PDCA - One Blog

Welcome to the first Dexter cattle blog to disseminate information for members of the Purebred Dexter Cattle Association of North America (PDCA) and for those with a curiosity about Irish Dexter cattle, cattle in general, as well as news from the PDCA. Expressions of opinion are to not be regarded as expressing the official opinion of the PDCA unless expressly stated. Hopefully you will find something here of interest and don't overlook browsing through the archives. Comments are welcomed.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Dexter Mythology

Over the past 16 years I've heard a great many Dexter myths. I'm calling them myths because it sounds less harsh than lies and also there's always the possibility of something originally being misunderstood and changed with the retelling. Many of these myths surrounded what caused bulldogs before there was a test. Some of these may have been a result of defensiveness in a breeder's own breeding program or an honest desire for the untrue to be true. Most people generally try to avoid confrontation but we've witnessed what can happen when myths extend to an association and are not openly confronted to bring about resolution. New people come along and since the myths are tolerated they assume there must be a grain of truth to them. Most cattle associations are a part of the breeders livelihood and are a considerable part of their operations. Myths about their breed or association can have damaging economic consequences and so scandals, rumors and lies are not tolerated either by the breeders or the association. Most Dexter breeders don't have the same dependence and capitol investment and so with some it becomes more of an investment of egos. Egos form cliques and so generally as Shakespeare might say, there's much ado about nothing.

I saw a classic example of a Dexter myth on a discussion board recently. While the poster was with another association and from a region where a lot of myths have been propagated the past several years, the purpose is not to discredit the individual but to convey how innocent appearing myths can be harmful to a breed. The poster stated they had heard from someone (myths are often from second-hand sources and therefore difficult to hold someone accountable for) who had their herd classified. Well, the story goes that a classifier came out and stood outside the fence, looked at the herd from a distance and gave the cows all scores in the high 90's. Let's dissect a myth. Classifiers are trained professionals and I'm sure most probably have pride in their classification abilities. Two classifiers will generally be the same in their evaluation or sometimes within a point of each other. I suppose that it's possible there exists a lazy classifier or one having a bad day that might put down scores without a good examination but this would be highly unlikely. Usually herds that are classified will be classified again later often by a different classifier and so a lazy classifier would be risking their reputation by not properly doing their job. Also, how likely would it be for a breeder whose herd scored in the high 90's to undermine the process by passing on a tale critical of the classifier and system of classification? Not very. Common sense would dictate to me that more likely either the breeder did not receive high scores on their cattle or they maybe wish to devalue someone's herd that did receive high scores by suggesting that classification is meaningless. These kind of fabrications do more harm than good for a breed.

So herein lies another Dexter myth. Unfortunately they exist and like Hydra, when you chop the head off of one myth another one sprouts the head of a new myth. Be aware that Dexter myths exist but on behalf of the breed be vigilant in determining the truth.

PDCA - One Google