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A short report on the 2014 ARBA Convention

7 Nov

This last week marked the annual convention of the American Rabbit Breeders Association in Fort Worth, Texas. The national cavy club is a subsidiary of ARBA, so the Convention includes a massive guinea pig show in addition to the obvious rabbit-related festivities. And by massive I mean it’s probably the single largest cavy- and rabbit-related event in the nation.

Unfortunately, this year I was unable to attend, because Fort Worth is a long way from my house, and I’m broke-ish at the moment. So no Convention for me. Fortunately I have friends who Facebooked the entire event, so I can update you all on some of the Convention’s most important happenings.

Of course, the show itself trumps all other Convention-related business, in my opinion. In the open show, Best in Show went to a white American, and Reserve in Show went to a satin Abyssinian. Youth Best in Show went to the texel, and Reserve in Show went to an American.

I know everyone loves pictures, so I will try to get a slide show of the winners as soon as the official photos are released.

Additionally, the results of the annual ARBA and ACBA elections were announced during the Convention. Congratulations to Mary Lou Eisel, returning ACBA president, Michael Welsh, District 2 representative, Lisa Pordon, District 4 representative, Karen DeHaven, District 6 representative, and Laurie Norman, District 8 representative. The new standard for the Tan Abyssinian, which makes the tan an official variety of that breed, also passed with a vote of 194 to 8.

Those of you who did attend the Convention: Did I miss anything important?

The next big upcoming show is the American Cavy Breeder’s Specialty show, which is a smaller annual convention dedicated exclusively to cavies. The 2015 Specialty will take place April 10-12 in Berea, Ohio. Unfortunately, Ohio is an even longer way from home, so I doubt I will be able to attend. After Specialty, the 2015 ARBA Convention will be held next fall in Oregon.

Correction: The mail-in vote taken for the tan Aby was to ask the ACBA membership if it should be advanced towards the entire process of getting accepted into the ARBA standard.  Just one step on this journey.  It is not an officially accepted variety.

The Tan Abyssinians and also the Otter Americans were there for viewing by the cavy subcommittee the ARBA Standards Committee Chair. These were development/informational presentations only.  Later would start the official presentations.

The 2014 election is upon us

5 Sep

It’s that time of year again — time for filling out and mailing in ballots for the national ACBA election. This being an even-numbered year, we have some major decisions that need to be made and a club president to select.

For ACBA members, your ballots should have already arrived in the mail. You also should have seen the candidates’ personal statements in this month’s copy of the Journal of the American Cavy Breeders Association. This is just a friendly reminder to review the statements, make you selections, and send in your ballots in a timely fashion so your vote is counted. As with just about every other organization, votes and other similar activities may seem mundane, but they are essential to the functioning of the ACBA.

This year we have multiple nominees for ACBA president, and for district directors for districts two (Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada and Utah, as well as Mexico) and eight (Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan and Manitoba and Ontario in Canada). Districts four (Arkansas, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas) and six (Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, as well as Puerto Rico) must also select a director this year, but currently there is a single candidate for each position. Of course, write-in campaigns are always a possibility.

Officers within the ACBA are responsible for managing the club’s day-to-day functions — which mostly means they set up and attend meetings where they make decisions regarding how this or that ought to be run. But current candidates said they have discovered that the club’s officers take on a leadership role beyond the narrow scope defined by the ACBA constitution.

“Personally, as a member of ACBA and a cavy lover, I have helped to educate the general public with fairs, clinics, flyers and handouts, pet shows, the internet, and other means to further interest in and correct knowledge of cavies, whether for pets or show animals,” said Rosalie Beard, a candidate for district two director.

Beard said the ACBA also works closely with the American Rabbit Breeders Association to create a merged lobbying force that currently works “on a national level for the protection of pet owners and breeders rights. They are in the process of banding together with other animal groups to inform the government agencies on the practicalities of some of the laws that are being considered.”

And the influence of the ACBA is currently growing, on account of the increasing worldwide interest in cavies, said Mary Lou Eisel, who is running for a second term as ACBA president.

“The cavy fancy is growing in leaps and bounds, not just in North America but worldwide,” Eisel said, adding that it takes her nearly an hour every day to review correspondence related to the cavy fancy.

For those who wish to further the educational and political missions of the ACBA, running for a national office within the club allows them to become more deeply involved. Laurie Norman, a first-time national candidate who is running to represent district eight, said she felt running for office would allow her to become more involved with the ACBA while she waited for the right time to apply to become a cavy judge.

“I wanted to get involved within ACBA somehow because I attend a lot of shows within my district and I get approached by a lot of people with questions about the fancy and ACBA,” Norman said. “So when I found out that the district eight rep spot was opening up I figured that would be a great opportunity to represent my district.”

Only current ACBA members are eligible to vote in ACBA elections. If you’re not currently a member, but you want a part of the action, you are always welcome to join. There’s even an online application form now! If you’re a cavy lover, we’d love to have you.

Also, if you are a candidate or currently serving in an elected position and would like to address the national cavy community via the Wheekly Reader, please feel free to contact us at

Election season is nearly upon us

13 Jun

No, not the U.S. presidential election, but national positions with the ACBA are opening, and it’s time to send in your nominations.

As an odd-numbered year, 2013 might be considered something of an off year. But there are still numerous positions expected to open this fall — the vice president and board members from districts 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 will be up for election. Nominations for these positions are due July 1.

The board of directors acts more or less like the ACBA’s version of congress — they are able to make and change rules regarding national cavy shows and other related affairs. The vice president is also a voting member of the board, and is responsible for assuming the duties of the ACBA president, who oversees and convenes the board, in case the president is no longer able to carry out his duties.

Only established members who are in good standing with the ACBA are eligible for nomination. Ballots will be mailed to members in early fall, and the results will be announced at the ARBA convention in October. This year’s convention will be held in Pennsylvania.

Local elections are held separately.

If you are running for office this year and would like to spread the word about your candidacy, please contact the Wheekly Reader by emailing