Polish government dismissed staff of State Studs

On 19th February, the stud directors Dr. Marek Trela (Janow Podlaski), Jerzy Bialobok (Michalow) and horse breeding inspector Anna Stojanowska (State Property Agency) were dismissed from their posts with immediate effect. This decision left the whole Arabian Horse industry in shock, as these people, together with the late Izabella Zawadzka, are the architects of Polish Arabian horse breeding as we know it today.
The new Polish government, elected only in November 2015, has made several controversial new laws that have given the Polish government more control over media, with the effect that public broadcasting staff was fired, and finally the Supreme Court was filled with loyalists. By doing so, they have isolated Poland from the rest of Europe, to the extend that even the EU doubted the Polish commitment to democracy.
Now, that very same government has targeted the Polish State Studs and dismissed – among several other stud directors – the three Arabian Horse experts as mentioned above. Apparently, there have been attempts in the past by a private breeder, to take influence on breeding decisions and the selection of sales horses for the prestigious “Pride Of Poland Sale”, which were turned down by Trela and Stojanowska. Should it be a coincidence, that the very same person, in the meantime an influential politician in this new government, is now responsible for the dismissal of the three? But it is not only the knowledge and expertise of the three that will be missing, of course, there remains the danger of selling out part of the breeding stock or closing the studs on the long run.
There are several petitions collecting signatures from around the world showing support for these three highly respected experts and pledging for their re-instatement. “But”, says Marek Trela, “I have dedicated more than 20 years of my life to the Arabian horse in Janow Podlaski, I am not a teenager, that you can just dismiss me that way. By the way, I was not given any reason for the dismissal, which is not necessary, as I have a manager contract. It is different for Anna Stojanowska, she was accused of not having controlled Janow Podlaski tightly enough, so when Pianissima died, they criticized, she was not insured. For what sum could you insure such a horse? 3 Million Euro? And what about our other champions, such as Pinga, Pogrom, etc., can you imagine the insurance fee?”
There are several aspects, this new government does not seem to see or understand: Marketing in the horse business is not the same as in other industries. With horses, it all depends not only on the quality of the product, but also on the integrity of the seller, which in the case of the stud directors of Janow Podlaski and Michalow has been of the highest standing within the Arabian horse industry. Any sale, especially in an auction, depends on the trust between buyer and seller, something that can only be achieved over many years of hard work and gaining a good reputation as breeder and business partner. This trust into the Polish State Studs has now been compromised. It must be assumed, that any sale, conducted under these conditions, will not have a record breaking result, as the one in 2015 or even comparable to it, so that the economy of the studs is in jeopardy.
Another aspect is continuity in breeding. Both these studs were fortunate enough, to have had only two stud directors each since World War II, with Marek Trela succeeding Andrzej Krzysztalowicz and Jerzy Bialobok following after Ignacy Jawarowski, both with overlapping terms, so that it was guaranteed, that the younger could learn from the older. Horse breeders have to think in generations – looking at the ancestors and planning for the future. Both requires intimate knowledge of the horses involved. Where this knowledge is missing, failure is pre-programmed, especially if the breeding shall be continued on a world-class level.
Last not least a national heritage is at stake! Polish Arabian horse breeding looks back on 200 years of history, that is now at the brink of destruction – destroyed by a nationalist government. “I would have never believed that our Polish Arabian State Studs, that survived two world wars and communism may get shut down in times of democracy and freedom” says Marek Trela.