Wrong to threaten
With regards to the KC's Code of Practice and the rules for volunteers, I have a couple of points.
If you volunteer for any canine society/club, in whatever role, surely you are volunteering for that particular society/club?
If the show you are volunteering for is held under KC rules, then you should follow these carefully. But, I have always believed that you should have the right to criticise what you are doing, because it could improve the show/event you are volunteering for.
I believe in constructive critcism, it is the only way to ensure improvements in whatever you and your fellow volunteers, not least the organisation that runs the show/event, are doing.
The KC is right to have a code of practice, but wrong to 'threaten' volunteers.
Someone asked 'how will they police it?' Perhaps they will send 'evaluators', (similar to the one that got the judge banned for turning her back on an exhibitor), out to all shows who will go round listening to volunteers conversations.
And what about the exhibitors? Are they a 'paying' volunteers? Will they be listened to as well?
The most stupid part of this, bearing in mind that the KC Board is made up of a group of supposedly intelligent adults, is the use of the word 'terminated'. That is an insult to anyone, anywhere, in any volunteering role.
Does that mean we've all got to look out for Arnie at shows now?
Obreedience at Crufts
We were very pleased to read that Jean Walker enjoys competing in Obreedience (Our Dogs, Feb 9), an event which the Kennel Club fully supports and which is designed to encourage more breeds to 'have a go' at some of the tests associated with competitive obedience but in a less formal competitive environment.
As Jean points out, at Crufts this year Obreedience is on the Thursday afternoon after the Inter Regional Rally competition. It used to be on the Saturday after the Obedience Championships, but unfortunately the logistics of that timings-wise did not work.
Obreedience moved to the Thursday last year, which was also the debut year for Rally. We acknowledge that Obreedience did start late as the Rally overran, but hopefully that won't happen this year as everyone knows more of what to expect in relation to Rally.
There has always been a good audience for the Obreedience competition with it being on at 4:30pm. This time slot also suits those Obreedience competitors who are showing their dogs in the breed classes earlier in the day.
While a lot of people would prefer their own event to be in the areas of Crufts that they believe have higher visibility, such as the main arena, Obreedience is actually a perfect fit for the obedience ring as it is designed to encourage more people to get involved in Obedience and also to showcase to the general public that pedigree dogs can be competitive in this respect.
We take this opportunity to wish Jean and all the other Obreedience competitors an enjoyable day at Crufts. As stated above, the Kennel Club is very supportive of this event, and if people wish to find out more, please visit the Dog Activities stand in hall 3 at the show where Kennel Club staff will happily supply details.
Kennel Club Secretary
All about the money
Regretfully the KC IS a business. Under the current chairman it has become much more like M&S than a dog club with the needs of dogs paramount. It's now all about the money.
Let's see - increase in registration fees (more income), new judges framework (more income), etc., etc.
Sadly, the KC's efforts to pull itself into the 20th century (let's not even think about the 21st) have been overridden by a purely business objective. Let's not kid ourselves - the judges' education system needed an overhaul. It just didn't need the one being foisted upon it.
What bemuses me is that every single member of the KC that I've heard speak about the government of the KC is absolutely opposed to what is currently going on.
However, the KC isn't and never will be a democracy. You won't ever get to be a member unless, at the end of the day, a small group of people approve your membership. Thus any voting is, in effect, tightly controlled.
Upsetting the judges is just one thing. Threatening people who speak out against the KC is something else. Unless this regime changes, and changes soon, the only thing that will exist will be a company making money from registrations and transfer fees. But perhaps that's the goal?
Name and address supplied
No to shock collars
I was so pleased to see that shock collars have been banned up in Scotland. Wales banned them back in 2010 and it is obvious now that England has to follow its Celtic cousins and ban them as well.
Campaigners in Scotland informed me that they faced physical and online abuse from these pathetic people who want to keep shock collars legal. In England we should follow the example of their courage and perseverance to get the collars banned.
I am pleased that the Conservative MP, Ross Thomson, has taken up the cause and is ready to force the government's hand. Politically I am not a Conservative but I do not care who gets these evil things banned.
In Scotland there were some people who would not support the Conservative MSP, Maurice Golden, because he was a Tory. This attitude is stupid in my opinion. There are some issues that cross party lines and this, in my opinion, is one.
Clearly at the moment the government are seeking to create good news on the animal welfare front. They have committed themselves to increasing the maximum sentence for animal cruelty to five years, they look like they are going to support a ban on third party sales and it seems that the word on the underground grapevine is that it will not take too much of a push to encourage Michael Gove, the Environment Secretary, to agree to a ban.
That does not mean that it will be easy. When business leans on government they can flex their muscles. What we need to do is to show that we are stronger than them. So sign the petition - https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/211524
and let your friends know about it on social media. I am probably showing my age here but I remember Barbara Woodhouse on the television. Can you imagine someone like her resorting to using an electric shock to train a dog. All you need is patience, hard work, skill and love.
So, as I say, back this campaign and we can these collars banned in England.
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