The Italian Alpaca Society (Societá Italiana Alpaca; S.I.A. www.sialpaca.it) was born in late 2010 and is eager to follow the steps of more established societies across the globe, adapting its policies to the needs and visions of the many members that make available their expertise in order to build up a knowledge-based network to sustain the growth and development of alpaca products. Italian farms are characterised by herds of reduced size, with an average of 20-25 alpacas, which makes it difficult for single breeders to produce enough fibre to meet the industry's requirements. For this reason, S.I.A. is actively promoting cooperation among farmers and aims to support the development of an Italian brand that can be recognised by stylists and used to design fashionable clothing. Furthermore, it is recognised that farmers who own only few alpacas tend to focus their attentions on the aesthetics of the animals. The Italian Alpaca Society recognises this and has consequently devoted much effort to the creation of events in which breeders can compare thier animals and improve their breeding scheme. To this end, the S.I.A. organised the first Italian Championship of Alpaca on the last weekend of September 2011. The event was held in the Horse Centre made available by the city council of Cecina, a small town on the Tuscany coastline. On the day 24th there had been the annual society's general meeting, an occasion to share with its members progress and programmes for 2012. This was followed by an excellent Tuscan dinner, which was attended by the city?s Mayor and Tourism Councillor. On the next day, under a warm sun 55 alpacas competed in the championhip, of which 50 were huacaya and 5 suri. The British Alpaca Society's judge Tim Hey was extremely kind and helpful to all participants who approached him to ask for suggestion and advice. A large number of visitors attended the event and children were particularly curious to see the exotic animals and keen to pet them. Our alpacas once again demonstrated their splendid character and quiet behaviour in responding to the unusual attentions.
The Championship, together with a series of satellite events that will take place throughout the year, is intended to represent an annual contest to be held at the end of summer. For this reason, S.I.A. invites everybody to attend the 2nd Italian Championship of Alpaca in late September 2012.