Original publication January 26, 2004
Update - February 12, 2004... This editorial was ill conceived. It was a disservice to the South African judges, the "American" judges, the exhibitors and the Boer goat industry. A more sane and sober assessment of the subject is offered through THIS LINK.
The American Boer Goat Association has selected the judges for the 2004 National Show. All American. Selected by a vote of the exhibitors at the 2003 show. Now... what is all the ruccus about SA judges, you ask? Read on!
The officials of the American Boer Goat Association (ABGA) have once again proven their distain for the wishes of the membership. Effective December 30, 2003, a group of South African (SA) "judges" have been granted "Approved Judge" status with the ABGA. That means they can judge any ABGA show; including the Nationals.
Until recently the ABGA National Show has been presided over by South African judges with the token ABGA judge being ignored, rejected, belittled and disregarded by their "betters" from the southern hemisphere.
In June, 2003, the voting members present at the Annual Membership Meeting overwhelmingly rejected the use of South African breeders and judges as the sole purveyors of wisdom to the United States Boer goat industry.
It is true that some of the South African judges are good and some of the United States judges are bad. The exhibitors at least have the illusion of some control over prejudices, favoritism and the mishandling of shows when a US judge is presiding.
One of the primary purposes in exhibiting in a livestock conformation contest is to learn where your own stock stands in relationship to the rest of the industry and to learn why. It is impossible to learn "why" if the judge announcing the reason for class placement cannot be understood because of a heavy accent; be it Swedish, French, Chinese or Afrikaans. And the US breeders certainly do not appreciate their animals being abused by a judge.
I do not know how show goats are treated in South African exhibitions.
The treatment meted out to the livestock and the exhibitors by the 2003 South African "senior" ABGA National judge was absolutely appalling. I have received many, many emails from disgruntled exhibitors. One in particular was specially appropriate for reference in this editorial...
During a lull in the judging of the Yearling Buck class, while the judges waited for an exhibitor to re-tattoo her goat, the senior SA judge removed a buck from the judging line claiming his mouth was "off". After much argument in Afrikaans between the two SA judges the ABGA judge was brought in to break the "tie". He returned the buck to the judging line.
The judging finally resumed and the goat that was rejected by the senior SA judge was led into the small individual ring. The senior SA judge began striking the young buck with his stick and at one point hit the goat in the eye either with the side or end of the stick. When the eye started to swell the exhibitor intervened by standing between the judge and the buck which prompted the ring steward to move between the exhibitor and the judge.
It'll be a *long* time until that exhibitor trusts any judge.
I witnessed the event myself. The damage to the young buck was also verified by a directory of the ABGA.
The reason for this editorial?... I've just about had it with a registry association that has such little regard for the wishes of it's membership.
Isn't there some way we can stop this "disregard the membership" madness that infects every director as soon as they become tenured? This kind of #$%^ has been going on through every association administration that I can remember - and it's not limited to the ABGA.
I urge you to contact your regional director with your concerns about or support of certifying South African judges as ABGA Approved Judges. Your director's contact information may be found at www.abga.org/directors.html . The Approved Judges list is at www.abga.org/ApprovedJudges2004-01-26.htm . The pages will open in a new window... just close that browser window when you're done and you'll be right back here.
We CAN take our organization back!