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Kennel Club AGM - The Chairman’s speech

Ronnie Irving

‘I’m pleased to report, on behalf of the General Committee, on the activities of the Kennel Club since its last Annual General Meeting in May 2008.

‘By now, you should all have received, and hopefully had the time to read through, the Kennel Club’s Annual Report for 2008/2009. I’m sure that you will agree that the report once again demonstrates what a significant and busy year the Kennel Club has had, in many different areas of its work.

‘Twelve months ago – last May - I stood before you and spoke in detail of the importance which the Kennel Club General Committee was placing on improving the health and welfare of dogs. The events of the past year have proved that we were very much right to highlight this issue so prominently - and there will be a special presentation under the next Agenda Item, on what the Club has done, since we last met, to improve the health of dogs.

‘We have to close this meeting by 1.30 at the latest unless we want to stay for the Curzon Cinema Matinee performance. So, to allow for adequate discussion on the special presentation, I hope that you will forgive me if I keep the rest of this speech fairly brief. The Annual Report was edited just a few weeks before you all received it this year, and thus there is relatively little to update since its production. As always, it provides a comprehensive coverage of the Club’s activities in the past year.

‘One of the key achievements has been the successful completion and opening of the Kennel Club Educational Trust’s Building at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire. This training facility and venue, which has been purpose-built with dogs and dog activities in mind, was completed on time and has proved popular with users and visitors alike.

‘While I am happy to report that the Kennel Club Building appears to have been unaffected by the economic downturn there is however mixed news on the latest figures for other areas of our day-to-day work. Whilst the number of puppies registered last year rose by 0.4% in comparison to 2007, there has been a drop in these numbers in the first quarter of this year. Thankfully the number of registrations recorded per day during April showed a slight improvement as compared to the first three months of the year, so perhaps we are seeing those first green shoots of recovery - which are being sought after so widely by politicians and economists alike.


‘However, on a more positive note, our figures on the number of people using the Kennel Club’s Find A Puppy service show that in the first quarter, there was an increase of 11% in the number of searches for a puppy. But at the same time fewer puppies were available from our breeders. This suggests that the demand for pedigree dogs is as strong as ever it was, and has led us to be concerned that it may be the puppy farmer fraternity who will benefit from this situation if there are not enough pups available from responsible Kennel Club breeders such as those on our Accredited Breeder Scheme.

‘Transfer numbers continue to perform exceptionally well and the latest figures show that almost 72% of all puppies registered have been subsequently transferred during 2009 so far.
‘We have mentioned in the Report - and in the Annual Accounts that you will be asked to approve later - that the Club sustained a loss in 2008. It amounted to £786K after tax. The negative turnaround as compared to last year was mainly because of

• falls in the value of our investments –
roughly the same level of falls as those experienced by others

• the additional money donated to fund the completion of the Stoneleigh project

• the (hopefully) one-off negative impact of that TV show

‘Despite that we were still able to support the Kennel Club’s family of charities as before, and I am pleased to report that the General Committee has agreed to various cost cutting and revenue raising measures designed to ensure that the Club’s financial performance is stabilised. You will be asked to vote for a couple of the revenue issues later in the meeting.

‘That summary, ladies and gentlemen, taken along with the written report already circulated to you, forms the General Committee’s account of the activities of the Club since we met last year. Thank you.’

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