Monday, September 28, 2015

Soapbox time–light fawns

Non-alpaca readers, please feel free to move along, nothing to see here...

Time to be a bit controversial, pull out the soapbox and have a bit of a rant.

Caveat: Perry's personal opinion - not that of the Association and not necessarily shared by the rest of the tribe - they may agree but they're so sick of hearing me go on that they don't comment...

So, with that warning, let's talk about light-fawn alpacas (I can hear the groans from here...).

Now, we are, primarily, breeders of coloured animals: browns and fawns. We have a few nice blacks and some top whites but mostly, it's about the colours.

I like light-fawn animals, that pale shade with maybe a hint of apricot is very attractive and something that I really like to see in the herd.

I firmly believe that the show ring should reflect that...

Here's what the rules say though:

"An alpaca is to be shown in the appropriate colour class, when it is predominantly that colour. "

No problem there, agree completely, but it's immediately contradicted by:

"Animals with light fawn on the neck or backline should be entered and shown in the light fawn class."

And that's where I part company with the rules. As a result of this our light fawn classes have become a showplace for b-grade whites.

I'm terribly sorry, but if you have an animal with a pristine, snow-white fleece over 98% of its body and a tiny patch of fawn on the back of the neck, then what you have there is a, quite possibly very nice, colour-contaminated white, not a light-fawn.

And yes, I know about 'true-white' phenotypes but the truth is that they are about as common as hens' teeth and the majority of white animals shown in white classes would fail that test. As far as I'm concerned there is a stronger case for creating a new 'off-white' or 'mostly white' class than there is for shunting colour-contaminated animals in with the light fawns.

It's making a mockery of the colour classes, there have been many cases where the same animal is presented as light fawn in the ring and white in the fleece class. The public can't (with good reason) understand what they're seeing at shows and it's about time that we grew out of it and recognised light fawns for the unique class that they are rather than using the classification as a way to hoover up more ribbons for white animals that might not be able to cut it in their own class.

There, rant over. Thank you for humouring me, I feel better now and promise not to mention it again.

1 comment:

  1. Colour on the neck or extremities usually indicates the presence of a huge white spot covering the true genetic color it seems to me.
    The show system does the greater industry a dis-service when it does not recognize the harvestable color as that which is being judged and not a guess of what the underlying 'true' colour might be in my opinion.
    Show systems should reflect the industry future which means that the phenotype is what it is all about as this is what the grower producers and sells, should it not?