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RESOLVED: Effective April 30, 2021 (start of current show season), amend Rules for Registration© (Revised November 15, 2015), ARTICLE I – REGISTRATION, Section 4 – Cat Names, paragraph following Titles, to reduce the requirement for males from 15 to 10 with a cutoff for retroactive application. Central Office will not automatically apply the new criteria to cats in prior seasons; owners must notify Central Office of their cats’ eligibility if they meet the new requirement between January 1, 2016, and the effective date of the change:
ARTICLE I – REGISTRATION
Section 4 – Cat Names: …
Titles – One or more official CFA titles, as outlined below, may appear as part of a cat’s name.
CH: Champion, … DM: Distinguished Merit, the title given to a cat which has produced the required number of Grand Champions, Grand Premiers or Distinguished Merit Cats (5 for females, 15 for males, and 10 for males that have produced a Grand Champion or Grand Premier after January 1st, 2016). AC (Agility Competitor), …
RATIONALE: This will reduce the requirement for males to 10 for those males that have been actively producing grands within the last 5 years. We will not be able to get instant DMs for cats long removed from active breeding. Inactive cats found by pedigree line-chasers will still be able to qualify with 15 qualifying offspring.
Requiring a breeder to keep a male whole long enough to achieve 15 grands is no longer in the best interest of the male, nor is it in the best interest of the breed.
When this award was created, we had more breeders and it was easier to share studs. More breeders using the same stud made it possible to grand 15 offspring within a reasonable amount of time. Our number of breeders has decreased significantly, and in a small cattery it is often only the owner of the stud that can grand offspring. 15 grands requires keeping the male whole much longer than his genetic usefulness for the breed, and this means he spends more of his life confined. No award should require keeping cats whole longer than we should for the best interest of the cat and/or breed.
Another consequence of the 15 requirement is a lack of genetic diversity within the breed. Having to keep a male whole long enough to get 15 grands means breeders will keep using that male before moving on to the next generation or before getting a diverse outcross, leading to “popular sire” syndrome. Sending the offspring to other breeders to grand them spreads the “popular sire” around. Years later, when we find out that the “popular sire” produced unwanted traits, like kidney and liver issues, it’s too late. The cat is in nearly every pedigree and difficult to avoid. The decrease in the number of breeders of all pedigreed cats in CFA has exacerbated this problem because we have so few breeders to turn to for outcrosses. Many of our once large breeds now have a severe lack of genetic diversity, and more than a few “popular sires”. The requirement for a male to produce 15 qualifying offspring does nothing to increase genetic diversity and with “popular sires” actually reduces it.
Please consider reading this article entitled “Genetic Consequences of Breed Formation” by
From the article, “The popular sire syndrome is the single most influential factor in restricting breed gene pool diversity. There is a difference between a popular sire gaining significant average relationship to the breed population and that of an influential ancestor. The influential ancestor’s contribution is continually evaluated with each generation of their descendants for the presence of quality and absence of defect. Each generational descendent must demonstrate their superiority over other individuals to maintain breeding status. A popular sire’s genetic influence can only be evaluated after its genes have been widely disseminated; when its recessive influences are exposed. If there are issues with quality or defect, it is more difficult to reverse a popular sire’s influence. Purging a popular sire’s lines also results in the loss of influence of the assorted quality dam lines he was bred to.”
Offering an award to males that produce 15 grands encourages the use of popular sires and requires that the breeders keep these males whole longer keeping more of their genes in the population, severely reducing the diversity in that population.
If a male can produce 10 grands, that male can certainly in time produce 15 grands. What is the value added in requiring the 11th thru 15th grand that outweighs the detriment to the cat and breed? If we are to keep males whole longer, locked in cages or if they are lucky in rooms, and if we are to sacrifice genetic diversity, surely there is some value to requiring those 5 more grands. What is it? Without significant value, surely we must treat our studs and breeds better than this. The title must be reduced to 10 for males.
To produce 10 grands, a male that averages 1 or 2 grands per litter would meet the requirement in 5-10 litters. This is certainly enough litters out of one male to make his mark on a breed. More litters than 10 does nothing for the breed except reduce genetic diversity to the breed’s detriment, and requires that the male be kept whole and likely confined for much longer in his life.
As an association CFA must keep pace with current, scientifically accepted Best Practices and show due diligence by decreasing the necessity of “breeding for record” to earn titles. Reducing the number of Grand offspring required to DM a male from 15 to 10 would be a significant step towards increasing genetic diversity and improving the overall health of our breeds.
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