The Australian Boer Goat Breeders Association has suggested that the creation of a National Kalahari Red Goat Breeders Association last month is linked to commercialization and not based on genetic differences.
One of the instigators of the move, Victorian breeder Alison Langley, said the formation of a separate association was precipitated by the BGBAA’s refusal to recognize the Kalahari Reds as a separate breed.
She said the lack of recognition and the resulting lack of registration documents showing the ancestry of a Kalahari goat threatened their booming export potential.
BGBAA President Dean Smith said the industry as a whole wanted more clarity, which has been a goal of the association since the colored goat discussion began in 2017.
“The industry needs uniformity in genetics, performance and color to meet the needs of local and international markets,” he said.
Mr Smith cited regulations issued by the South African government for the Animal Improvement Act of 1998 which included a table listing “Kalahari Red”, “SA Boer Goat” and “Savanna Goat” as separate local breeds.
“Landrace” has been defined in law as “… a specified breed of a type of animal native or developed in the Republic”.
“Subsequent publications in South Africa have attempted to further define these local breeds, with remarkably similar descriptions,” Mr. Smith added. “The biggest differences are the color of the hair and possibly the geographic areas the animals have grown on.”
The 2004 merger of the Kalahari Red Club and the Boer Goat Breeders Association of South Africa saw the Kalahari Reds incorporated into the BGBASA breed standard with identical descriptions except for color, according to Mr Smith.
“It is well known that it is common practice in South Africa for herders to join SA Boer goats with the Kalahari Reds in continued efforts to ‘strengthen’ the physical attributes of their animals,” he said. . “This same practice is common, if not universal, for breeders of colored goats in Australia. “
Mr Smith said the term Kalahari was first applied in Australia to goats owned or bred by BGBAA members after red-colored goats or embryos were imported to Australia from South Africa via New Zealand in the late 1990s.
“The pedigree information provided to the BGBAA registrar suggests that all of these animals were descendants of both a mother and father registered as Boer goats in South Africa,” he said.
Further explaining the BGBAA’s position on how it views the Kalahari red goats, Mr Smith said the section of the South African Boer Goat Breeders Association website devoted to the origin and l The history of the Kalahari reds clearly implies that the “brown goats” which have been called the Kalahari reds are derived from Boer stallion goats; and that “excellent marketing techniques” have been applied “to promote the brown goat and register it as a breed”.
The page notes that Albie Horn, the inaugural president of the Kalahari Red Herders Association from 1999-2004, “spotted the remarkable properties of brown goats,” taking the lead with excellent marketing techniques and focusing on promotion of the brown goat and for it to be registered as a breed.
“He put a lot of emphasis on the maternal characteristics of the brown goat, as well as on its hardiness and adaptability to the Kalahari desert area where he was breeding,” the page says. “At the same time, he realized that the brown goats could improve our native goats and the native Australian goats and that the brown goat could provide them with uniform coloring.”
Further down the page it says that in 1998 the goats were shown with the savannas in Bloemfontein, under the name Brown Savanna.
“The aspiration to have your own race was a great driving force,” he says.
“This required DNA testing to determine if there was sufficient genetic separation between the Boer, Savannahs and Kalahari Reds goats.
“The tests were conducted by Dr Marida Roets who also helped secure international funding from the FOA for the tests.
“Breeders such as Louis van Rensburg and Ben Vorster were concerned about their breeding from Boer goats, but the results of all tests showed that the difference between brown goats and Boer goats was greater than between Boer goats. and the Savannahs. . “
Ms Langley said that after a number of years the Kalahari red goats had evolved into a distinct breed, and she couldn’t understand why the Boer Goat Breeders Association of Australia couldn’t get it. to acknowledge.
Mr Smith said the website clearly co-opted the production benefits attributed to the SA Boer goat to the Kalahari Reds.
“Is this a triumph of marketing over common sense? Maybe. But what would agriculture and farming be without boundless optimism,” he said.
One of the reasons that led to the formation of a separate Kalahari Red association in Australia, according to Ms Langley, was the BGBAA’s requirement to remove the K suffix from animal registration documents.
“We have a sensational export market but without papers, we might as well sell to slaughterhouses,” she said.
Mr Smith acknowledged that the BGBAA’s regulations changed in 2017, saying that since the association started in Australia in 1994, it has registered the pedigree of colored goats bred by members under the names of Kalahari Reds, Australian or Aussie Reds and Red Boer.
This was causing confusion among buyers, especially overseas buyers, according to comments received. The Board of Directors therefore conducted a member consultation in 2017 with the aim of clarifying the situation.
“While breeders of colored goats were unable to agree on a common name for what were essentially animals with the same genetic makeup, a consensus emerged. that BGBAA could clarify the situation for buyers by grouping all colored animals into single registers of red Boer goats and black Boer goats; and that the reference to the term Kalahari and the use of the associated code K be removed from official BGBAA registers and terminology, ”Smith said.
“As regulations have changed, registries cannot continue something that is not up to date.
“If a sire or dam were registered before 2017, they would display the K, but their offspring will be registered as a red Boer goat or black Boer goat with a different breed code (i.e. not K) shown. in the corresponding register and on the ancestry certificate. “
He concluded by saying that BGBAA did not have a particular perspective on creating a separate Kalahari Red association in Australia.
“People who find it difficult to live with governance arrangements and regulations approved by a clear majority of members are free to create their own group and administer that group as they see fit.
“The majority of the BGBAA members wish to focus on further developing the best meat goat in the world, namely the Boer goat.
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