Commissioned by the Board of the KFPS, Mr Mastenbroek has conducted an independent investigation into the governance of the Society in the spring of 2021. The assignment was partly consigned because of the unrest that followed the approval of the stallion Boet 516. The period to be investigated was defined as the start of the relevant stallion inspection trajectory on the 3rd of December 2018 until and including the Meeting of the Member Council on the 27th of November 2020 in which the investigation was announced. Meanwhile, the confidential report by Mr Mastenbroek has been presented to the Board and the Member Council. This article contains a summary of this confidential report.
As the title of the report and this article suggest, a number of incidents occurred in the past which have caused commotion within the Society. Over time, these incidents developed into something like a time bomb sitting under the Society. The approval of Boet 516 in the autumn of 2019 was the proverbial last straw. On December the 23rd 2019, more than five weeks after this stallion was approved, the publication of Boet 516’s stallion report was the moment when it became widely known that this stallion has cornage. In the stallion report the cornage is defined as ‘just not acceptable’ and with that falls within the lowest category used by experts to classify cornage: category 4. Until the moment of approval, the classification of the cornage as ‘just not acceptable’ was only known to a very small group of people and was not reported until the approval of Boet 516 was an accomplished fact. This course of action has caused a lot of unrest, lack of understanding and debate within the Society.
Mr. Mastenbroek (herafter: the investigator) has established that the Stallion Inspection Committee (hereafter: SIC) has acted correctly and conform Regulations. Even though Boet 516 left the Central Examination and the premises of the Training centre in Exloo for an unsupervised absence of five days, this did happen with the permission of the SIC and the Director and therefore constitutes no violation of Article 19 of the Conditions Central Examination. The permission was justified because cornage is a condition that cannot be manipulated, for which the investigator received the explicit confirmation from Prof. Dr Sloet. Another important point of discussion is the question whether this situation required verification against Article 3 of the breeding goal. Article 3 of the breeding goal states that health and vitality have to be subjected to high standards, including the absence of hereditary disorders, but the Stallion Inspection Regulations and the Conditions Central Examination contain no explicit clause that dictates such verification against the breeding goal. The investigator’s advice is to define the breeding goal in more detail (what should the Friesian horse look like twenty years from now) and to add the verification against the breeding goal to the Inspection Regulations. As the SIC has acted conform the Regulations and has explicitly-defined regulatory autonomy, the SIC had the authority for the permanent approval of Boet 516.
Stallion Inspection Committee
The investigator has also established that the Member Council has abided by the Statutes. Initially, the Member Council’s attitude was constructive, but as time progressed the Council became more compelling. This change in ‘tone of voice’ was triggered by the growing opposition against the Board in connection with the re-election of the existing SIC. Moreover, it became more and more obvious that the Board was not a team and was not capable of bridging the gap to the Member Council. The Member Council voiced their opinions and made suggestions, but always respected the role of the Board. The Board has explicitly agreed to the proposal to appoint three new members onto the Board from the midst of the Member Council. And the Board insisted on the re-election of the existing SIC. When it became clear that there was absolutely no support for the re-election of the existing SIC, the Board came with a new nomination for the SIC on the day of the Meeting of the Member Council on the 27th of November 2020. The Member Council is the highest body within the Society and has the statutory right to reject the binding advice of the Board with a two-third majority. The appointment of the new SIC was carried out correctly and conform Regulations.
From now on we take a forward look!
The investigator has provided a number of recommendations that are mainly directed at more transparency and cooperation within the Society. The board will return to these recommendations and the manner of follow-up in a publication before the end of May 2021.
The Board wishes, together with the future new Board members, staff and volunteers, to start building towards more transparency and cooperation within the Society. We learn lessons from the past and are grateful to those who have put heart and soul into their commitment for our wonderful Society. From now on we take a forward look!