Just

There can be a world of difference between ´just´ or ´just not´ but the contrast may just as well be so small as to be negligible. This is more or less the essence of the discussion about Boet 516.
Facts first: the approval of Boet 516 complies with the Regulations of the Studbook. No, the Board had no procedural point of departure to ignore the, in terms of regulations, binding advice of the Jury. The Jury has taken the utmost care by requesting a second endoscopy. The jury has sought extensive advice regarding the subject of roaring so they have taken a thorough approach. And no, roaring basically has nothing to do with animal welfare. No, owners of previously rejected stallions with roaring have not been put at a disadvantage.
And then the opinions. The question whether or not the approval was a responsible action from a breed-technical perspective I tend to answer in the affirmative. The stallion´s qualities are beyond discussion and even though nobody has a crystal ball, the chance that this stallion will produce significantly more offspring with roaring than other stallions is a potential reality, but not very likely. Especially not compared to those stallions that fall within the category of ´just acceptable’. Moreover, we know that those individuals who don´t ´tick all the boxes´ often make the difference in breeding.
Does that lead to the conclusion that this was a just, or more to the point, a wise decision? The answer to this can only be negative. If you request the opinion of an expert of the faculty and this person puts the stallion in the category ‘not acceptable’ then you know in advance that a positive decision will lead to a lot of commotion within the society. Even when the faculty adds a little nuance to the diagnosis with the phrasing `just below’. Even when the, in veterinary terms, carefully established margin between ‘just’ and ‘just below acceptable’ is pretty arbitrary, particularly from a genetic point of view, the diagnosis stands and that´s what we have to deal with. Frenk Jespers very aptly put this into words at the discussion evening in Oldeboorn. ‘If we had envisaged how much commotion this decision would generate, we wouldn´t have done it.’ Not because he no longer backs the decision from a breed-technical point of view, but because you sometimes need to give priority to non-breed-technical arguments when dealing with a breed-technical issue within a society. Because the commotion it has caused is not to the advantage of the Friesian horse or the Studbook.
The future will tell. When the emotion inherent in this discussion has subsided a bit the final word is where it belongs: with the breeders. They are the ones to opt for ‘just’ or ‘just below’.