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KC members told they must 'open up'

Kennel Club members heard last Tuesday from a member of their own general committee that they must consider opening up membership to existing associates in an effort to democratise The Kennel Club.

Speaking to the apparently innocuous Item 8 on the Kennel Club Bi-annual General Meeting agenda, lawyer Mr Norman Ziman told members that the time had come to open up existing associates and to make the membership process easier.

In a discussion document which may well form a proposal at next year's AGM, he asked members to consider the whole process by which new blood is brought in to help the Kennel Club's committees in the future, pointing out that the Kennel Club was founded in 1873, at which time there was a limit of 100 members. This was increased over the years to 500 and was only increased to 750 in 1979 when ladies were allowed to become full members.

He added that the Kennel Club had always been in favour of evolution not revolution, but that it had been the feeling of the general committee that the time was right to increase the membership base if the Kennel Club was to go forward in the 21st century and to continue to represent the world of pedigree dogs, the political pressures from anti-dog legislation, and generally the various disciplines which now form part of the show scene.

It is thought that one of the ways forward would be to allow existing associated members of three years standing or more to apply for full membership.

An alternative maybe to introduce another class of membership that may allow the benefits open to associates but peermit full voting rights.

This class of membership could preclude access to the social club in Mayfair.

Speaking to the proposal, members felt that it was equally important to have a proposer and seconder who are existing members.