Fellow ACFA North Central Members,
In my September 6 email to ACFA North Central members, I mentioned a shortened approval process for registration and championship status for breeds already recognized by at least two other major cat fancies. The purpose of this email is to contrast the proposal with the current rules.
Today, breeds accepted by two other major cat associations (for a minimum of one year) can go directly into probationary status, if they meet certain requirements and are approved by the ACFA board of directors (BOD). This skips the "experimental" status, which is required if the breed is not already accepted in two other associations. Breeds in probationary status can then be approved for championship status after a year or more of NBC showing, if approved by the board. Neither of these steps toward championship status involves a vote of the general membership.
With the proposed update, the breeds accepted by two other major cat associations can skip the probationary status if approved by the board. We'll look at the consequences of skipping the NBC year below, but for now, it's important to recognize that if approved, this registration rule update would not take any voting rights away from the general membership.
Accepting new breeds has always been up to the board, and the proposed registration rule update doesn't change that.
Note that although we use the term "NBC", this registration rule update only deals with "NB", and not "C". New colors continue to be proposed by the breed section, approved by the board with input from the genetics committee, and voted on by the breed section.
Today, the proposal to accept a new breed must have a standard of perfection, general description, photos, historical background, and a genetics review.
The proposed registration rule update doesn't change any of that.
The proposed registration rule update does change this. It allows one ACFA member or the BOD to propose a new breed (recognized by two other associations) and supply the required documents (see above). If the genetics committee approves, the board can approve the breed for championship status before there are any ACFA members representing the breed. This change gets at the intent of the registration rule update: to attract new people to ACFA who would not otherwise join and could not participate in ACFA shows because their breeds aren't recognized by ACFA.
This rule update could result in a situation in which, initially at least, there are few cats of the new breed shown in ACFA. This is the same situation we have today with some of the breeds we already recognize, so it would not be a new phenomenon.
In contrast with some of the less common breeds we recognize today, several of the breeds suggested by the committee that proposed the shortened approval process have numerous breeders who are already in other associations. Accepting them in ACFA gives them the welcome choice to join "the friendly association" and show the breeds they love. This could let ACFA expand our cat registry and membership not just by ones and twos but by handfuls, dozens, maybe even more, within the first year of accepting a new breed.
The proposed registration rule update eliminates this requirement for breeds recognized by two other associations.
A year of NBC showing gives proponents of experimental breeds a chance to refine their standard of perfection, based on dialog with ACFA judges. In contrast, each of the breeds that might be accepted as a result of the proposed rule update has already been through other associations' "NBC" processes, so a well-developed standard of perfection already exists for the breed.
For breeders who show in other associations, it is beneficial to follow the same standard in ACFA as in the other associations, so another year of refining the standard in ACFA is not only unnecessary, it typically results in no changes to the already-accepted standard of perfection.
At the Annual, BOD judges expressed confidence that because ACFA judges have been trained to evaluate a cat based on the written standard, they are perfectly capable of doing that with new breeds, just as they have done in past when they didn't see a new breed during the NBC year. They also pointed out that most proposed new breeds would be similar in type to breeds ACFA accepts today. Furthermore, breed seminars can educate judges and exhibitors alike on the new breeds, just as we do today for breeds we have already accepted.
Two other points are important:
If the registration rule update passes, the board members who are in office at the 2011 Semi may begin considering new breed proposals, and they will consider each proposed breed individually, taking member feedback into account.
Even if the board accepts a breed that is similar to one we already have today (e.g., European Burmese, which is similar to our Burmese), each breed will be controlled by its own breed committee, not the board.
The proposed registration rule update can help ACFA grow and become stronger while continuing to support and respect our current members and cat breeds. Please give it your thoughtful consideration.
North Central Regional Director