The AGM will be asked to approve an amendment to the Breed Standard, and to note changes to the Registration regulations that have been approved by the Board of Trustees.
The Breed Standard Committee has examined the 2020 Breed Standard, in the light of last year’s European meeting. The committee found that the UK standard, which has always been based closely on the French standard, needed little updating and recommended that the Society should continue to align itself with the French standard whilst embracing the European proposals.
Minor changes to the wording of the description of the nose, horns and tail are proposed and the layout of the standard has been clarified by the removal of notes and comments, which will now appear in a separate guide to the Standard that is under production. The single major change is the removal of the clause that allowed limited spotting. This clause was introduced to the Standard in 2020 following the adoption of an identical clause in the French standard. The French society announced at the European meeting that they intended to reverse this change; the Breed Standard Committee recommends that, regardless of the actions of the French society, the clause on spotting should be removed from the UK standard. This is likely to bring us into line with European proposals.
The committee further recommended that there should be no change to the Society’s policy that wattles are described in the Standard as ‘permitted but not desirable’ (although it proposed a change to the Approved Ram scheme – see below). Members should note that wattles remains the one area in which the UK Standard differs substantially from the French standard, although we are aligned with other European societies who have adopted a similar approach.
A draft of the proposed Breed Standard may be found here
The Breed Standard Committee recommended two changes to the Registration Regulations, which were agreed by the Board at its meeting on 11 September:
The committee recommended that undesirable characteristics should not be included in the criteria for Approved Rams and recommended an amendment to paragraph 15.b. of the regulations.
Imports from France
Since achieving zootechnical accreditation from DEFRA, and third country recognition by the EU, the Society is only able to admit into the Main Register of the flock book imported sheep that are accompanied by a zootechnical certificate from another EU accredited society that is recognized by DEFRA. The French Society does not have EU accreditation. This is an unsatisfactory position, given the origins of the breed, and the importance of French bloodlines. Indeed, DEFRA has asked the Society to consider importing fresh bloodlines from France.
The committee noted that DEFRA may approve a system of importing hardy and rare breed sheep without compromising zootechnical accreditation. The imports must be placed in a supplementary register and graded up over 3 generations to allow the progeny of imports to fully registered. The committee recommended the creation of a new category of the Annex to the flock book for sheep imported from France, provided that they:
- Have a minimum of three generations of pedigree information (it is understood that without a proper flock book in France, this information would be supplied by the breeder).
- Have a conformation certificate issued by French society.
- Pass inspection against the UK breed standard. In the case of rams, they must pass inspection at the level of an Approved Ram.
The Board agreed that the permission of DEFRA should be applied for.
A draft of the changes to the Registration Regulations which has been approved by the Board is here.
Categorization of Sheep
Members will recall that the European meeting discussed the creation of 3 categories or classes of sheep, based on their colour:
- Traditional Ouessants (Likely to be Black)
- Contemporary Ouessants (Likely to be all other standard colours)
- Non-Standard Ouessants (Sheep meeting the breed standard in every regard except for colour e.g. Agouti Grey)
The Breed Standard Committee has examined the proposal in outline, but is awaiting its details from the French and other European societies before the committee can make a recommendation to the AGM. The committee will ask the AGM for its approval to continue to consider this matter, and will report back to the next AGM.