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Re: showing fish
John Wubbolt wrote:
snip (some very good comments) ...
> In my opinion standards need to
> be established and followed by all the judges irregardless of particular
> tastes. Just my opinion...
Everyone has one, as the old joke goes, so here's mine.
The dilemna always faced by AKA showing is that the bulk of our fish are
wild-type fish. We do have some lovely aquarium strains that have been
selected for size, color, etc. We also have 30 wild species or more for
every one of those "mutants."
The whole purpose of judging, normally, is to try to "improve" a breed.
Whether it is milk cows, hogs, cats or dogs, the effort is to define a
"perfect" animal, in the form of a standard, and then *change* the current
stock to get closer and closer to that standard with time. You simply can't
retain normal "wild" diversity and approach the standard, too. You can't
even *write* a standard to cover the diversity in many wild fish.
AKA has usually wanted to reward the distribution and exhibition of rarer
fish, so extra judging consideration (points) will often be given for such
things as a collection ID. That is, wilder fish are deliberately given an
edge over larger, more colorful, selectively-bred fish. Cool!
Showing to judged standards is deeply in conflict with species preservation.
There, you *avoid* selection for size, or color, and, to keep high genetic
diversity, you gang-spawn, swap stock, etc. It is quite the opposite of
trying to "breed better pigs" as a cynical German friend puts it. The
filaments on the male's tails are always missing by show time, for example.
This dichotomy tends to make the ribbon awards a bit meaningless. That's OK,
for it is a chance to get the fish before the public and have a fun outing.
If you want a trophy, I have found that a long record of hard work for the
show-giving club or the AKA almost guarantees a ribbon of some kind. I know.
The judges aren't supposed to know whose fish they are judging, but it
really doesn't work that way in our rather small community, apparently. IDK
if those choices are even conscious. They do tend to happen.
The moral of the story is to keep the good of the fish and of the hobby up
front in your consideration. The AKA could really live up to its potential
by resolving the apparent conflict I have described, so we can have really
fun shows without deliberately altering wild species to win a ribbon. I
don't know the best way to do that, but I am quite certain that rigid
standards will do more harm than good if we want to keep any of our fish
close to their wild heritage. It should *not* be a "breeding better pigs"
OTOH, good competition can give our husbandry skills a serious work out, and
create a good climate for friendly rivalry and companionship at the bar.
That's always good for the fish and for the hobby.
The present system relies on the individual judgement of more senior
breeders or collectors, and it is scary enough that I have deliberately
avoided entering more than a token pair or two to support a show now and
then. I guess it's the best we can do for now, but I would love it if the
AKA BOT could come up with a plan to study and adjust the process to meet
the diverse needs of the killy community, without harming our wild-type fish
too much. [Is this an "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," thing?]
PS. BTW, my one entry in the WCW this year took a third-place win in a big
class. I didn't put the collection location on that entry, either. It was
the Newark CA PETsMART. (^_^)
Wright Huntley, Fremont CA, USA, 510 494-8679 huntleyone at home dot com
"DEMOCRACY" is two wolves and a lamb voting on lunch.
"LIBERTY" is a well-armed lamb denying enforcement of the vote.
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