A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

June 16, 2007

How Far Back Do We Go

Filed under: alpaca, Alpaca Health, Alpacas, camelids, General — alpacalady @ 7:02 am

I had a discussion today with a fellow alpaca breeder about heritable undesirable traits in alpacas and how far back we need to go when declaring issues with alpacas that are for sale.

Both the alpaca breeder I was talking to and myself are in favor of full disclosure when it comes to selling an alpaca.  Like all other livestock species you are going to get flaws and faults and to me it would be foolish and unethical not to discuss with these with the prospective buyer.  The fault might be a minor one such as a slight deviation of the legs, but still it seems only fair to let the prospective buyer know.  I certainly don’t want them to feel that the alpaca in question is full of faults, but no animal is perfect and if they are aware of any faults or defects at the time of sale then the buyer will feel more comfortable with the sale and ourselves as sellers.

When it comes to serious faults that are heritable then full disclosure is a must.   Personally if I had an alpaca with a serious fault I would not put it on the sales list, depending on the fault I may also no longer breed that alpaca as it would be wrong to carry on creating alpacas that could share the same fault.

But what happens when you know of an issue in an alpacas bloodline but which has not affected the alpaca you are selling?  I hear many breeders say that they do not disclose faults past the first or second generation.  From their point of view if the trait has not reappeared by then it is not an issue to be concerned about.  I can see part of thier way of thinking, but I have concerns about that practice.  If the fault is one that is heritable then it is quite possible it could skip a generation or two, but wouldn’t it be better to know so that you could avoid putting two alpacas that had the same trait in their background together.

I guess the best route to go is to be as honest as possible.   Inform the buyer of any issues that you are aware of and maybe even take the opportunity to discuss with them the risks involved and chances of that issue happening.  Then allow the buyer to decide for themselves how comfortable they are with the risk involved.  If they decide to go ahead and puchase the alpaca they have done so with full knowledge and should be happy with their choice.  I can guarantee that if there is a problem with the alpaca and it is not disclosed at the time of sale they will not think kindly of you and will not be back to buy another alpaca from you.

By the same token if you are looking to buy an alpaca, it is worth asking if the seller is aware of any problems with other family members from that alpacas pedigree.  The sellers reaction to your question will not only help you to decide on whether the alpaca you are considering is the right one for you, but will also give you an indication of whether the seller is someone who you feel comfortable with and who will treat you ethically and fairly.


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