Thursday, October 21, 2010
Can anyone answer these questions for me?????
In my humble opinion, I don't think I can advocate splitting classes. When this idea was first presented to me, I thought to myself, "Maybe this can stop all the anger and division", but after giving it a lot of thought and considering all the input from the chat group, I think it would only increase the tension and split NASSA further.
I would like to know why we have strayed so far from our ties with SSS? Specifically, when did this happen, and why aren't we doing more to renew this beneficial association with our sister organization?
I know this seems off topic, but I don't think it is, as their input into our current issue could be invaluable.
Isn't the Shetland breed supposed to follow the standard from it's country of origin? Why do we, I mean North American Shetland breeders, have to Americanize everything we touch? Shouldn't we be looking to the very place that recognized that this breed was straying and we'd lose it if something wasn't done to preserve the Shetland breed?
These are my concerns, and long fleece, short fleece, single coats, double coats, they all have a purpose, and each breeder has to decide for themselves which animals they feel are following the standard.
I don't think we are ever going to get everyone to agree on this hot topic. I do believe that when there is an obvious divide such as we have within NASSA, then it should be settled by the membership, not a few board members. Why can't the members vote on whether or not the Appendix stays or goes?
It has been mentioned that the shorter fleece suits the wool markets in the UK, and that's certainly true. And from the research I've been conducting at some of the small mills, that's true for NA as well. We have numerous mills in our neck of the woods, and all of them are small batch mills that produce a lot of roving for hand spinners. Not a single mill owner expressed to me that the long wool was more desirable. The hand spinners I questioned were all in agreement on that issue. I'm not saying that longer wool is bad, it's just not as desirable in some areas of NA. We have our share of longer fleeced Shetlands here, I have a couple in my herd, but I always let my customers feel their roving and the shorter, single coats are always chosen first. I know this isn't the case everywhere, but it is what has swayed me to support the Appendix. I know there are soft, longer, double coats out there, I applaud the diversity within the breed that allows them to emerge, but I don't think they should be the ideal. Every fleece style has a use, but the soft, fine fleece is what we all agree we are striving to preserve. And let's not forget conformation!!! If there's not a good sheep under all that fleece, it doesn't matter what style of fleece is on your animals.
What a great topic for discussion on the NASSA chat group, right on the eve of our fall election!! This is exactly the type of communication that most of us needed to help in our decision to elect our newest board members. There's been a tremendous amount of input and I'm grateful for the opportunity to participate with so many breeders and members. I only hope that this dialog can continue as we move forward, as there is a lot of knowledge and wisdom amongst our fellow shepherds.
TaTa for now.