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What Do You Think?

The Other Side of...Skin Color

By Troy Ihrke

Is a flesh spot/freckle a spot? That seems to be the golden question. We need to examine in detail both sides before making a decision. No matter which side you are on, you need to remember that we are here to promote healthy quality rabbits every way possible. Even if that means that you might not like it. I personally argue for the backyard breeders because that is where I began my rabbit habit. So, let's start by reviewing the facts:
  • Spots, how does the Standard of Perfection (SoP) define it? On page 26 it says, "Foreign colored spots in any animal. White spots in a colored animal. Colored spots in a white animal." Did you notice that it does NOT say, "colored spots on pink skin?" All this is all talking about is just fur, hair or woolly. Basically just the very exterior of the rabbit.
  • Skin color in the SoP, what page is that on? Please call me and tell me the page number because I can not find it. Color is defined from tip TO the skin. Therefore, you could have any colored skin, like green, blue, yellow with purple poke-a-dots and it's fine. You may be asking, why is this? I believe the "founding fathers" left skin color out on purpose. One reason could be that, you can not see all the skin unless you spend at least 30 minutes on one rabbit. A second reason could be that, freckles naturally occur. Thirdly, they can be found anywhere on a rabbit you just have to look.
  • If you can not find skin color in the SoP how can they be foreign? I have no idea. Some say that freckles are foreign, just wondering how they reached that idea.
  • Nature vs. nurture (environment)? Some people that that they are hereditary (nature). Did you know that skin cells will change in light? A skin cell can stay the same color, discolor like a freckle, turn red as in a burn, or even turn cancerous. Rabbits like all mammals do this. Look at people who develop freckles with increase light exposure. Cows with white/pink skin around the eyes are more likely to develop skin cancer. A pink pig left outside too long will turn to a red pig. So do you still think it's nature? To me it sounds more like nurture, the surroundings or habitat it lives in.
  • Big breeders vs. the small backyard breeders. Big breeders have enclosed buildings and are able to control the environment (light). The small backyard breeders use hutches, lean-to and pole barns, which are open to the light. Therefore, they are not able to control the environment (light). If it depends where you raise your rabbits the how is that a fair DQ? Everyone should be on the same playing field, don't you think?
Your opinion might not have changed. You might now see the other side through. Judges, I hope you will see freckles as what they are now, "NOTHING!" For judges who DQ for freckles, I hope this article has opened your eyes. What you do on your table is up to you, but don't be surprised if an exhibitor protests. I am not advising anyone to protest, but protesting is the simplest form of "checks and balance" our club has. Until the SoP defines the entire skin color of an animal how can you DQ for it?


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