Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles

Shetland Sheep: Rich in History, Rich in Textiles! Our farm mission is to enjoy and promote the wonderful diversity of the Shetland breed by fully utilizing to the best of our ability all they have to offer historically. We believe the best preservation and management of this breed includes it's full spectrum of history. We encourage old and new shepherds alike to join in the fun by engaging in fiber arts, especially spinning and knitting, as this breed is so intimately linked with those aspects of the arts.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Rain and our sheep organization

Well, I now know what it's like to receive rain, rain, rain, just like the Shetland Islands! We have had on and off pouring rain for the last two months now. Today was the worst yet...a worriesome downpour unlike much of anything I've ever seen...tropical storm-like. The sheep were inside for it all, which is good for the grass and soil.

On to our sheep organization. I have been deeply embarrassed by the current board we have, and the choices they have made over the last few months. I have had some correspondences with them that are not honest (on their part) nor professional(on their part). I came to learn in these correspondences that they were striving hard to redesign the breed. That is, they were NOT working for the membership and the Shetland breed, although they will be very quick to SAY they are. I have had to force certain situations (such as the removal of inappropriate posts) to at least spare some hope of integrity within our organization...but I haven't been able to chase all of the problems. One example is grossly inappropraite content on our organization's website. I'm not allowed to ask (censored off) valid questions that require communication with board members (which is what the list is FOR and members are invited to do so), but offensive posts regarding illegal drugs, drunkenness and gay lifestyles CAN post!!! Something is VERY wrong with that! (I have surely learned who's farm prefixes to avoid at all costs when purchasing sheep! If they behave like that on a public list, who KNOWs what you'd be buying in the animal.) Other problems have been outright lies and misrepresentation. More problems deal with intentional deception of the unknowing public, and ongoing support of members who knowingly mislead with skewed language...such as calling long staple length Shetlands "long wools". Drives me and many across our nation nuts with the deception, mistruths, and embarrassing language that this board supports with their allowance of these posts. For example, the paid board member who claims her opinions are not expressed "anywhere" on the website....sooooo not true!! Censorship has been a HUGE problem!!!!!! Since she has outright admitted censorship to me, her claims are obvious lies. The site on our breed organization's website is SUPPOSED to be an open forum for paid members. That couldn't be further from the truth. Opinions that do not match the moderator's opinion are censored off and discussion is not allowed to occur, even if you are a paying member, even though friends of her's, who support her views, are allowed to post slanderous, offensive comments regarding illegal substances, drunkenness, and alternative lifestyles, none of which pertain appropriately to sheep.

So, I am still waiting to hear about my questions...questions that the board has refused to answer, or continue posting on the site, because they don't want to have to answer them and convict themselves.

Question 1 Are my dues and regristration fees paying for all these "crammed" changes? Who is paying the attorney's fees to have made these changes "official"? I sure hope to God it wasn't MY money!!! Still no answer after weeks of waiting. I think that's because the answer is yes, my money did go to pay for those changes. That surely is not what I want to hear.

Question 2 I think it should be looked into to have a separate Ethics Committee to hold the board accountable for their actions. This current board has clearly demonstrated the need for this. No response...of course!!

Question 3 Does it make our organization look good if a current board member and THE person who plans a show earns a Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion, multiple firsts, a few other places with SIX different sheep in ONE show (twelve classes)? This is not a question of that person's character or sheep, or of the judge's decisions, but one of integrity. It makes our organization look bad. It also severely discourages other members from taking the time to bring sheep to show, or from being involved. My question...shouldn't we look into this obvious image problem now, so it doesn't happen again? One board member actually DID respond to this question tersely and briefly, that this situation has NEVER happened, therefore doesn't merit any further discussion. (See placings in the Newsletter, Jefferson show, 2009) I had hoped his response was an oops...apparently, it wasn't. I emailed him directly, shortly after his embarrassing reply to the membership, truly hoping he had just made an unfortuate error by not realizing what his fellow board members have done. No response or apologies to the membership, or me. Silence. Does he REALLY think nobody noticed?? the embarassing mismanagement problems continue on. I am not proud of this group. I do not want to associate with this group. I am personally relieved SOMETHING was done in the right direction in the most recent vote. It restores hope in me that our out of control board and their small group of supporters, who control the online flow of communication, is starting to realize they cannot hijack the breed organization and redesign it to their own personal liking.

My personal feelings? This board has been disasterous. They have disregarded the hard work of MANY that have gone before them. They HAVE a breed organization to be board members on today because others created this and gave it to us, the next generation. Those founders had preservation and protection in mind, not changes that redefine the breed into a new thing. I am NOT thankful for this current board's " hard work", because all that "hard work" has been scheming to change the breed into something less special, something more common (have they left any stone unturned?). Don't you find it suspicious that they felt strongly compelled to "revamp" everything, even though our organization is young? I wonder if the founders are watching this with sick feelings in their could they ever have known to prepare for such a hijacking? I AM thankful for the work those founders did, and our farm strives to carry on that work of protection and preservation, whether the new breed organization is with me, or not. Funny, I'm finding a lot of people who agree.

So my next question is this. How much longer is the membership going to tolerate these ugly people? How much longer are good members going to put up with this embarassing, bullyish, dominating and unprofessional camp? How much longer is the membership going to tolerate this ugly camp's trench digging of our breed's integrity and uniqueness? I read over and over people pleading that this trashing of our breed's reputation and dissolving of Shetland farms professionalism stop. But the board doesn't listen. They just let it go on and on and on because they have a goal and that goal doesn't involve the membership farms reputations or the sheep, it involves their mission to create a different kind of Shetland...many of them have a pile of "new...I believe they dub them 'classic' " lambs to sell you! ("classic" is a misnomer here) Since I'm almost always censored off the "official" sites, I guess I'll have to ask my question here. We all know who the "camp" is. I surely am careful to not buy from them. It's time to send them on their way. I think they'd be happier. Just think, if they could get their OWN breed association and start winning at shows without having to hijack an existing association and totally rewrite and revamp the rules, they'd be soooo happy!! That would make me happy, too.

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