“We are Canadian!” What has “being Canadian” contributed to the Speckle Park success story? As everyone knows the beef industry in Canada is experiencing difficult times and Speckle Park are no exception. But how did this new breed flourish under these conditions and then succeed internationally as well? We are Canadian!
Canada’s Animal Pedigree Act is almost unique in the world. The Act sets out definitions, standards, procedures and requirements for a breed to move from evolving breed to distinct breed. Think of how long it took for our other breeds to establish themselves as distinct breeds. How long would it take for a new breed to establish itself as a credible breed without the Act? This often maligned Canadian Act and the people who administer it made Speckle Park possible as an identifiable, distinct, recognized pure breed in Canada and in such a few years. Then Canada’s reputation as an international supplier of beef genetics and the official ministerial recognition made Speckle Park able to go international as a distinct breed.
Canada has many venues where purebred cattle can be promoted and Speckle Park made use of them. Two large venues played a significant role. Northland’s Farmfair International in Edmonton gave Speckle Park their first exposure in a major cattle show and the first exposure to international visitors. The Australians and the Irish saw their first Speckle Park at Farmfair. Canadian Western Agribition, Regina, welcomed Speckle Park and provide the arguably largest international venue for Canadian beef genetics and hosts the Speckle Park national show. The value of these venues cannot be over estimated.
Canadian provincial and federally funded development programs supporting rural sustainability made a very significant contribution to the successful progress of Speckle Park cattle. Several grants from Alberta Ag Initiative program provided funding for the promotion of Speckle Park. Grants from Canada Beef Breeds Council to support international market development are a very significant part of the development of Speckle Park internationally.
The cattle themselves and the people have been most important of all. Speckle Park breeders had a vision for a low maintenance animal producing a quality carcass of the type sought by the consumer. Then they persisted in the manner of Canadian pioneers to realize their vision. The quality of the cattle reflects that determination. But dare we underestimate the contribution of the very identifiable and so memorable colour patterns of Speckle Park?