A major milestone for Kalahari Red goat breeders was taken in Australia last Friday with the announcement of the formation of a separate association for the breed.
Before that, animals with Kalahari Red genetics in Australia were registered under the Boer goat banner with a K suffix.
The architect of change, Victorian breeder Alison Langley said her phone had not stopped ringing since the announcement, including for “mothership” stallions in South Africa.
“This decision means that we are perhaps the first association in the world dedicated to the Kalahari Red breed,” she said. “Even in South Africa the herders are under the Boer banner.”
The move was precipitated by the Boer Goat Breeders Association of Australia’s refusal to recognize the Kalahari Reds as a separate breed, according to Ms Langley.
“This despite South Africa doing it,” she said.
“Our old house was under Boer rule, their beliefs. They said they didn’t think the Kalahari Red was a separate race; they say it’s a Red Boer.
“I don’t know why, after X years, they can’t recognize that he has turned into a separate race.”
According to a breed history page on the South African Boer Goat Association website, DNA testing in 1998 demonstrated sufficient genetic separation between the Boer, Savannah and Kalahari Red breeds, resulting in the formation of the Kalahari Red. Club in 1999.
South Africa-based Karoo Livestock Exports says on its Kalahari Red page that DNA testing has “found a large genetic gap between Kalahari Reds and other South African goat breeds.”
BGBAA’s inability to recognize the breed and therefore provide registration documents showing their Kalahari ancestry threatened their booming export potential, Ms Langley said.
“Two years ago they were happy to recognize us as a separate breed and now they don’t, according to a letter I received telling me they were removing the K code from my registration.
“We have a sensational export market, but without papers, we might as well sell to slaughterhouses.
“We had no choice and to be honest we should have done it years ago.”
Blackall’s stallion Seaford Reds set a new Australian record last year, selling a purebred Kalahari Red colt for $ 11,070 on AuctionsPlus.
There have been many unsuccessful attempts to solicit comments from BGBAA President Dean Smith.
The new group was to hold its first annual general meeting by Zoom this week, to elect a board of directors and decide on membership fees, after which it would receive memberships, establish a herdbook and registration process, and create a website.
“Our main priority is to provide a home for the Kalahari Reds and to promote the breed,” Ms. Langley said.
Goat Industry Council of Australia Chairman John Falkenhagen hailed the move as an absolutely positive step for the goat industry.
“They are masters of their own destiny, whereas before they thought they were not,” he said. “To have an association representing two different races, they thought that was a challenge.”
Mr. Falkenhagen told his mind that there was no conflict between the two races, as both had good attributes.
“The goat industry in Australia is maturing so fast, it’s a great place,” he said.
“None of us know where the prices will end up yet.
“The Kalahari Reds, from a genetic perspective, have a lot to offer.”
Ms Langley said the new organization would be heavily focused on commerce rather than show ribbons.
“We are focused on advancing the freight train of the meat industry,” she said. “We believe in the future of this exceptional goat and are passionate about seeing this breed consistently perform and excel in the harsh Australian environment in which it is raised.”
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The story of head-hitting goat herders first appeared on Queensland Country Life.