Texas Cattleman Puts Heat on American Chianina Association

Author: Kristy

CLEBURNE, Texas, June 26 /PRNewswire/ — There’s more than one heat wave
in Texas. One legendary central Texas cattlemen is “hot under the collar”
about what the American Chianina Association is trying to do to the Chianina
Walter G. Mize of Cleburne, Texas, who has been in the cattle business for
most of his life and who has been breeding Fullblood Italian Chianina cattle
for 26 years, is suing the American Chianina Association to prevent the Board
of Directors from changing the name and the direction of the organization.
“I’ve been with the Association since its beginning — it was formed in
June of 1972, and I joined in July of 1972,” said Mize. “The purpose of
forming a breed association is to promote that breed. In this case, the
American Chianina Association was formed to promote the Chianina breed.
“Now, because some powerful members of the Association’s Board of
Directors raise primarily Chiangus (a Chianina/Angus crossbreed), they want to
change the name to the “American Chiangus Association” and effectively
eliminate the promotion of any of the other Chianina-based cattle,” Mize
Fullblood Italian Chianina, an ancient breed of cattle originating in the
Chiana Valley of Italy, have been domesticated for over 2,000 years, and were
used during the Roman Empire to provide meat and milk and as draft animals.
The breed was discovered by American servicemen during World War II, and
Chianina influence was introduced into this country in 1971 through the
importation of semen. Because the United States Department of Agriculture
rules forbid the importation of cattle from countries having Foot and Mouth
disease, Italian Fullblood Chianina were not allowed into this country.
Through a lengthy, costly, and time-consuming quarantine process, Chianina
were finally allowed into this country … and the first three Fullblood
Italian Chianina females were brought to the United States in 1975 by
Walter G. Mize.
Since that time, Mize has raised Fullblood Italian Chianina cattle, and
currently Walter G. Mize Ranches of Cleburne, Texas, has the largest herd of
Fullblood Chianina in the United States. He was one of the first to use
embryo transplant technology, and has spent years searching for proper
genetics and pedigrees to make his herd the most outstanding in the world.
Fullblood Italian Chianina are large, meaty animals that grow faster than
many other breeds, often averaging a weight gain of 4.5 lb. per day. They
also have an outstanding feed conversion rate — approximately six pounds of
feed converting to one pound of weight. And, according to a scientific study
conducted at Texas Tech in the early 1980s, the beef produced by Chianina has
less fat than beef from typical British crossbreeds (Angus x Hereford).
Because these profitable traits pass down to the calves resulting from
breeding Fullblood Italian Chianina with other breeds, cattlemen began
developing such crossbreeds as Chiangus (Chianina x Angus), Chiford (Chianina
x Hereford), Chimaine (Chianina x Maine Anjou), and others. Commercial
cattlemen began using not only Fullblood Italian Chianina bulls with their
commercial cows, but bulls from these crosses also, because the resulting
calves grow faster and have heavier weaning weights.
The American Chianina Association, originally formed to promote the
Chianina breed, brought these crossbreeds — Chiangus, Chiford, Chimaine —
under its umbrella and registered and promoted them. During the earlier years
of the Association’s development, Mize served it in many capacities, including
President of the Southwest Region (two terms), National Board Member (two
terms), and Chairman of the National Board of Directors (two terms). He was
also elected by representatives of over 20 countries as the first Chairman of
the International Chianina Congress formed in Florence, Italy.
Describing the American Chianina Association, Mize says, “The Association
is like a big tree with many branches … each designated type of Chianina is
a branch. If the Board of Directors begins cutting off these branches —
which is what they will do if they change the name and direction of the
Association — they will kill the tree!”
Another change the Board of Directors wants to make also greatly concerns
“They want to change the rules so that the Association will accept for
registration any animal — regardless of the percentage of Chianina blood that
it has — if one of its parents is already registered with the Association,”
said Mize. “This could conceivably mean that an animal with, say, 1/256
Chianina blood and 255/256 Angus blood could be registered as a Chiangus. Now
you tell me … does that animal really have any Chianina influence?”
Mize’s suit alleges that the action taken by the Board of Directors is
meant to benefit the directors themselves because the majority of registered
cattle owned by the directors are Chiangus. It also states, ” … the rule
and name change contravenes the declared purpose of the American Chianina
Association and does not advance the best interests of ALL OF ITS MEMBERS
(emphasis added)” and ” … it fails to preserve the pedigree of the Chianina
through regulation and improvement of the breed.”
Mize adds, “As stated in the lawsuit, the Association rules were
originally formulated to preserve the integrity of the Chianina breed, because
it is known as an excellent breed of cattle. The proposed actions of the
Board of Directors will erode this integrity.
“I raise Fullblood Italian Chianina cattle, but I support all of the
Chianina crossbreeds and everyone who raises them. I believe if the name
change and rule change go through, it will hurt everyone who raises and uses
Chianina — whether they raise Fullbloods, Chifords, Chimaines, or Chiangus.
It will even hurt the commercial cattleman who uses a Chianina bull with his
commercial cows, because the Chianina influence will be irreparably diluted.
“Each director of the Board of Directors owes the Association and its
members a duty of loyalty and a duty of care. This means all of the
Association’s members and every branch of the tree,” Mize concluded.

SOURCE Walter G. Mize Ranches

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