Grave Issues Letter from Foundation

Dec 10/2007 
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TO ALL MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF THE FOUNDATION

This letter is sent to you in our desire to shed light on the most recent actions of The Foundation and its relationship with the Spanish Stud Book.

On December 3, The Foundation wrote a letter to ANCCE, the entity which has been charged by the owners of the Stud Book of our breed (Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, MAPA) with the management of the Stud Book. In the letter, we stated that we believed that ANCCE is in breach of the agreements contained in the protocol which was signed earlier this year. The reason for writing this letter to ANCCE was to place in writing the grave issues which we believed were not being addressed by the management of ANCCE.

Specifically:

1. We were told we needed a protocol before we could begin work with the Stud Book. At Celebration 2006, ANCCE announced that they would give us a protocol and we could begin to work on 1-1-07. Then in December 2006, we were told that we needed to submit information about our office, so we sent 90 pages detailing our employees, our security, our computer back-up, etc. We were told it was an excellent and complete document and would be the model for other countries to use. But no protocol. Then Barbara Currie was asked to go to Costa Rica during the Bonanza horse show (3-07) to sign a protocol; but it turned out not to be a protocol, but a Memorandum of Understanding. This document was signed, because we had no alternative. The “real” protocol was promised daily, monthly. It didn’t appear. At a board meeting in late June/early July, the directors sent a very strong letter to ANCCE demanding the protocol or a reason why it was not to be issued and in response, a protocol was provided two days later. However, it contained a last minute unilateral insertion of a long paragraph which in a normal business dealing would have led to more negotiation, but in the case of the protocol, there was no good faith negotiation. It was take it or leave it, accept or not. So, in order to have a protocol to be able to service our breeders, the document was signed. But the promised service did not begin because:

2. We needed their computer program to start working. We were promised the computer 1-1-07. Then after we signed the protocol. Then another promise for 9-07. Then at Celebration 2007 the date was moved from 1-1-08 to 3-08. Now the anticipated arrival date is 6-08. Without the computer program, consider the steps which are required just to ask for the preinscription document for inscription: we receive information from the breeders (by fax, email, regular mail); we put it in our computers so that we have a record of it; we send it to ANCCE; ANCCE produces the sticker which goes on the form and mails it to us; we receive it and log it in and mail it out to the breeder; the breeder has the inscription performed by a recognized vet; the breeder sends the completed form back to us; we receive it and log it in and mail it to ANCCE; and we wait for a yet-to-be-determined time to receive the completed carta. You can see the delays which could be eliminated if our office could print the preinscription document on receipt of the information from the breeder. But, perhaps the point which is so very unnatural for us in the U.S.A.: we are required to pay IN FULL for the service on making the first request to ANCCE. (When the Cria had the Stud Book, we were advised when the cartas were ready; we wired the money; the cartas were sent. No completed service/no payment.)

3. ANCCE is giving some service, but no complete service. 

a. In this we acknowledge that ANCCE sent the Tribunal de Reproductores Calificados to Celebration with a stop in Miami on their way back to Spain. Horses were seen and some approved. However: for those horses which were approved, their passports were taken and have not yet been returned, even though we have been advised formally in writing that they are approved. Additionally, we have not been able to bill the participants because ANCCE has been too busy to provide us with a trip expense report which we would divide amongst the participants. By waiting so long after the event, there will be less and less desire of those who participated and whose horses did not qualify to pay. And, even those whose horses were approved lose interest in payment when the billing is delayed so long.

b. We acknowledge that ANCCE sent a delegate to do revision in Florida, Virginia and Texas. However: when there were changes necessary in the cartas and the cartas taken back to Spain for correction, they have not been returned. We can’t understand the delay.

c. We acknowledge that ANCCE sent a delegate to do revision at Celebration and later through the West and Midwest. This representative provided professional service and made the changes to the cartas where necessary on the spot. No cartas were taken. We are most grateful for his presence and his assistance. However: prior to his visit, 18 horses whose owners held cartas in their hands, were told that they could not present their horses because the data could not be confirmed in their computer. This step horrified us because the carta had been issued by the Cria Caballar, signed by two military men within the Stud Book management, and the horses were found on the website of Melpi which is the agent authorized by the Cria Caballar for making the Stud Book available on the internet. We do not understand ANCCE’s position on this refusal and their refusal to even see the horse and provide an “approved pending confirmation” status to the horse. The greater problem is that of the validity of the carta issued by the Cria Caballar. Does ANCCE have the unilateral right to say that a validly issued carta is really not valid?

d. We want to thank ANCCE for allowing Arancha Rodriguez, the head of the international portion of the stud book, to include Albuquerque on her visit to Costa Rica. Unfortunately, the visit did not include bringing the computer program (as had been originally promised) and served only as a means of strengthening the ties already personally established by a visit of the four employees of The Foundation to Sevilla in November 2006. We appreciate the visit, but don’t believe that ANCCE should count it as a productive visit.

4. Pricing. This has been a most serious problem which we have been fighting for the breeders. First, ANCCE established many new categories for which we would pay for services. Then they added a 16% VAT tax (which we should not be paying) on top of the charges for new services. To give just two examples of fee changes: when requesting a Código de la Ganaderia from the Cria, there was no payment to the Cria. Our office (and FAB-PRE-USA before us) charged $25 for office handling and mailing. ANCCE is now charging 150 euros (US$220) to get a breeder’s código. Another example: instead of sending in our “Altas” and “Bajas” (at no charge to the breeder) we now have a “pink slip” or “carta de titularidad” for which we will pay US$30 for every horse we own until 3-1-08 and then US$60 after that. A new charge. 

5. ANCCE has made changes to the breed standards without discussion or request for comment. No further comment necessary: simply a reminder of the comment from the head of the stud book commission under the administration of ANCCE which said in response to a question from Barbara Currie at SICAB 2006: “Barbara, the stud book is not a democracy.”

6. The value of the euro against the dollar. When it was apparent that the dollar was going to continue to slide against the euro, we requested that the value be maintained at a set price, reviewed twice a year. They agreed verbally, but they have never confirmed in writing, and continue to demand that we pay at the daily exchange rate. Nor have they responded to the three requests we have sent in writing offering various solutions to this problem. They seem to be too busy to worry about this with us.

7. Impact of lack of a carta. Perhaps ANCCE didn’t realize the depth of the discontent and worry their delays are causing. We have tried to give to them the example of 600 foals born in 2006 and 2007 who are without cartas. If they are worth only a minimum of $10,000, that is $6,000,000 in lost business because the horses are not marketable without a carta. We conclude that they don’t care if we sell our horses. They also are not giving credence to the number of people who are leaving our breed in favor of other breeds. They are not worried about the loss of market share our breed and breeders are facing in this country.

The Foundation cares deeply about the status of the P.R.E. in our country. The Foundation cares deeply about our breeders, whether they are members or not. It has always been our desire to have the horses included in the parent Stud Book and that remains our desire. But we want the services for which we have paid. We want the services we contracted for. And, at this time, ANCCE does not seem to be in a position to provide these services.

So, what are we doing for the P.R.E. in the meantime? 

• We have requested a meeting with the Ministry of Agriculture (MAPA) at their earliest convenience to discuss our situation, the needs of our breeders, and request that we be given permission to carry the book of our breed for our country. 

• We have secured, in the meantime, the promise of help from retired military officers who were part of the management of the Stud Book during their duty as part of the Cria Caballar. These represent a continuous tradition of over 100 years of service as the Stud Book of our breed and with the consequent reputation for fidelity recognized worldwide. The gentlemen who have offered their assistance have had direct responsibility within the Cria offices for the Stud Book and have been recognized internationally for their strict adherence to the regulations and their loyal support of our breed.

• We are reaching out to other countries in the Americas for a meeting in early January to discuss this situation and ask for their help and support. 

• We are doing all we can to provide the services which our horses need and for which their owners have already paid. To that end, we have a computer program capable of producing certificates based on the forms and rules in existence from the days of the Cria Caballar. From these documents, and with the use of UC Davis for DNA and parent verification, we can produce a carta which would contain the same information as in current cartas. These would have all the back-up necessary to comply with the requirements of the parent stud book and will be provided without further cost to the parent stud book when that option is again available. The production of papers for our breeders can begin almost immediately.

• We have assembled a team of international experts to oversee our movement toward producing documents so that they comply with the prior accepted standards.

In other words, we are doing everything possible to provide owners with a carta which holds meaning, and producing that paperwork in a timely and efficient manner.

The Foundation since its inception and its directors individually since the early 1980’s have been dedicated to the Spanish Stud Book as an institution managed with integrity, devoted exclusively to the horse itself, and without possibility of economic gain. It is regretful that the inability to provide timely stud book services, to continue this long and distinguished service as provided by the Cría Caballar, has forced us to take these actions to protect our horses and our breeders. We will do all in our power to begin immediate service to our breeders while still working with the Ministry of Agriculture to have the horses from the U.S.A. included in the parent stud book.

We will remain in contact with you by email and through our other vehicles of communication as new steps are suggested or implemented. And, we invite you to attend our Annual General Meeting to be held in Dallas, Texas, January 26 and 27, 2008 (details on our website www.prehorse.org ). If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us by email, by phone, or in person in our Albuquerque office. We are a Foundation and Association dedicated to the protection and promotion of the Pure Spanish Horse. This is our mandate; this is our responsibility. We welcome your help in meeting these goals.

The Directors of The Foundation for the Pure Spanish Horse Association 

Barbara Currie, Richard Nickerson, Santiago Chuck, Jennings Lambeth, Mary McDonough

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