Code of Conduct


This Code of Conduct has been developed to set out the North American Quills Association (NAQA) expectations for all persons taking part in or attending events under its jurisdiction along with general guidelines on the use of social media.

Why do we need a code of conduct?

We are all under intense scrutiny in terms of pet ownership and animal breeding generally. There are those who believe that small exotic animals, such as our quilled friends, should not be kept as pets and should not be bred. The advice and guidance offered in this document are not meant to penalize or create difficulty but are there to protection of all of us, especially those quilled species that we represent. Unity and co-operation are vital for the success of our hobby.

What we expect from you 

As with all animal show and educational organizations, NAQA expects all exhibitors, competitors, and participants to conduct themselves in a responsible manner. We expect you to ensure that your animals are properly taken care of throughout the period of the event. Below are expectations which should be followed. These are not exhaustive and should be considered in conjunction with the NAQA Code of Ethics.  A breach of these provisions may be referred to the General Committee for disciplinary action under NAQA Rules and Regulations.


Participants have a duty both to their animals and to others to make NAQA sanctioned events friendly and welcoming. Participants are expected to be cooperative and create a safe environment for all to enjoy their time at NAQA sanctioned events. 

 Participants should conduct themselves at all times in an appropriate fashion and should display good manners and respect towards other participants, show officials and to the judges. 

Any verbal or nonverbal communication with a judge should take place after judging has taken place and must be conducted in a polite and professional manner. 

Abusive, threatening, or aggressive behavior towards anyone at an NAQA event- including the judge, other participants, show management or other officials - will not be tolerated under any circumstances (additional information appears later in this publication regarding harassment).

Do not interrupt or interfere with any animal or the judges during judging. Any questions or clarification should be directed to a show steward without distraction to judge or animals.

Mobile phones should be turned off/silenced while animals are being judged, so as to not startle the animals or distract the judges.

Do not touch any animals unless you have the permission of the owner to do so. Sanitize your hands before and after touching each animal.

If you have children, be aware of where your children are and what they are doing at all times. Take special care to ensure that children do not approach the judging table and  that they are not touching animals without permission of the owner.

Be welcoming to newcomers. Remember that they may not have the benefit of experience and information that you have enjoyed. Be constructive in helping to make their entry into the hobby an enjoyable one. 


Animals should be in good health and free of any infection or disease. Animals with parasites or contagious illness should never be brought to events.

Animals that are shown should have the correct temperament to enable the judge to examine them  independently of the exhibitor’s assistance. If you know that your quilled friend is particularly shy or aggressive, travel and examination by a stranger are likely to create unnecessary stress for that animal.


North American Quills Association events are meant to be fun, welcoming, and inclusive. No one should be subject to intimidation, made to feel alarmed or distressed, or put in fear of reprisal. Harassment is a criminal offence and the NAQA adopts a zero tolerance towards all type of harassment activity. 

Harassment may be defined as causing alarm, distress, anxiety, and fear of physical violence or other threat, offensive statements, verbal abuse and threats. Conduct may include speech, obstruction and so on. If conduct involves a criminal offence the police may be involved and NAQA will defer any action pending the outcome of such investigation and/or prosecution. NAQA expects courtesy and cooperation to be shown towards all staff and organizers at any NAQA sanctioned event. 

The pressures and tensions that arise at a competitive level are understood, however any aggression or abuse towards those who are simply doing their jobs for the benefit and interest of the exhibitor/competitor, the audience and the animals themselves, cannot be tolerated.

Use of social media

The rapid growth of social media  combined with their ease of use and pervasiveness make them attractive channels for communication. However, use of social media for communication creates the possibility of a host of unintended consequences. To help you identify and avoid potential issues we are providing some examples of best practice that is meant to help you understand, from a wide range of perspectives, the implications of participation in social media. Any postings that you make as a representative of or participant in NAQA  sanctioned activities will reflect on NAQA.

Do not post confidential or proprietary information. Do not discuss a situation involving named or pictured individuals on a social media site without their permission. Do not post anything in a private forum that you would not present in any public forum because there is no true privacy on the Internet. Ask yourself if you would want to see this published in the newspaper or posted on a billboard tomorrow or ten years from now? Additionally, ask yourself if you would want to see screen shots posted to the person or persons about whom you are talking.

Does it Pass the Publicity Test? If the content of your message would not be acceptable for face-to-face conversation, over the telephone, or in another medium, it will not be acceptable for a social networking site. 

Think Before You Post: There’s no such thing as a “private” social media site. Search engines can turn up posts and pictures years after publication. Comments can be forwarded or copied. Archival systems save information even if you delete a post. If you feel angry or passionate about a subject, it’s prudent to wait until you are calm and clear-headed before posting.

Understand Your Personal Responsibility: You are personally responsible for the content you publish on user generated content forums, such as blogs or social  media sites. Remember that what you publish will be public for a long time. Protect your privacy.

Be Aware of Liability: You are responsible for what you post on your own site and on the sites of others. Be sure that what you post today is not something that you will regret in the future and that you are not violating any legal guidelines.

Be Accurate: Be sure that you have all the facts before you post. It’s better to verify your sources first than to have to post a correction or retraction later. If you do make a mistake,  admit it and correct it. Post a retraction, edit your post, make any necessary apologies. If you are editing an earlier post, make it clear that you have made a correction.

Respect Others: You can catch a whole lot more flies with honey than vinegar. If you are constructive and respectful while discussing a disagreement or bad experience, you are far more likely to reach an understanding. You may not be able to reach an understanding, but your responsibility is to attempt to be constructive and address the problem rather than attacking the person. 

Respect Your Audience: Don’t use personal insults or obscenity toward others. Show proper consideration for others’ privacy and for sensitive topics. Users are free to discuss topics and disagree with one another, but be respectful of others’ opinions. You are more likely to achieve your goals if you are constructive and respectful while discussing a bad experience or disagreeing with an idea or a person. Harassment is not acceptable.

Take the High Ground: You are more likely to build a high quality following if you discuss ideas and situations civilly. Don’t pick fights online. Remember that as a participant in NAQA programming, you are representing NAQA and that NAQA supports the principles of fun, respect, and inclusion.

Code of Ethics:


The NAQA Code of Ethics has been developed as a guideline for behavior and applies to all roles in the NAQA world. Without a code of ethics applying to breeding, judging, and handling, the future of  showing our quilled friends would be in jeopardy.

The NAQA Code of Ethics is a means to provide participants with a set of guiding principles. These principles are the foundation that will enable our hobby to thrive and are practiced in all aspects of our hobby: showing, breeding, and companionship.  They are meant to  inspire good sportsmanship, responsibility, and community among participants in all facets of NAQA .

This Code of Ethics should be made readily available on any website advertising an NAQA event and at every NAQA affiliated event. The NAQA Code of Ethics is as follows: 

  1. Participants commit themselves to values of fair play, honesty, and courtesy, as well as winning and losing with grace.
  2. Participants refuse to compromise their commitment and obligation to the hobby of quilled animals by introducing personal advantage or consideration into their decisions or behavior.
  3. Participants judge judge only on the merits of the animals and consider no other factors.
  4. Participants accept constructive criticism and provide corrections in a manner that is constructive. It is important to be supportive of one another to provide a healthy environment for our hobby to  grow.
  5. Participants decline to exhibit under a judge where it might reasonably appear that the judge’s placements could be based on something other than the merits of the animal.
  6. Participants refuse to compromise the impartiality of a judge.
  7. Participants respect the NAQA bylaws, rules, regulations and policies governing the hobby of quilled animals.
  8. Participants find that vigorous competition and civility are compatible and are able to appreciate the merit of their competition and the effort of competitors. 
  9. Participants welcome, encourage and support newcomers to the hobby.
  10. Participants will deal fairly with all those who do business with them.
  11. Participants are willing to share honest and open appraisals of both the strengths and weaknesses of their breeding stock.
  12. Participants will not take personal advantage of positions offered or bestowed upon them.
  13. Participants always consider as paramount the welfare of their animals.
  14. Participants refuse to embarrass the sport, the NAQA, or themselves while taking part in the hobby.
  15. Participants respect the history, traditions and integrity of the hobby of quilled animals.
  16. Participants will seek factual information regarding our quilled friends. When providing information to others, they will clarify whether the source of that information is from peer reviewed science, personal study/observation, conventional wisdom, or the statement of others.