Protocols for AAA shows and events

The AAA COVID-19 resources have been developed for use at AAA alpaca shows and events. It is the priority of the AAA is to ensure that all people attending our events are protected.

The protocols to be available to all show and event attendees, to ensure everyone is educated on the potential risks of certain behaviours and understand the COVID-19 risk management systems and processes that the AAA has put in place and the reasons for these.

The Board met with Regional Presidents, Judges (including Apprentices) and SJC representatives to discuss the legal advice received by the AAA regarding liability for COVID related expenses.

The Board have been making a concerted effort to provide a platform for shows as a service to members. The lack of appropriate insurance products to cover COVID impacts has had the Board in continual discussions about the balance of risks. They have taken on board feedback from judges and sought legal advice with the intention to limit the risk to the organisation and the volunteers.

It is intended that this will enable shows to run for members in a way that is financially prudent for the AAA and not deferring the risk to judges or other volunteers.

The AAA has determined to take a limited liability position for the current (2021) show season to cover a total amount of $12,000. This will cover up to four people at a show. These people must be full members of the AAA, volunteers at the show, and not exhibiting. As an example it will cover judges, apprentices, and some convenors. The form for these volunteers will be distributed by the office. There is potential that if the funding needs to be used, and reaches the limit of $12k, the Board would need to reconsider the current strategy.

Volunteer (including apprentice judges) and exhibitor forms will be developed. A copy of the proposed wording for the exhibitor acknowledgement is available on Show Resources page for information and should be considered version one, as it would be the ideal to make the indemnity acknowledgement more streamlined.

The need for all shows to have a “back up plan” in the case that judges are not available has made little progress. The regions have a responsibility to discuss with their members these situations, and the financial viability of each show & event undertaken at a regional level.

Lyn Dickson, in her capacity as judge allocator, will continue to be the best contact for those convenors and Regional Presidents looking at judge availability.

It is fortunate that the revised judge’s agreement with the limited liability has enabled a few judging appointments to be confirmed. Thank you to those individuals involved.

For a video update from AAA President Brett Fallon on the protocols click here

COVID update

PURPOSE: Provide a summary of the proposed changes to AAA shows and events as a response to COVID 19.

ISSUE: The feedback from AAA members has been quite clear; they miss the opportunity to interact with their alpaca friends and family via shows. This social element of our industry has had to take a backseat, as the community have responded to COVID. In addition to being a social event, there is a high level of importance placed on shows by our membership. AAA shows play an integral part of members’ breeding programs and marketing. These events and shows can only proceed if undertaken in a safe manner. It is the priority of the AAA to ensure that all people attending our events are protected.

PROPOSED OUTCOME: The AAA have developed COVID protocols both for shows and for all other events, to  ensure everyone is educated on the potential risks of certain behaviours and understand the COVID-19 risk management systems and processes that the AAA has put in place and the reasons for these.

By utilising the COVID protocols, in addition to any Local or State Government regulations, the AAA Board encourages all AAA events to proceed for the long term benefit of our alpaca industry.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: It is an expectation that all attendees understand the new AAA COVID protocol and then adhere to the specific event’s COVID plan. The documents available have been kept in an easy to manage format and will be regularly updated as the COVID situation changes.

Relevant links have been included to make it easier for organisers to get a specific event’s COVID plan approved, and apply for their state-based QR Code. This State approved COVID plan will be required to be held by the Office prior to the event.

Some of the existing AAA Showing Rules have been relaxed as a temporary measure in response to the COVID environment. This is with the intention of making things safer and reducing the contact between Exhibitors, Stewards, Judges and the Public.

The AAA in all consciousness cannot request any Judges or Stewards working on behalf of the AAA to put themselves at risk. Similarly, we want to provide Exhibitors with the confidence that they can safely attend shows and events, knowing that protocols are in place to reduce the risk of any potential COVID-19 transmission. This makes it so important that everyone complies with the new COVID protocol.

Some members may find it controversial to wear face masks within the show ring, but it is important that we keep all Exhibitors, Stewards and Judges safe. No other way has been identified for handling livestock and assessing their fleece attributes, while remaining 1.5 metres apart. There is no alternative, as members’ safety is our priority.

In addition to the COVID protocol, the AAA will add further support to Regions undertaking events & shows by ensuring Members that wherever possible the AAA will refund the entry fees paid to the AAA due to a event cancellation, or in the example of an exhibitor living in a COVID hot spot and no longer allowed to travel.

There has been a trend that Shows are becoming less viable financially for the Regions to operate. Part of this has been exacerbated by COVID. In particular, airfares have increased. To assist with this in the 2021 financial year, Show Levy funds will be returned to the regions. In the 2022 financial year, the Show Levy will be used to assist those Regions that have limited access to accredited AAA Judges (such as by subsidising airfares, etc).

Further to this, Convenors now have the opportunity to directly approach a Judge of their choice. This ensures that the Judge is cost effective and suits the circumstances of the particular show.

The Show Budget and Judge selection needs to be approved by the Regional committee. This ensures that this fits in with the Region’s plans and finances. It also ensures an appropriate spread of our limited Judges within the region.

Inclusion of Apprentice Judges at shows is recommended were possible, especially those located in areas with limited accredited Judges. They can be in the ring with the Judge (masked), but would need to comply with physical distancing rules.

There may be opportunities to change the way  our AAA shows have traditionally been run. Perhaps the penning arrangements might change. Perhaps the ribbons are not as elaborate as in the past. Maybe there are no Championship trophies. All of this should be considered in our response to COVID, to allow the opportunity to run these events and as an interim measure build some momentum.

The AAA  also supports the development of events that are not in the traditional show format. Perhaps not even with an AAA-accredited Judge. These have been coined ‘AAA Events’, and wouldn’t hold the same credibility as other AAA Shows, but it does imply that the sky is the limit. Embrace all elements of the alpaca industry and seek even more creative spirit.

Such events still require a regionally approved budget to be held with the Office, but some great variations of these AAA Events are already happening around the country. Examples include WA Region’s Mock Show in late 2020, and the NSW Youth Workshop in lieu of the Camp just last month.

Many of our members are looking for more than what we have delivered in the past, and perhaps now we can provide them something fresh and new.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:  COVID has had ongoing financial implications. All measures are being undertaken to ensure our success into the future.

CONCLUSION: Thank you to the AAA Director, Mick Williams, for the work involved in developing this Plan, and engaging with many varying committees and members within the AAA during this process.

The COVID Plan delivers a safe and sustainable way to ensure AAA members can attend social events and shows.


Shearing During COVID-19

All alpaca businesses must assess the risks associated with exposure to COVID-19 and implement control measures. For the alpaca industry, shearing is an essential service/practice and unlike shows cannot be canceled. Therefore the AAA recommends that all farmers assess the risk that COVID-19 presents to the health and safety of yourselves and your workers and implement control measures to minimise the risk of exposure to COVID-19. The AAA has prepared a set of shearing guidelines to assist members and their contractors to stay COVID safe during shearing season.

Each farmer should complete the “Shearer Essential Service Sample Letter” ( modify if they wish) on your own letterhead  Shearer Essential Service Sample Letter

Keep a record of names and mobile number or email address of all workers for 28 days using an activity register such as this – Shearer Covid-19 Activity Register