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Last Updated: 26th of March 2011

26th of March 2011
JSP's Blog
I have not written my Blog for some 2 years now—the competing pressures of retirement. However there are a few things I want to say—all personal views—and this is probably the easiest way, certainly if anyone ever gets around to reading it.

I think the Futurity was a tremendous success; everyone was so upbeat and our judge had so much stamina she put us all to shame. How do you follow that? Criticisms: for most people the temperature, at least on the Friday, it was artic. Not enough visitors, particularly for the trade stands. We expect to fix both these problems next year.

A few criticisms that certain people had not been thanked. Oh dear! No one does this intentionally and a detailed e-mail should have by now gone around to include Everyone. An outburst in the bar by 2 breeders that no Junior Herd sire award was given. We never intended to award one. If we had given such an award it would have been won by Bozedown’s Comet II and not Inca’s Jack of Spades as some bloggers have suggested. Three witnesses have told me that this outburst was disgraceful and required the quiet strength of Ian Smith and Mick George to calm it down. My thanks to them. I know a lot is drunk at the dinner—and long may it continue—but angry allegations such as this will not be tolerated and, in future will be dealt with in the only way possible, but please let us hope that this will be an end to this sort of unseemly and brutish incident.

I was, of course, over the moon, with The Alpaca Stud winning both the Huacaya and Suri Champion herd sire awards. Maybe we are doing something right! And what a success story for Popham and Fowberry to name just two. We nearly ended up cutting our own throat by entering a few of Warrior’s progeny. When we won one half of the junior male class I assumed it was one of the Jaquintos. But no! The class was won by Warrior’s son Buddy Bear. I will have to ask Brenda and Jeff Bugler if they will give us a few matings from Warrior this year!

I can’t write a blog without indulging in a little Board bashing—those volunteers who get nothing but criticism.

1. What little money “we” have left after a £100K bung to Animal Health (which I pessimistically predict will achieve nothing—I am happy to explain if anyone is interested) is being spent on things like 2 new small trailers (did the others really earn their keep-and there were 2—what happened to the last small one?). £3000 for the stand at the Futurity! I trust it was not spent. What was there was adequate but can’t have cost more than £150. Where is the expenditure on taking the industry forward? Helping smaller breeders to get their businesses started and effect sales. I hear we have had a marketing committee for a year or more. Has it done anything apart from talk? How much are we spending on trying to put our training in the hands of neo-civil servants? Regulate, employ, have meetings…..Are not alpaca breeders incredible entrepreneurs. Risk takers. The training courses I have been on are good with very willing breeders giving their time for peanuts to teach us. If it ain’t broke don’t fix it. There are so many things that need fixing without wasting time and money on Lantra (grey is the word!)

2. Perhaps enough for this blog except I will mention a small but indicative point. I wrote to Shaun a week or two ago as I was interested to see exactly what we are paying Grassroots for doing and how exactly the formal relationship is set out in the contract. Perhaps some of you would also like to see how we are spending this tranche of our money. I had to send a chaser but was told in reply that it had been sent to me twice. Well, unfortunately it did not arrive. But it now won’t be sent because Grassroots has objected to the disclosure. To the very members who pay the bills? Sadly it seems I will have to dig out my legal grey cells. Very secretive! I wonder why?

3. Can I remind Show organisers that the Board’s wish for no fans at shows is only a guideline. Well done Lindsey Skinner! You can do whatever you think is sensible and, to my mind, sweaty alpacas in stale air is madness—and cruel. Ask Animal Health. We will not be going to any such shows (Hurrah! I hear) but neither will a considerable number of other alpacas.

Well the sun is out and the market is moving and I am really positive about the future despite (sadly) a number of breeders selling up. There is still a degree of madness out there thinking any import is sexy. Look at the show results and see if it’s true.

PS. Some of you may know that a nice person hacked into the Futurity Auction website and almost completely ruined the sales. Well, after a lot of hard work I am pleased to say that the police, BT and our IT guys have just about identified the codes to trace the culprit. I have asked Mick George—whose website was used as the point of entry to let me have first shot at the perpetrator before he steps in!

John


14th of January 2010
As rumours unfortunately proliferate in our industry about breeders’ problems we would confirm what we have already published, that following an alpaca from Devon and an alpaca from Shropshire dying as a result of bTB, and those alpacas having been here at overlapping times in the previous 18 months for breeding, we agreed to have our whole herd tested. This was done by vets from Animal Health/DEFRA in June/July this year. The entire herd tested clear. West Sussex is in a clean area of the country and neither our alpacas nor any which have visited here have had any problem since then. We require any alpaca which dies on this farm to be autopsied by the Veterinary Investigation Centre at Winchester and no alpaca from any area of the UK where bTB is known to be present is allowed on farm without prior testing. All client alpaca paddocks are double fenced from the home herd and stud males are not used for spit offs.

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