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>> ---
>> List Name: Alpaca Fibre Production
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>> How to Unsubscribe: send an email to=20
>> alpaca_fibre-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx and
>> put "unsubscribe" (without the quotes) in the Subject line of the=20
>> email.
> Ruthanne McCaslin, DVM
> Promised Land Farm
> 11345 Thwing Rd.
> Chardon,  Ohio  44024
> 440-285-9255
> Peruvian Perfection in Black and White - and other exciting colors!
> _________________________________________________________________
> Get rid of annoying pop-up ads with the new MSN Toolbar =96 FREE!
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> List Name: Alpaca Fibre Production
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> List Administrator: Ian Watt (alpacaconsult@xxxxxxxxxxxxx)
> How to Unsubscribe: send an email to=20
> alpaca_fibre-request@xxxxxxxxxxxxx and put "unsubscribe" (without the=20=

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