The following is an article by W. C. Foote written in 2002 and recently updated to provide IGA members with a better understanding of what the IGA is and who we are.
The International Goat Association (IGA) was organized on January 12, 1982 during the Third International Conference on Goats in Tucson, Arizona, USA. Approximately 160 persons from 42 countries attended the organization meetings. Organization was unanimously approved with Warren C. Foote as interim chairman and subsequently president and Kent Leach as secretary-treasurer. A board of directors was subsequently elected consisting of Jean G. Boyazoglu, C. Devendra, Christian Gall, George F. W. Haenlein, Peter Holst, Pierre Morand-Fehr, Maurice Shelton and Clair E. Terrill. IGA has continued to expand in its influence and service during its first twenty years. IGA is unique in providing sustained international focus on a single species of animals and promoting its usefulness for the good of humankind. It has succeeded through three primary objectives: (1) Fostering the use of goats to provide for the needs of humankind; (2) Encouraging research with and development of goats to increase their productivity and usefulness throughout the world; (3) Perpetuating the International Conferences on Goats. IGA has effectively encouraged and assisted the development of science and technology of goats and their application. IGA’s challenges in the future include to remain focused on its initial objectives; to maintain its place and role in international leadership; and to remain an independent but collaborative force in a world of shifting politics and economies, increasing numbers of GO’s and NGO’s and exploding technology – to continue to speak with singleness of purpose and direction.
From its outset the purpose of the International Goat Association (IGA) has been to promote the use of goats throughout the world and especially by those producers with the least resources and who are often most dependent upon them. IGA has worked to this end through research and development to determine the production potential of goats and how they can be optimized through the use of proper management practices. This has been done in concert with the demands of the varied production needs, environments and levels of resources under which the goat has the ability and is required to produce food and fiber and to provide companionship for humankind. IGA’s objectives from its beginning have been: 1. To foster the use of goats to provide for the needs of humankind; 2. To encourage research with and development of goats to increase their productivity and usefulness throughout the world; 3. To perpetuate the International Conferences on Goats.
The need for an international organization dealing with goats became apparent during 1980 and 1981 while the III International Conference on Goats was being planned. There was a common interest and commitment among scientists and others working with goats. It was obvious also that a more effective way was needed to encourage and increase the acquisition of knowledge and strengthen other resources and to provide a better method of communication among all persons interested in goats. As we consider the formation and history of the International Goat Association it is important to note that this was not the first time that such a need had been recognized and an attempt made to form such an organization. There was at least one other time when an attempt was made. This was during the II International Conference on Goats held in Tours, France, in 1971. A brief account of this effort is taken from information provided by Christian Gall and C. Devendra.
During the II International Conference on Goats the need was recognized by scientists, developers and goat farmers to form a professional association to increase the awareness of the importance of goats, to stimulate research and to support goat development – to provide information and otherwise help overcome the discrimination against goats. As a result, The World Committee on Goats was formed with Christian Gall, who served as chairman of the second international conference, as chairman and C. Devendra as vice-chairman. The regional and country representation was limited at the conference and in the committee and everyone involved was encouraged to expand the representation. A primary objective of the committee was to perpetuate international conferences on goats and efforts made to do this were unsuccessful until it was learned in 1978 or 1979 that an international goat conference was being planned in the United States.
Jess L. Ayers as chairman of the organizing committee confirmed with Christian Gall that the conference to be held in the United States would be the III International Conference on Goats (actually the III International Conference on Goat Production and Disease). Unfortunately the efforts begun in 1971 to form a world organization were not known to those planning the III International Conference on Goats and so there was a new beginning at that time.
In 1980 Warren C. Foote was asked to assist in the organization of the third international conference by serving with Jess L. Ayers as its co-chairmen and developed plans to establish an international goat organization. Prior to the conference invitations were sent through government organizations and universities and their leaders, to countries where such information was available, to nominate and send delegates to the conference for the purpose of participating in the formation of an international goat organization. The response was rewarding indicating again the commonly recognized need and support for such an entity.
On January 12, 1982, during the III International Conference on Goats held in Tucson, Arizona, USA, the first organizing meeting was held and consisted of approximately 160 delegates and other interested persons from 42 countries. Before the organizing meeting was convened a planning meeting was held with selected internationally recognized leaders among those working with goats who were attending the conference. These included Christian Gall, Pierre Morand-Fehr, Jean Boyazoglu, C. Devendra and George Haenlein. They gave their full support to the formation of an international organization. During the first organizing meeting the proposal of an international goat organization was unanimously accepted and at the conclusion of a second meeting a name, International Goat Association, a general outline of its purpose and objectives and form of organization were drafted. Warren C. Foote was elected as interim chairman and president and Kent Leach as secretary-treasurer.
Also during the organizing meetings it was determined that a host country for the next or IV International Conference on Goats to be held in five years be selected. As a result several persons, including those from Mexico and Brazil, proposed their countries be the location for the next conference. Odon Santana made the proposal for Brazil providing an official request from his country to host the conference and certification that his country would provide the necessary financial and organizational support. Brazil’s proposal to host the fourth international conference was accepted by the group assembled representing the International Goat Association. At the end of the conference memberships in IGA were being accepted.
In the following few months, Tony Cunha, at the request of IGA, drafted a constitution and by-laws which was modified and accepted by the members of IGA and a board of directors was elected. This first board of directors played an essential role in establishing IGA as an international entity and in its development and success. It consisted of Jean G. Boyazoglu (Greece/South Africa), C. Devendra (Malaysia), Christian Gall (Germany), George F. W. Haenlein (USA), Peter Holst (Australia), Pierre Morand-Fehr (France), Maurice Shelton (USA) and Clair E.Terrill (USA). (See Table 1.)
The need of a scientific journal to serve as the official publication of IGA was agreed upon during its organizing meetings. Clair Terrill, Warren Foote, David Lincicome and others had been previously involved in the development of a new journal, International Sheep and Goat Research Journal, with David Lincicome as editor and Kent Leach, Dairy Goat Publishing Co. as publisher. Arrangements were made for this journal to become the official journal for IGA. It served in this capacity from 1982 to 1984 but satisfactory editorial and other arrangements could not be made for it to continue. This left a very serious void in IGA because of the need for and the interest of scientists to publish in an international journal with a specific focus on goats.
Negotiations were undertaken with Elsevier Science publishers to publish an international journal on goat research and development for IGA by Jean Boyazoglu and Warren Foote and later George Haenlein, through its representative Ken Plaxton. These negotiations were successful and arrangements were made for Elsevier Science to publish a new journal, Small Ruminant Research, which would give IGA editorial responsibilities and prerogatives and serve as its official publication. Elsevier Science began publishing Small Ruminant Research in 1987 and at the end of calendar year 2002 will have published 46 volumes. Ken Plaxton has been a strong supporter and friend of IGA in maintaining the quality and in the continuance of Small Ruminant Research.
The first editor-in-chief of Small Ruminant Research was George F.W. Haenlein who served from 1987 through 1995 and helped establish policy and procedures to insure quality and provide assistance in manuscript preparation that has been a major factor in its success. M.H. Fahmy served as editor-in-chief from 1996 through 2000 and David M. Sherman is the current editor-in-chief beginning in 2001.
The constitution and by-laws of IGA provided for a new president to be elected and to take office at each international conference, which were initially established at five-year intervals. The IV International Conference on Goats was held in Brasilia, Brazil on March 8-13, 1987. Odon Santan from Brazil and Warren Foote served as co-chairman of the conference. The country of Brazil fully carried out its commitment to provide funding and organizational support, including personnel, for the conference.
R.M. Acharya from India was elected the second president of IGA and began serving at the end of the fourth conference. The V International Conference on Goats was held in New Dehli, India on March 2-8, 1992 with R.M. Acharya as coordinator. Jean G. Boyazoglu was elected the third president of IGA and began serving at end of the fifth conference. The VI International Conference on Goats was held in Beijing, China on May 6-11, 1996 changing the interval between conferences from five to four years and Chen Yoachuan served as chairman of the organizing committee. Adel M. Aboul-Naga was elected the fourth president of IGA and began serving at the end of sixth conference. The VII International Conference on Goats was in Tours, France on May 15-18, 2000. The coordinators and co-chairmen of the organizing committee were Lucas Gruner and Yves Chabert. Pierre Morand-Fehr was elected the fifth president of IGA and began serving at the end of the seventh conference and is our current president. Our next conference, the VIII International Conference on Goats, will be held in Pretoria, South Africa in 2004.
The secretary- treasurers of IGA have served an essential role in its accomplishments, including assisting in the fiscal responsibilities, developing the newsletter, encouraging membership and strengthening communication with members. They are Kent Leach, 1982-1987; Warren Foote, 1987-1989; Robert Pelant, 1989-1992; Rosalee Sinn, 1992-2000, Beth Miller, 2000-2002; Cindy Walla, 2002-.
Several officers and board members who have been associated with IGA from its beginning have continued to serve throughout these first twenty years. These include, in alphabetical order, Jean G. Boyazoglu, C. Devendra, Warren C. Foote, Pierre Morand-Fehr, George F.W. Haenlein, Peter Holst and Rosalee Sinn. Many others, although they have served for shorter periods of time, have served just as faithfully. Some who have served have been recognized by IGA for their service: Warren Foote was elected Honorary President for Life at the conference in 1987 and later recognized as its Founder, Jean Boyazoglu was designated as President Emeritus and George Haenlein was named Honorary Editor-in-Chief of Small Ruminant Research.
After twenty years what have we accomplished in terms of achieving our objectives? And where have we yet to succeed in our efforts? Overall, we have maintained and strengthened IGA’s unique organization, one that focuses on a single species of animal with the intent to make it a means to the end of providing for the needs of humankind, often those persons whose resources are least and whose needs are greatest. We have established a basis for continuing success: we have shown accountability in leadership and in membership and we have adhered to our objectives, we chose well at the outset and we have stayed on course. However, we have not always achieved the level of success that we have desired and in some cases we have realized very little success.
We have perpetuated our international goat conferences as intended. We have held them in those regions and countries where the use of goats is of primary concern and effort. These conferences have brought together experts, and all people with information to share, dealing with all aspects of goat production, products, development, management, social and economic implications and their application. We have encouraged scientific pursuits dealing with goats and provided a forum for findings to be discussed and evaluated. In doing this we have in a significant measure encouraged research and development with goats and the application of findings to increase their usefulness to those depending on them for their livelihood. And we have contributed to the conservation and improvement of the environment from which the goat must be sustained and produce.
In an effort to foster and support goat conferences and programs beyond our international conferences, IGA has begun the co-sponsorship of regional conferences held between international conferences. The first of these was held in China in 2001 and another will be held in Mexico in 2002.
The success of the perpetuation and continued quality of the international conferences is shared by the literally hundreds of committed persons who have worked in the different countries. All in turn, under the direction of the conference coordinators and chairmen and the central officers and board members have done their part to make their conference a success.
Through partnership with Elsevier Science we have established an international journal where quality research findings are published on a broad scope of subjects dealing with goats and other small ruminants and available for use by all who are interested. Through Small Ruminant Research, researchers who could not otherwise publish internationally, are given an opportunity to do so, to share their findings with others of similar or related interests. As an international journal, Small Ruminant Research has grown to take its place among the premier livestock journals of the world, championing goats and other small ruminants. The combined commitment and capable efforts of the editors-in-chief, associate editors, the members of the editorial advisory board and the authors of papers published, and of Elsevier Science, have insured the success of the journal.
The convening of the international conferences and the publishing of the journal have met essential, critical needs that exist among those working with goats. They have encouraged relevant quality research, shared and evaluated the results of the research and assisted in the development and demonstration of their application. They have also played a significant role in building and strengthening communication and trust among all persons involved in a broad spectrum of subjects and endeavors related to goats.
From the outset we have recognized the need for a newsletter to disseminate the activities of IGA, to advise of meetings and other information as it becomes available and to otherwise help keep our members informed. Without an effective means of communication it is difficult to provide service to members; to justify membership. The first real attempts to do this were made by Robert Pelant and Rosalee Sinn, while serving their respective terms as secretary-treasurer in the late 1980’s and 1990’s. These newsletters, especially in the 1990’s became an effective method of communication for IGA. More recently, Christopher D. Lu, as Newsletter Editor, has further strengthened and published issues of a very useful newsletter. This has been facilitated through the availability of developments in electronic communication technology.
Also using new electronic technology, IGA president, Pierre Morand-Fehr conducted our first electronic conference during November and December, 2001. In this way officers and members of the board of directors and regional and country representatives provided input on issues concerning IGA. Such contributions from many of the participants would have been impossible otherwise because of the time, travel and other expense involved. Through the efforts of Jean-Paul Debeuf an official IGA web site has been set up which provides up-to-date information on IGA and many of its programs and activities. The web site is available in English, French and Spanish.
There are other areas where IGA has struggled and continues to struggle also with varying degrees of success. One of these is in our ability to reach out into the different regions and countries of the world. Although the need for country representatives has been discussed throughout the life of IGA only during the last few years is this becoming a working reality. Regions of the world and some countries within these regions have now been identified and directors assigned for each. As this development continues it will greatly expand our capability to reach and communicate with the people that we are to serve.
We are also struggling with development of membership and with financial sufficiency. These are critical and they are interrelated. Because of cost, many people who have desired to become members could not afford to do so. This has been true even though IGA has provided a membership without the journal at a minimum cost. IGA is now offering corporate or organization memberships with the opportunity to join at different levels reflecting varying levels of financial support.
Each president of IGA, together with other officers and members of its board of directors and others who have worked with them, has made his or her unique contribution to its success. Because of these sustained efforts, continuing growth and development has occurred. This is certainly true with our current president, Pierre Morand-Fehr, and those who work with him. Under his leadership IGA is making significant gains in program planning and implementation and in communication and dissemination of information.
IGA has worked effectively with government and non-government organizations to obtain resources to achieve its goals where there is mutual benefit. They are many and have provided a wide variety of resources to IGA. A few have been alluded to but it is not possible to recognize all the contributors or their contributions but each has been important to the success of IGA. These include international, regional and national organizations that directly or indirectly, through services provided by their agencies, have contributed to the international conferences and the journal as well as supported a wide variety of other meetings, programs and activities. There are some that have committed to annual monetary support. One of these is Heifer International who has hosted the IGA secretariat for nearly a decade. We recognize and express our gratitude to all that have provided support and helped strengthen IGA in any way.
This brief review is not intended to identify and discuss all of IGA’s activities and efforts but to provide a brief history and overview. It does record, however, and recognize and emphasize the very large number of persons, many never recorded, who have served in any way in the very broad spectrum of activities of IGA and without whose efforts and talents IGA could not have contributed as it has.
Future Challenges and Opportunities
As we look to the future of IGA on its twentieth anniversary – what are its challenges and opportunities? There are many and some are critical, and the challenges, when adequately met, will become opportunities. They might be summarized to include the following.
1. We must remain focused on our initial objectives. We must not be drawn into other endeavors or to extend our initial endeavors in ways that will draw away our energy and resources from our initial objectives. At present these resources are very limited and additional programs or enlargement of ongoing programs should be undertaken only as adequate resources become available. We must continue and maintain and protect the quality and usefulness of our international conferences and of our journal. They are the primary standards by which the value and integrity of IGA will be measured.
2. We must continue to work to expand our membership and build our financial resources. We must continue to explore ways in which membership can be provided, and help given, to those who are severely limited in their resources. We must continue to offer membership to organizations with goat related goals and we must be able and willing to collaborate, to be team players, and to provide services and information that justify their membership and financial support. But in doing so we must remain independent of any other organization in maintaining our course.
3. We must be alert to identify and bring into central leadership new persons who are committed and qualified to further the objectives of IGA. Prime sources are those who are involved in IGA regional and country leadership roles. In the same way careful consideration needs to continue with the editorial staff and advisory board of the journal. In all of these assignments only those who can and have demonstrated that they will serve should have an opportunity to do so.
4. IGA must maintain and expand its place and role in international leadership. We must continue to strive for and to demonstrate excellence and relevance in our efforts.
5. IGA must remain an independent but collaborative force in a world of shifting politics and economies, increasing numbers of government and non-government organizations and exploding technology – to be able to speak and to continue to speak with singleness of purpose and direction.
6. We must continually renew our efforts to help all goat producers – to make goats the means to the end – in assisting them to become more self-sustaining and therefore better able to improve their quality of life.
The author acknowledges with gratitude those who have provided information for this paper including Jess L. Ayers, Jean B. Boyazoglu, C. Devendra, Christian Gall, George F.W. Haenlein, Kent Leach, Beth Miller, Pierre Morand-Fehr, Edward A. Nelson and Rosalee Sinn.
A Summary of the History of The International Goat Association: Its Leadership and Selected Programs.
First Board of Directors
Jean G. Boyazoglu
George F. W. Haenlein
Clair E. Terrill
International Conferences on Goats
M.H. Fahmy – 1996-2001
David M. Sherman – 2001-2005
Jean Boyazoglu – 2005-2012
Johan Greyling – 2012-present
The International Goat Association promotes goat research and development for the benefit of humankind, to alleviate poverty, to promote prosperity and to improve the quality of life.