As sure as night follows day, the issue of the cost of general championship show entries, linked with the recurrent moan of why do winners just get prize cards and not a rosette, raises its ugly head.
Now I cannot say if all general societies show the same degree of financial prudence or which, if any, are extravagant in any way, but one of the most important, if not the most important, factor is simply cost! All societies need to balance the books, while at the same time needing to have a little put away for the rainy day to cover the cost of anything going wrong, such as occurred when shows cancelled during the last foot and mouth outbreak.
Looking at rosettes specifically, if you gave five places per class that would mean you would need 10,000 rosettes for a 2000 class general championship show! The cost of rosettes can vary depending on quality but if we say that each rosette cost £1 then the society would incur extra expenditure of £10,000 and this can only be covered by increasing entry fees! There is no other option! The big question is, with few shows getting an entry of 10,000, 'Are you willing pay an increased entry of at least a pound to allow all winners from first to VHC to have a rosette?' That is the stark reality!
Then there are the practicalities. As most will have observed, or ought to have done, (unless they have stewarded at general championship shows and know what is entailed) the stewards have a ring box containing all the necessary paperwork, including prize cards, etc. required for running their rings. These are normally small to medium plastic boxes that are easily carried. However adding the burden of rosettes would be considerable and bearing in mind there may be between 16 to 30 or more classes in a ring, they would need extra larger boxes for 80 to over 150 mixed rosettes. Have the stewards not got enough work to do?
Nor must we forget those behind the scenes. Preparation of stewards boxes usually require a small team working away for a day or two in the week prior to the show. Do they really need the burden of sorting out thousands of rosettes as well? Of course some will comment that many rosettes will be unused from small classes and these can be used at future shows thus reducing the cost. All very true! But who is going to sort out all returned rosettes? Extra chores for hard working committee members! And what about storage? Not all societies have their own storage facilities and much has to go into secretaries' garages or lofts. These are probably overflowing without adding rosettes to the load!
Lastly there is the question about the fate of rosettes in the hands of recipients? Newer exhibitors often proudly display them on the wall but with hopefully continuing success they soon run out of space. The stark fact is that many, if not most, rosettes get popped into plastic bags, stashed away in a cupboard to get dumped in the bin during a clear out many years later! What a waste of money. Today many recognise this and return rosettes to the society, except special ones perhaps, to be recycled, and this often applies to judges as well as exhibitors.
If we are sensible about it, while it may be nice to receive them, giving rosettes as well as prize cards is an unnecessary expenditure. Perhaps the option of buying rosettes for those who want them is the way to go although I would not be worried about the rush!
I am writing to offer my sincere apologies to Liz Stannard, her Committee and especially the exhibitors for being unable to fulfil my judging at Leeds.
It is the first time in 40 years I have been forced to let a show down but I suffered an unexpected bout of kidney malfunction, possibly caused by dehydration in the hot weather.
After a week of treatment I am pleased to be well on the way to recovery and looking forward to judging Gundogs at Rotterdam show next month. Once again, my deepest apologies.
Opulence and elitism
Having become rather exasperated recently with the failure of the Kennel Club to respond to emails and phone calls about important club matters (heaven help you if you treat the KC in a similar manner), I found it unbelievable that the Special Feature in this month's issue of the Kennel Gazette was about the KC's restaurant at Clarges Street that "caters for members and committees".
The KC has a Club Manager who in turn has a PA, there is a chef de partie, head chef, sous chef and a commis chef. There is a head of food service and waiting team and the publication has a rather nice photo of four of the waiting staff who "attend to the members", the list goes on.
We are informed that the club room and dining room are of a very high standard and the quality of the furniture, furnishings and decor is of a very high grade (by the way the board and conference rooms are a much higher quality and specification). They would like to do many more lunches daily, "45-50 every day would be marvellous" but the membership is spread out across the length of the country with less than 25 per cent living within the M25 radius. We are even shown a "taster of some of what is to come on the Christmas menu".
This is how the KC describes itself on its website - "We are the UK's largest organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the health and welfare of all dogs. Besides being a voluntary register for pedigree dogs and crossbreed dogs, we offer dog owners and those working with dogs an unparalleled source of education, experience and advice on puppy buying, dog health, dog training and dog breeding".
Perhaps somebody could enlighten me as to how this example of opulence and elitism helps the KC to achieve its primary objectives in any way whatsoever.
Isn't it little short of unbelievable that the RVS has dithered too long in some serious action against the owner of my Vet veterinary surgeries, after being found guilty of providing false health checks and vaccination cards from a puppy farming set up in Ireland.
We are all aware that this abominable trade exists and those involved give little or no thought about the welfare of the dogs in their supposed care. Greed and the lure of money is uppermost in their minds. We should expect better from the appropriate authority, and as reported in your newspaper after the case, upon appeal which merited a substantial prison sentence for these despicable acts, it is still under consideration by the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons.
Surely the public and concerned members of the dog world should expect speedy action, together with the question of whether such vets should ever practice again, after being exposed in such nefarious activities in the interest of money rather than animals in their care. A clear and immediate message sent out now by the RVS and in the future, might go far in concentrating the minds of others who might be tempted in such directions.
David L Thomson
Feeding the right food
Your article about more dogs having food intolerances made me think.
As it says in your piece the rise in 'gluten-free' and 'wheat-free' food is growing among people and, it seems, they are now passing on these food choices to their dogs.
The first instinct is to think that this is the owner being a bit fussy and that give a dog something to eat they will eat it no matter what it contains.
Yet we now know more about nutrition and how canine bodies work, and it may be that dogs suffered food allergies in the past whilst their owners carried on plying them with the same old dog food.
Obviously, a dog in the wild would eat anything it could get its hands on and they would not care if it was not hypoallergenic. That does not mean that we should not make sure our dogs are eating the right food for them.
However, I do remember when I was a lad and there was no way I could be a fussy eater. You get what you're given! And if you didn't eat it you got a good hiding!
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