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Why I'm so happy (Re: standards)
There is no breed standard for killifish, and the judging is based on
principles and common sense of folks with real knowledge. That really makes
me happy. :-)
I first learned to judge cattle (both dairy and beef) as a child. Living in
rural settings can do such weird things to one.
I raised and showed purebred dogs. As President of the Breed Club, I was
answerable to the AKC for our breed standard.
Whether it is pigs for pork, or a bunch of horses showing their asses to a
bunch of horses asses showing their horses, such functions are based on one
premise. A standard can be written that describes a perfection that will
never be achieved. The objective is to CHANGE something from what it is to
what it might become. Note that word I shouted -- change.
We might well want to improve and *change* some of the aquarium strains of
killies like AUS Orange and Blue Gularis. If so, I think the breeders of
those fish should form a study/specialty group, and come up with a written,
objective standard that all reasonable judges will interpret the same way.
They are really hard to write, as they must be every bit as explicit and
unequivocal as the instructions on frozen food packages. Believe me, that's
some of the hardest use of language you will ever encounter.
For all other killies, purporting to be as close to wild types as our
aquaria will permit, we aren't after change. We want to reward good fish
husbandry that displays good sound fish with whole fins and nice color.
Bigger and brighter are not to be rewarded just like fatter on a pig. A
species has a nominal correct size (unless being raised by Bob Schwiegerath
or kept by Sue Bunte in Sonoma magnifying water). The judges should bend
over backward to avoid increasing the size of a species or changing its
Some fish, Bettas come to mind, are purely show animals, in no way
resembling any kind of wild fish. Standards and fin and color classes and a
host of show things are great for that type of fish. When the International
Betta Congress tried to write standards for the "other" Betta species, the
proverbial fecal matter was intimately in contact with the blades of the
air-moving device. Most of the breeders of peaceful little red Bettas just
dropped out or joined another organization. Visions of turning their ugly
little mouthbrooders into Orandas scared the pants off of them. We're a bit
in that boat.
That's why I'm so delighted that the AKA has had the wisdom to *not* write
standards for all our fish. [Well, doing that would be impossible, anyway. A
new collection of A. bettemidleri arrives every summer.] Some of my fish
have collection IDs going back over a quarter of a century. I like to tell
myself that they look a lot like the pictures in Scheel that are almost that
old. I, personally, think that's a good thing. YMMV.
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679 huntleyone at home dot com
It was all for naught. Taxation with representation sucks too!
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