The Kennel Club Annual Report 2006/07
Message from the Chairman of the Kennel Club
Perhaps one of the most important things that we have done in that five year period has been to organise and recognise the definition of the key published objectives of the Club towards that main strategic aim. These are listed in various places throughout this Report. The General Committee has defined these strategic objectives, and the Chief Executive has ensured that they are given focus in the day to day activities of the Staff of the Club. We must not allow ourselves to be diverted from the achievement of these objectives - all of which are important for dogs and for dog people – and perhaps more important today than ever before.
The last year has been another one of success for the Kennel Club in terms of numbers – number of registrations, number of transfers, number of competitions and shows, number of Members, Associates and Affiliates and last but not least financial numbers. These things are all important in giving the Kennel Club the wherewithal - and the confidence - to press on in the achievement of its major goals. They are not however the ‘be all and end all’.
Success in other terms has been harder to achieve. Harold Macmillan when he was Prime Minister was once asked what worried him most. Famously, he replied "Events, dear boy, events!" and it has been such external ‘events’ that have conspired to make life difficult for dogs - and for us - during the course of the last year. The first of these externally imposed events was Defra and Parliament’s decision not only to ban docking from April of this year, but also to ban the showing of even legally docked dogs at shows to which the public are ‘admitted on payment of a fee’. This single act has institutionalised the separation of work and show in some breeds where we have been trying for years to keep the two aspects together. As such it has to be regretted. The next ‘event’ has been the series of very unfortunate biting incidents, which has stalled our efforts to reform the Dangerous Dogs Act – an area where we had started to make significant progress and to which we will return. The third ‘event’ has been the various media attacks on pedigree dogs which, temporarily at least, have forced us to become defensive instead of being justly proud of all that we are achieving in that area of our activities.
These three diverse issues are all indications of the vulnerability of dogs, and our hobby of breeding and competing with dogs, to the adverse effect of outside interference. That all too evident vulnerability must merely reinforce our determination to press on in achieving our various objectives. It is to be hoped that it will also be a wake-up call to breeders, exhibitors, judges, the canine press and everyone else involved in dogs, to be more positive and work together better -in the face of some pretty strong anti-dog feeling generally and anti-pedigree dog sentiment in particular.
Last year I confirmed the Kennel Club’s continuing commitment to fighting the corner of what I called "the ‘purist’ show aspects of the pedigree dog world", as a major part of looking after dogs as a whole. This again, and perhaps more than ever, has to be a major commitment of the Club. It is largely the world of the pedigree dog that elects the Kennel Club General Committee and pays for the Kennel Club Staff. I can assure you that, going forward, I will do all in my power to remind everyone of that.
The rest of this Report confirms all of the many positive achievements of the last year; the large sums of money pumped into the KC Charitable Trust and the many other health initiatives carried out by the Club itself; the success of Safe and Sound and the KC Good Citizen Dog Scheme; the fantastic improvements at Crufts; the continuing growth of the Young Kennel Club; the refurbishment of the KC Library and the Royal Dogs Exhibition in the Gallery; the growth and improvements in the Accredited Breeder Scheme; the growth in training activities – these are just some of the many successes of which we should be very proud.
There is still much more that needs to be done and we have the people, the skills and the funds to tackle these issues with confidence. All we need to enable us to carry out the job really well, is the support and enthusiasm of Kennel Club Members and of all those interested in the canine world.
My sincere thanks go again to my colleagues on the General Committee without whose dedicated
work and support my position as Chairman would be untenable. But all of the other Sub-Committees and Working Parties put in a huge amount of voluntary work as well, and our grateful thanks go to them also. To our Chief Executive Rosemary Smart, whose enthusiastic leadership of the KC Staff cannot be underestimated, and to her entire team, must go the thanks of us all. To Rosemary and to Vice-Chairman Bill Hardaway, I wish to express my own personal gratitude. Their help and support make the task of being Chairman enjoyable and fun (at least most of the time!).
The KC Annual Report 2006/7 can be viewed in its entirety at www.thekennelclub.org.uk