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By: "Sue Rehyna"
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The depth and breadth of the controversy can be seen in the remarkable numbers of accompanying articles, briefs, and letters to the editor in each of these journals . . . and the ones following. Essentially, the "camps" were divided into three groups:

  • 1) The "purists" who argued (in a near hysterical fashion) that the breeding together of two purebreds of differing persuasions resulted (after the 1st cross) in highly defective progeny that demonstrated an astounding and virtually complete collapse of all systems caprine. Several reasons were cited for the unfortunate popularity of crossbreds, the primary ones being the poor breeding choices being made by those raising purebred stock; the prevalence of "big producing grades" rather than pure breed in goat dairies; the fact "...that many of the men who are really fitted and have the proper education for the breeding of pure breeds are more interested in the experimental side that appeals to them in the producing of crossbreds"; and a prevailing belief that much of the rationale for cross-breeding was based on the fear of in-breeding. An interesting theme that arose from this group was prejudice against horned bucks. Horns were ranked right up there with low milk production. Several writers even suggested that horned bucks should never be sold, no matter their quality.

  • 2) The opposing camp that was interested more in milk production and vigor than in the maintenance of pure breed stock (clearly those milk producers who refused to get rid of their high producing grades and sink big bucks into purebreds who admittedly weren't milking as well....).

  • 3) A third group who accepted that some accommodation between the first two groups needed to be made. The proliferation of very poor purebreds (attributed mainly to breeders who considered any purebred to be preferable to any grade without concern for functionality) discouraged their purchase by those breeders who wanted that functionality. As per Selrahc, "There are many pure bred goats that in point of production are but little better than the so-called scrub and in reality they are pure bred scrubs...." This discrepancy in production had resulted in crossbreeding programs focusing on superior type and production and these animals could not in conscience be excluded from future herd books.

In the March, 1922 Goat World, Dr. J. W. Thompson, in an attempt to reconcile the situation, suggested record books with three divisions: purebreds ("with rigid conditions of admission to the class"); a second division "compassing all grades in process of breeding up to a set standard, either by pedigree solely or aided by performing or producing credits, with a system of rules prescribing the requirements" and a third division, based wholly on performance and production of performers, by both sexes, cataloguing the true aristocrats and supplying a measure of merit that means something." In his fourth installment, The Goal, Dr. Selrahc finally defines the goal as ". . . milk! Milk! MILK! MILK! and notes that "... the keynote of almost every contribution [to Goat World] is MILK. Disease-proof, germ-free milk production is the only real reason for our fussing and bothering with the goat. The advocate of cross-breeding claims in defense of his course that he gets more and better milk. The crank on pedigrees makes the same claims. So also do those who contend for official testing. The goal is the same, but each advocate seems to think, and that honestly too, that his special method is the high road to the goal."

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

GoatWorld Editor Note: Please note that references to "Goat World" within this article refer to a separate entity entitled "Goat World" that existed many years ago. I am extremely happy to be carrying the torch for a name that has already been previously used but out of respect for this entity, we have chosen to use the name GoatWorld and not Goat World so there shall be no conflict of interest.

About the author: No information is available about this author.

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