As I indicated Monday in our Meet The Farmer Series, I knew very little about the Miniature Jersey breed of cattle when I bought my first trio of two, mature cows and a bull. The information I found on the breed came from two official registries: American Miniature Jersey Association (AMJA) and International Miniature Cattle Breeders Society and Registry (IMCBS). The information I found on those two sites, ten years ago, didn't answer all my questions. I was curious to know more. When I began searching for information by contacting what was then a small group of breeders, I soon found out that there was A LOT of controversy. Each registry seemed to have their own personal claims to the breed, and I sensed a strong dislike between the two groups. This was a definite "turn off" to me.
In some instances, their seemed to be some intentional deception regarding these animals by individual breeders regardless of registry (or lack thereof). Unfortunately, the high market price on these "rare" Jerseys sets the stage for dishonest breeders to try to profit from unsuspecting individuals. Many people seem to gravitate toward the breed because they see potential for huge profits from the offspring.
It wasn't about any of that to me. I soon found myself distancing myself from the political and backstabbing antics of some individuals involved in the world of Mini Jerseys. I loved the smaller Jersey because it reminded me of that little cow that provided milk for our family when I was a child. Because I was "blessed" with all bull calves for a little over two years, and because I needed heifers to grow my small dairy herd, I didn't have to try to market my Mini Jersey heifer calves. This allowed me to distance myself from all of the contention. While I register my animals, I do not participate in the drama that is often a part of discussions and groups regarding the Mini Jerseys. (In addition to the various Mini Jersey groups attacking one another, I also found that some people who promote the standard size Jerseys didn't appreciate the Mini Jersey breeder's claims that these smaller cows had descended directly from the Isle of Jersey cows. So there was that contention as well)
From the beginning, I knew that my involvement with the Mini Jerseys would not be short lived. It was important to me to provide as accurate a pedigree as possible for those who might own my cattle or the descendants of my herd. Since my cattle were already registered with AMJA, I decided to continue my registration with them. ( I had considered a dual registration with IMCBS and a later registry, the Miniature Jersey Herd Book and Registry and may go that route some day.) With that said, registries are only as honest as the people who participate in using them.
My goal is to provide accurate information regarding the animals under my care; provide quality, healthy animals that have good temperaments; as well as to introduce some new blood into the gene pool. (Upon beginning with this breed, it quickly became apparent to me that the gene pool was entirely too small to be healthy.) In my opinion, there is no "right" or "wrong" about the individual choices of Miniature Jersey breeders and what animals they choose to include in their breeding programs. Integrity comes from correctly and honestly identifying those animals that are used for breeding so that buyers can access the information and make conscious choices about what they want to do with their own breeding programs.
While I am not currently a member of the Miniature Jersey Herd Book and Registry, I appreciate their take on the history of the breed and have borrowed their description because I think it most honestly describes the process by which we came to have Miniature Jersey Cattle. From their ABOUT US section: