A Message from Modern Ferret Magazine
From the RMCA web site, August 2002
I'm working on an article about why we don't go to ferret shows and don't necessarily think ferret shows are a good idea anymore. I am not familiar with the SDA virus or Sendai virus, but from what you have written on your site it would appear that ferrets have a similar killer communicable disease.
In ferrets, the problem is Aleutians Disease (ADV) and it seems to be a horrible killer, difficult to detect (the tests for it have a lot of both false positives and false negatives), and easy enough to spread.
Some of the ferret organizations are requiring "proof" that the ferrets entered in the show were tested for ADV -- however I'm sure you are aware that it'd be very difficult to prove that any piece of paperwork belonged to any particular animal. In many cases I think overzealous shows goers feel they have strong incentives to falsify the records of ferrets that test positive (especially since the current ADV tests can produce false positives). It is just too easy for one person's poor judgment to jeopardize the health of all the animals in the show hall.
All in all, it seems to me that many of these ferret organizations sanctioning shows are playing both sides of the fence when on the one hand they keep holding shows (the best way to get your ferrets ill with ferret-specific illnesses is to expose them to other ferrets) and on the other hand they keep asking for donations for ADV research.
It saddens me to see that this situation is not limited to ferrets, but is occurring in other species as well. I applaud your organization's stand on this matter.
- Eric Shefferman