The Visual Standard of the Fila Brasileiro Breed and Other Stories - Chapter 2
full text written by the founders, directors and judges of CAFIB
Américo Cardoso dos Santos Júnior
Luiz Antonio Maciel
THE EPIC OF FIGHTING MIX-BREEDING AND THE RESCUE OF THE PURE FILA VISUAL IMAGE
In this story, written in prose, but with the poetic spirit of the struggle for the rescue of a breed threatened with extinction by mix-breeding - a hazard that still lingers through the attempt to reintroduce, once again, in the breeding, animals that out of the standard -, we present and document all the facts and huge battles fought in the early years of this good struggle to deprecate mix-breeding, organize forms of struggle, dispute the right to establish an entity that could defend the pure Fila Brasileiro, disseminate technical knowledge and develop the unprecedented Visual Standard of our breed, in addition to a new and definitive written standard that not only thoroughly described a pure Fila but also pointed out the faults arising from mix-breeding, true evidence of a continuing crime that nearly destroyed, and still threatens, in other ways, the true Fila Brasileiro.
Elections: The Appeal to Fila's Fidelity
In December 1977, when Dr. Paulo was developing the idea of establishing a club to gather pure Filas, Antonio Carvalho Mendes received news that CPFB - Clube Paulista do Fila Brasileiro was calling a meeting for the election of a new board. Toninho, as he was also known, crossed the corridor that separated "O Estado de S. Paulo" from the newsroom of "O Jornal da Tarde", at the company's new headquarters, on the banks of the Tietê River, in the Freguesia do Ó region, and showed Luiz Antonio Maciel the news, which was to be published at the footnote of his "Cinofilia" column on January 5, 1978, under the title “Meeting of Clube do Fila”. The news opened with the following information:
“On January 30, from 12 pm to 8 pm, at the new headquarters of Kennel Clube Paulista, at Rua Avanhandava, 133, the general meeting of Clube Paulista do Fila Brasileiro shall be held, for the election of 10 effective members and 5 alternates of the Advisory Board. Among those elected, the president and vice president of the executive board for the 78/79 biennium shall be chosen.” Then further details on requirements for registering applications followed.
From the conversation between Carvalho Mendes and Maciel, the idea arose to make up a political-like party plate of candidates, led by Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz, to run for the elections and try to settle, within the existing institutions (Clube do Fila, Kenel Clube Paulista and Brasil Kennel Club), the problem of cross-breeding, without the need to establish a pure Filas' club. In fact, there was no plate, but rather a group of people who would run individually for the positions of effective and alternate advisors, but with the same objective of fighting mix-breeding and restoring the Fila's racial purity if they assumed the leadership of the entity.
Upon learning of the idea, Dr. Paulo immediately joined the initiative to form a candidate plate, a task that became the responsibility of Luiz Antonio Maciel, who had contact with several breeders and dog owners opposed to mix-breeding, their acquaintances from KCP and CPFB exhibitions. Personally, Maciel, although a member of CPFB, chose not to join the candidate plate, as he did not have time to eventually dedicate himself to the club. Dr. Paulo made contact with his old acquaintance, the breeder and judge Osni de Morais Pinto (Cruzeiro do Sul Kennel), who decided to join the group. And Antonio Carvalho Mendes invited, on behalf of the candidate plate, the biologist and professor at the University of São Paulo, Oswaldo Fidalgo.
On January 19, 1978, the "Cinofilia" column came out with the title “The Fila Club receives registrations”. The text informed that on January 13, at 2:10 pm, at the KCP's headquarters, lawyer Paulo Santos Cruz had signed the registration book as a candidate for the CPFB Advisory Board, as the ninth applicant. Oswaldo Fidalgo had already signed and was the seventh registered one. In an interview with Carvalho Mendes, under the subtitle “Legend of fidelity”, in the same column, Paulo Santos Cruz reported the problems of cross-breeding in the breed and made an appeal: “We are asking all members of Clube Paulista do Fila Brasileiro to join us, for the success of the mission that we imposed ourselves. Let us return to Fila the fidelity it has always devoted to us. Let us not be unworthy of their affection. Let us be like the Fila, as loyal and honest as they haves been with us”.
Proposal with Minas Gerais seasoning
In the same column, below, another title with new information, showing that facts and ideas followed each other like a whirlwind: "COGEFIBRA, the new entity". The text stated, at the opening: “Lawyer Paulo Santos Cruz has just prepared - by invitation - a draft statute of the General Council of Fila Brasileiro.” Although the author of the invitation had kept it confidential, in fact, Antonio Carvalho Mendes had articulated an approximation of Dr. Paulo with Colonel Arthur Verlangieri, from Juiz de Fora (MG), then president of Clube Mineiro do Fila Brasileiro, also unhappy with the mix-breeding, who had suggested the establishment of COGEFIBRA, having asked Santos Cruz to draft a social statute. To meet Verlangieri's initiative, the proposal defined two headquarters for the entity, one administrative-legal, in São Paulo, and another, technical, in Belo Horizonte, which, obviously, would remain with Verlangieri.
This statute, in fact, was an adaptation of the text already prepared by Paulo Santos Cruz for the C.C.C. FIBRAS. Repeating the terms that were already in the first document, COGEFIBRA defined, among other purposes and goals, "... to study or regulate all aspects of the breeding of the Fila Brasileiro, always aiming at purity and improvement".
A political-like party plate, with manifesto and platform
Alongside these plans to establish a new entity, Dr. Paulo and Maciel worked together and on an urgent basis, in view of the short period until the elections, to provide content to the political-like party plate that would run for the direction of Clube Paulista do Fila Brasileiro, with the elaboration of an electoral manifesto and a program. Dr. Paulo wrote the first document, addressed to the members of CPFB, and Luiz Antonio Maciel developed the political-like party plate work platform, widely discussed by them, with 13 items. It consisted of eight members, among whom, in addition to Paulo Santos Cruz, two others, who would later join the Fila Brasileiro Improvement Commission, Oswaldo Fidalgo and Roberto Nobuhiko Maruyama.
Among the proposals, they included: fighting with BKC for the reopening of the RI (Registro Inicial - Initial Registration) to incorporate authentic and pure Filas into the existing stock, still rarely found in the interior areas; review the standard approved by the Brasil Kennel Club in 1976 at the Brasília Symposium and which favored the inclusion of crossbred animals; establish a high-level Technical Committee; develop a code of ethics for breeders; define strict standards in order to check litters; and establish a Department of Dissemination and Publications. It was an outline of what would eventually be CAFIB and the O Fila newsletter.
There was also at least one meeting of some members of the political-like party plate, which, at first, would be called “Defense of the Breed”, but which became “Friends of the Fila Brasileiro”, with an agenda including five items:
1) Reading of material and notices (including a letter in support of the political-like party plate by Francisco Peltier, who was living in England, on business, and a report by Dr. Paulo on the establishment of COGEFIBRA);
2) Elections (with measures such as survey of CPFB members, distribution of tasks, printing of leaflets, collection of funds for the production of the material, how to act on the day of registration and at the time of the elections and dissemination of the political-like party plate);
3) Exhibitions of the year (how to act, file appeals against failures in exhibitions and judgments);
4) What to do in case of victory;
5) What to do in case of defeat (establishment of an association for the preservation of the breed and performance of courses, among others).
The machine has won
Clube Paulista do Fila Brasileiro, as expected, used all of its administrative and KCP machines to convene its members, including two from Rio de Janeiro, and defeat by a large margin the votes of the group that fought cross-breeding and put at stake many personal, business and power interests within São Paulo's cynophilia. On Election Day, each voter could vote for as many names as he/she wanted, up to a maximum of 15, from a plate of 28 registered candidates.
Once the votes were counted, 10 effective members and five alternates were declared elected to the Advisory Council, who chose the executive board formed by Armando de Souza Reis (president, with 84 votes) and Wagner Bacconi (vice-president, with 87 votes). Dr. Paulo Santos Cruz had 16 votes, which means that, in addition to the eight members of his political-like party plate, he got eight more votes from other voters. No member of the opposition obtained enough votes to be elected.
The elected group celebrated the victory and accused its opponents of having raised the banner of fighting cross-breeding for electoral purposes only. And they certainly thought that, with the defeat at the polls, they had gotten rid of inconvenient opponents.
The fight went on
They were mistaken. On February 24, 1978, members of the opposition plate sent a letter to the elected president. In addition to pointing out several irregularities in the electoral process, based on the Statutes of the Clube Paulista do Fila Brasileiro, sufficient to cancel the election, the signatories of the letter stated: “Our goal was not simply electoral, because that which is of interest to us is the defense of the breed and that CPFB fulfills its primary and statutory function of fighting towards the improvement of the breed and selection of animals of the FILA BRASILEIRO BREED, through the guidance of the breeders in the sense of achieving the “IDEAL PROTOTYPE” of that breed”.
The letter also demanded, from the new board, definitions and measures listed in eight items, which should be clarified within three months, on the issue of cross-breeding, reopening of the Initial Registration, verification of litters, what to do with cross-bred animals and review of the 1976 breed standard, among others. All the more so because, in his inaugural address, the president-elect had said that he would “commit to the defense of the breed”.
Copies of the document were also sent to the presidents of BKC - Brasil Kennel Club, KCP - Kenel Clube Paulista and the Federal Council of Cynofilia, as well as to the director of the National Department of Animal Promotion of the Ministry of Agriculture, area of the federal government responsible for the breeding of animals, including dogs.
The roundtable that established CAFIB
Journalist Antonio Carvalho Mendes, who had followed the accusations of mix-breeding, the two proposals for the establishment of pure Filas-only clubs (CCC Fibras and COGEFIBRAS) and the January 30 elections, in view of the delay of CPFB and the other national and state agencies of the Brazilian cynophilia, in solving the issue of cross-breeding in the Fila Brasileiro, decided to convene a roundtable to try to settle the problem once and for all.
Antonio Carvalho Mendes and Luiz Antonio Maciel prepared a script for the roundtable, with the definition of its objectives (clarify the cases of cross-breeding; discuss the adoption of measures to end cross-breeding; solve the situation of existing crossbreds; and the reopening of the RI (Initial Registration) for the Fila breed and an outline of how the debate would develop, with the participation of all the guests.
The meeting was held on March 19, 1978, in a meeting room of the newspaper "O Estado de S. Paulo", on the 6th floor of the building, on the corner of the Marginal of the Tietê River and Av. Engenheiro Caetano Álvares, 55, under the coordination of journalist Antonio Carvalho Mendes and having as secretaries a newspaper employee and journalist Luiz Antonio Maciel. Colonel Ayrton Schaeffer (president of BKC), Osni de Morais Pinto, Paulo Santos Cruz, Roberto Nobuhiko Maruyama, Rubens Gisondi, Oswaldo Fidalgo, Armando de Souza Reis, Vera Lúcia Costa (breeder of Beagles), Colonel Arthur José Walter Verlangieri, Achileu Nogueira Filho (Kirongozi Kennel), José Alberto Tinoco (Fila breeder), Celso Piedemonte de Lima (judge and Fila breeder), Reynaldo Alves de Pinho and João Orlando Jardino (advisors to the CPFB president) attended the meeting.
This historical meeting was briefly reported by journalist Carvalho Mendes in his column of March 23, 1978, under the title “Fila Brasileiro, topic under debate”. The "Cinofilia"'s columnist reports: “At the time, the proposal of Colonel Arthur José Walter Verlangieri - who is currently serving at the IV Army Division in Belo Horizonte - was approved by a majority (8 to 3) and president of the Clube Mineiro de Criadores de Fila Brasileiro - in the sense of a national commission to be established to be held accountable for the development of the Fila Brasileiro breed, providing technical and genetic guidance to existing clubs and breeders in general”. On the occasion, the establishment of the commission was favorably voted by: Santos Cruz, Maciel, Osni, Maruyama, Fidalgo, Vera Costa, Verlangieri and Tinoco.
The commission's proposal and its objectives
Verlangieri went to the meeting already with a defined personal proposal for the establishment of a commission - a formula commonly adopted in public, civil and military administrations, and in political parties to solve problems and pending issues and make proposals based on consensus, as can be seen in Brazilian public life, in which commissions of various types and scope proliferate. Dr. Paulo and his group wanted the official bodies of cynophilia to recognize the existence of cross-breeding and adopt several measures to curb it and allow the reopening of the Initial Registry to inject new, non-crossbred blood into the breed, as well as define what would be done with registered crossbreed dogs already in existence. The initial proposal was to create, from these animals, a breed that would be called Brazilian Mastiff. In view of the resistance of the representatives of the BKC, KCP and CPFB to these proposals, the solution was to approve, as it was and is customary in Brazil, the creation of a commission and, from there, find solutions.
Along with this proposal of the commission, Colonel Verlangieri introduced ten “primary objectives of action”, which were originally part of the COGEFIBRA Statute (later published in "O Fila", number 1, Year I, December 1978, page 2) and were already presented at the first meeting of the Commission, held on April 2, 1978, at Oswaldo Fidalgo's residence, in the Ibirapuera district, in São Paulo. At the time, Verlangieri intended, among other propositions, to “regulate the training and the training exhibitions of the Fila Brasileiro”, without having explained how he intended to do so. Subsequently these proposals were set aside by the commission (first as a Commission - and later as the Fila Brasileiro Improvement Club), which condemned the training of the Fila for attack tests and evaluation of the reaction to blast (shot), because it masked the animal's true temperament and nervous system, impairing the judge's judgment.
BKC's President, Colonel Ayrton Schaeffer, who did not stay until the end of the roundtable and therefore did not vote on the establishment of the commission, stated, upon leaving: “I promise to welcome any decision that is made at this meeting, taking it to BKC so that the national cynophilia mater entity becomes aware of the decisions and adopts the necessary measures. I am in favor of adopting measures that aim at settling the breed problems in the short term, so that it is not further harmed”.
CAFIB starts operating
This committee, which adopted the name of the Comissão de Aprimoramento do Fila Brasileiro - CAFIB (Fila Brasileiro Improvement Committee) at its second meeting, held on May 7, 1978, was initially made up by the following members, chosen at the roundtable: Oswaldo Fidalgo, Luiz Antonio Maciel, Osni de Morais Pinto, Armando de Souza Reis, Celso Piedemonte de Lima and Achileu Nogueira Filho, with two representatives outside São Paulo's capital: Paulo Santos Cruz (in Santos, SP) and Colonel Arthur Verlangieri (in Belo Horizonte, MG).
At the first CAFIB's meeting, Luiz Antonio Maciel was chosen as secretary, in charge of calling the sessions, preparing the agenda and leading the works. Contrary to what is reported by social media, some ill-informed or malicious people, there was no president, and all other members were common members, without any distinction of hierarchy. Dr. Paulo was a member and representative in Santos, and Colonel Verlangieri, member and representative in Belo Horizonte.
Over time and the succession of the meetings, due to disagreements with the guidelines adopted by the commission against cross-breeding, the representatives of the Clube Paulista do Fila Brasileiro Armando de Souza Reis and Celso Piedemonte de Lima (besides João Orlando Jardino, who had replaced Achileu Nogueira Filho on the committee) failed to attend the meetings. Subsequently, Colonel Verlangieri also left, despite the insistence of the other members of the group for him to remain. Initially, he agreed to continue, but then he stopped attending meetings and left CAFIB. He had been very upset because he had not liked the fact that representatives of the commission had noticed, in a presentation by the Clube Mineiro, the presence of a reasonable number of crossbreds, and because he had been admonished for disclosing, on behalf of CAFIB, but without its authorization, a manifesto about the Fila breed.
The course at Itamaraty forges new Fila defenders
In the same column (dated 3/23/1978) in which the roundtable was announced, Carvalho Mendes published a note, under the title “Course”, in which he announced: “The Itamarati Cultural Center shall promote, from the next 29th (one class per week) until the 31st of May (Wednesdays), a course on Fila Brasileiro, taught by lawyer Paulo Santos Cruz. The course shall cover from the origin to the choice of breeder of the Fila Brasileiro breed. The classes, from 8:30 pm to 10:30 pm, shall take place at Rua João Moura, 307, Pinheiros, where the registrations must be made”. The journalist had previously published other notes about the course. Its dissemination had also been made by the Cultural Center in small advertisements in the classified sections of newspapers in the city. Dr. Paulo, therefore, for about two months, would come weekly from his residence in Santos, about 70 km from the capital, to teach about the origin, history, morphology and temperament of the breed, in addition to curiosities and interesting facts, about Fila and about cynophilia in general - that he had experienced, or had known, throughout his vast and intense experience -, occurred at the exhibitions, in urban and in rural area kennels of so many Brazilian regions.
Twenty-five students participated, enthusiasts of the Fila Brasileiro dog and interested in learning more with the “Father of the Breed”. They constituted a lively, but very heterogeneous group that, with the exception of the couple Roberto and Marília Maruyama, was formed by people who had not yet met each other. Among the students were also Airton Campbell, Américo Cardoso dos Santos Júnior and Marilda Mallet. So every Wednesday, Dr. Paulo started to take the bus from Santos to São Paulo, where he disembarked at the Jabaquara Bus Terminal and, there, boarded the subway to Paraíso Station, at the beginning of Avenida Paulista, and then went by taxi to the Pinheiros district. At that time there was no Green Line Expressway, which later (from 1991) would go through Av. Paulista, nor the Yellow Line Expressway, which currently connects São Paulo / Morumbi Station to Estação da Luz; there was only the Blue Line Expressway - from Jabaquara to Santana, later expanded to Tucuruvi.
Many were attracted to the classes due to the fact that, at the end of the 1970's, there was an increase in cross-breeding and forgery of pedigrees, which put the breed's survival at serious risk. And many owners and sympathizers of the Fila breed were interested in knowing what was going on inside the kennels and on the exhibition tracks. The outrageous heterogeneity of the specimens registered and presented as Filas Brasileiros, astonished the foreign judges invited to judge the specimens promoted by BKC. This bizarre situation was already beginning to lead the directors of national cynophilia to fear that the FCI (Federação Cinológica Internacional) would cancel the recognition of the Fila Brasileiro as a breed. It was for this reason and due to the pressure of many owners and breeders of Fila Brasileiro against cross-breeding that the president of BKC, Colonel Ayrton Schaeffer, in an attempt to discipline the chaos, had no other option but to approve the establishment of the commission that would become CAFIB at the historical "Estadão" roundtable, previously reported. This topic also interested the students of the course.
At the end of the two months of classes, the enthusiasm and involvement of the apprentices with the master had become so intense that the board of Centro Cultural Itamaraty had to accept our requests for an extension of the end of the course, extending it for another four weekly classes. After that additional month, it was no longer possible to extend the closing again, as Itamaraty already had a new event scheduled for that room.
It is important to note that, in that distant year of 1978, Paulo Santos Cruz was 63 years old and, over the course of 12 years, until 1990, when he died, at the age of 75, he kept the initiative and the willingness to come from Santos to São Paulo every week for CAFIB meetings, where he always arrived, very willing and in a good mood. He just did not come when these meetings were held at his own residence, where, then, we came to know his charming lady, Dona Antonieta. She was endowed with remarkable culinary talent and always offered us lavish and unforgettable dinners, especially on the occasions of his and hers birthdays, which we did not miss and were invariably received with great attention and affection. It is worth mentioning that they were spiritualists and, for religious reasons, vegetarians; with this, to our surprise, they managed to demonstrate to all of us, irreducible carnivores, that it was possible to prepare varied and delicious meals without the use of red meat. At that time, in addition to weekly meetings, we also used to travel, at least once a month, to promote Phenotype and Temperament Analysis, often followed by Exhibitions, in several cities, mainly in São Paulo, but also in Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro. Janeiro, Bahia, by car, bus or plane. Among the countless memories of those marathons, we can remember the time when, when stopping to fuel and have lunch at a roadside post, the "Pai da Raça", who was a medium, observing the pleasure with which Cleide was devouring a rare steak, he commented, with some irony, that he was seeing a dead ox drooling over her head.
As a result of this intense coexistence, the affective bonds between the founders of CAFIB and the Santos Cruz couple became much closer. And since, in addition to not having any children, they practically did not keep in touch with their families, we, founders of CAFIB, ended up being "adopted" as very close relatives, which greatly honored us.
Later, when it became a Club, CAFIB held another course, also taught by Paulo Santos Cruz, from October 1979, at the regional headquarters of ABI - Associação Brasileira de Imprensa, at Rua Augusta.