The wave of protests against the dismissals of directors Jerzy Białobok and Marek Trela, as well as Anna Stojanowska from the Agricultural Property Agency (APA), is not slowing down. Acts of support for the former stud directors of Janów Podlaski and Michałów are flowing in from all over the world and from various communities. An appeal for reinstating them to their previous positions has come from both representatives of the Ponidzie Region provincial government, who in their letter to the Ministry of Agriculture and president of the APA emphasize the enormous services rendered by Jerzy Białobok for the development of Michałów Stud, as well as people from abroad that have been associated with Polish Arabian horse breeding for many years, for example the breeder of Monogramm, Kay Patterson from Oregon, who visited Poland for the first time in 1968 and who today issued a letter to Prime Minister Beata Szydło. A letter was also issued by Maria Jaworowska (together with her daughters), the wife of the first, many year director of Michałów Stud, Ignacy Jaworowski. It was also announced that on Saturday a protest against the changes in the studs and defending Arabian horse breeding will take place during the Cavaliada fair in Warsaw (Torwar indoor arena). The Polish Arabian Horse Breeders Association (PAHBA) is also preparing a letter addressed to Prime Minister Beata Szydło.
Without any doubt the manner of firing three of the key personas in state breeding – with immediate effect and without making any reasons public – caused no less outrage than the fact of their dismissal itself. The conflict has long gone beyond the boundaries of the Arabian horse community. Concern for the Arabian horse is now coming from both left and right. Today deputy Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, member of the PO party, demanded explanations about this matter in the parliament.
Today in the afternoon hours the APA posted the following announcement regarding the reasons for their decision:
„The studs of Janów Podlaski and Michałów belong to a group of breeding companies of special importance for the national economy. Ownership supervision over these companies is carried out by the Agricultural Property Agency. Due to a loss of trust, the management boards of both of the above studs were dismissed on February 19th, 2016. The reasons for the dismissals included:
1. A lack of proper breeding and veterinary supervision over Arabian horses in the case of Janów Podlaski. Confirming the lack of proper supervision are for example the circumstances associated with the illness, treatment and euthanasia of the mare Pianissima, whose value was estimated at 3 million euro. The death of the mare took place in October of 2015. For comparison, the mare Pepita achieved a price of 1,4 million euro at the record-breaking sale in Janów Podlaski in August of 2015.
2. The allowing of the managements of both studs to collect a larger number of embryos by foreign clients than permitted by the Polish regulations.
3. The concluding of lease agreements for mares with foreign breeding centers by the managements of both studs in a way that did not fully protect the interests of Polish entities and limited the possibilities of making claims.
The Arabian state studs in Poland are and will still be treated by the Agricultural Property Agency as a priority.”
„The allegations are absurd and reveal an ignorance of rules and the subject matter that we are talking about”, comments Anna Stojanowska. „Matters regarding the collecting of embryos are regulated by the rules of a Stud Book of a given country. We ourselves actively fought for allowing one foal to be born the natural way and only one foal via embryotransfer in Poland per year. Other countries have higher limits, some have none.” „Regarding Pianissima”, she continues „the allegation is also absurd. It was 4 hours that passed from the first signs of colic until intervention, which considering the 200 km between Janów Podlaski and Warsaw means that immediate action was taken. The decision to put the mare down was made by the veterinary officers at Służewiec, Warsaw. It was them that pronounced that she could not be saved. In turn insuring horses is difficult and expensive and the death of horses in the studs happens occasionally; they are one off cases. The insuring of Pianissima would be pointless, considered wasting money. Who can determine the value of Pianissima? This mare was never offered for sale, we don’t know whether someone would give 500 million for her or 3 million. Her value was totally different when she was a year or two old and won championships and would be totally different today. And why shouldn’t we insure Pogrom, why not Pinga? If we are focusing on insuring one horse, why not five, six others?” When it comes to the horse lease agreements, Anna Stojanowska believes that they were beneficial for the studs.
The great liveliness on social media resulted not only in an avalanche of letters and petitions, but also in a „witch hunt”. The accusations are addressed not only at government officials, who made the decision to dismiss the heads of the studs, but also at private people that are said to have contributed to these decisions. „When it comes to Monika Szpura, I think that she just applied for a job when she participated in the contest organized by the APA, and that’s all””, says Anna Stojanowska. Insult to injury is added by the highly controversial and rather light-hearted public remarks of the newly appointed head of Janów Podlaski Stud, Marek Skomorowski, who admits that so far he has never had anything to do with horses. Even outsiders are aware that a stud with a 200 year old tradition is not a toy and taking control over it is a huge responsibility.
The only advantage of this situation is that never before, even after record-breaking results of the Janów sale, did we have such an awareness of Arabian horse breeding in the consciousness of Poles. There are no media today that would not follow this topic. Hopefully this interest and freshly awoken awareness about our Polish national heritage and the fact that it needs taking care of lasts even after this storm that is rolling over the state studs today is over.
Read also here: An earthquake among the authorities of Polish state breeding