Friday, June 25, 2010

The History of the American Rabbit Breeders Association

In the late 1890s the Belgian Hare affair brought a serious touch to the American rabbit world that previously had been pet and perhaps meat rabbits. With serious prices paid for Belgian Hares there was not a national
 organization as with other livestock. In 1910 the National Pet Stock Association was formed.

Seven years later the "Pet" was dropped from the name as it began including not just rabbits and cavies but other small fur bearing animals and later another name change was made to the "National Breeders and Fanciers Association of America."

In 1923 the rabbit fancy began to split into fur breeds and meat breeds. The name of the association was changed to the American Rabbit and Cavy Breeders Association to narrow the focus to just rabbit and cavy owners.

The organization grew and by 1948 an estimated 12,000 members were involved in the organization. Then in 1952 the name was changed to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, although the cavy still today falls within the scope of the association. Six years later a youth division was added to afford adults to compete as well as the youth against their own age and experience level, with a youth division specialty club.

This was changed in 1971 when Oren Reynolds became president and the youth became a part of ARBA that had the same as an adult membership except for that of voting. The ARBA grew and with the increase in members and finances fliers, booklets and the Domestic Rabbits magazine became available to members. Today there is a guidebook, beginner book, year book and the Standard of Perfection that are updated regularly as well as other publications available through ARBA.

The organization today maintains coops and equipment for the national convention shows, it has raised over $150,000 for the research and development fund that contributes to research that benefits rabbits as well as cavy research. There is also a youth scholarship, Hall of Fame library and an active membership that is not just about breeding rabbits. While a large part of the membership do show and breed their choice of dozens of breeds there is also a benefit for pet owners of information.

Although ARBA has been through several name changes in the last 100 years since inception the promotion of the domestic rabbit and cavy has remained. Today ARBA has members from around the world that come to the annual
 convention and show. Rabbits included within the scope of the association are not just fur rabbits or meat rabbits but include breeds that can do both as well as smaller breeds, wooled angora rabbits and fancy marked breeds. The cavy breeds are also distinct and compete at the national convention.

For many reasons owners of all types of rabbits can benefit from information available from ARBA. Join today!

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