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Monday, 03 June 2019

KC AGM: petition to ignore vote

Written by Our Dogs

Last week’s report on the KC AGM was able only to outline the Board election results, the results of the various votes and a summary of the items discussed at the recent KC AGM. 

There has so far been no official comment from the Kennel Club on the results of the votes. In these, the Board failed to have its views accepted on five of the eight substantive proposals discussed. It is understood that the results of the votes will all be discussed at the next meeting of the KC Board on 4th June.

At the AGM the Board did successfully stave off probably the most controversial of the proposals from Members, namely a ‘Vote of No Confidence’ which it won by having the support of 426 Members with only 257 supporting the proposal.

Another proposal that it succeeded in opposing was that its former Chairman Simon Luxmoore should be ‘invited to withdraw from his membership of the Kennel Club’ That proposal was defeated with 342 voting to reject it, against 317 who wanted the proposal to succeed.

On the other hand a similar proposal to ask former Director Mark Cocozza to stand down from his KC Membership, was carried by 351 votes to 332. OUR DOGS has learned that Mr Cocozza subsequently resigned his membership of the Kennel Club in a communication to the KC Board.  Asked by OUR DOGS to make an observation on his resignation, Mr Cocozza declined to comment.

A majority of Members voted in favour of the Board’s proposal to change the rule that men have to wear ties in the bar area of the Club. That vote however needed a higher majority to be put into effect, and it failed because that two thirds majority was not achieved.
Each of three proposals made by Mike Gadsby gained a comfortable two to one approval from members, with over 500 voting in favour of each proposal and just over 200 voting against.

They were:

• first that Board Members should not show under one another, 
• second that the JCF should be put on hold and be subjected to an independent review and
• third that members of the KC Judges Committee should not be approved for further breeds at CC level while they are serving on that Committee.

JCF - Petition against the vote

The second of these resolutions, namely to put the JCF on hold and subject it to an independent review, was immediately challenged by supporters of those who had been championing the system. They instigated an on-line petition to say that the KC Board should ignore the votes of its Members. The supporters of this petition said

“We believe that whilst the Kennel Club Board has an obligation to consider the Kennel Club Member vote to put ‘the JCF on hold pending an independent review’, they should move swiftly and resoundingly to reject it. The reasons are set out as follows:

1) The mis-information and vigorous negative campaign waged against the JCF through social media.
2) The time and money invested by so many outside the KC Membership to progress the JCF.
3) Wasting money on a review which could be better invested in judges educational material. 
4) The creation of a progressive structured framework for educating judges should be encouraged not curtailed and any changes/updates should be as part of a continuous review process following the full implementation.
5) The old judging system is out dated and not fit for purpose and the JCF needs to be implemented as planned to start the training of judges for the future without any further delays.
6) The Board needs to consider the positivity and hope felt by a large majority of the wider dog showing fraternity that a FAIR and OPEN system has been created to encourage judges. 
7) The JCF has been mis-represented and it in fact gives breed clubs the opportunity to educate new breed judges and bring on the next generation of breed specialists as well as ensure non specialists are mentored and observed by breed experts. 
8) It ensures prospective judges have actually studied the breed standards of breeds they wish to judge. 

“The JCF offers opportunity, hope, an open approach, a structured framework for learning, a route for new breed specialists and non specialists, a life line to open shows through supported entry, a guarantee that breed seminars will actually take place and a system for mentoring as seen in many other countries. This should be embraced and we need to get on with it rather than dither and debate ad nauseam!!”

Supporters also argued that it was wrong to ask that a body of people outside the dog world should be brought in to carry out such a review.

Mike Gadsby responds

Mike Gadsby was quick to respond to these moves and on social media made the following comments: 

“There really is no need to have a petition or for people to talk destructively in that petition about negative campaigns and misrepresentations.... equally there is no need for people to attempt to persuade the KC Board to ignore the 533 people who voted yesterday to put the JCF on hold.

“All of us recognise that there are many excellent aspects of the JCF which need promoting but the KC Members yesterday recognised by a two to one vote, supporting what the majority of ordinary dog people are saying, that the JCF is far too complicated at the moment and needs to have a re-evaluation by people independent of those who are stubbornly committed to it because they invented it. “No one has suggested it should be scrapped – just put on hold and re-examined to accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives ...AND most importantly to ensure that the many respected mostly specialist judges put off by some of its aspects can be persuaded to change their minds and come back to the judging fold.

“It is essential to have a thorough impartial examination of the scheme. Let’s be positive about this and help the KC Board to take account of what breed clubs, open show organisers, ordinary judges and exhibitors are saying and then move forward supportively and constructively.” 

And in response to the accusation that the review was to be carried out by people outside the dog world he said: “People are apparently questioning what was meant when we requested that the JCF should undergo a complete assessment by what we called ‘an independent review body.’ Some people are suggesting (either genuinely or maliciously) that this meant that the review should be carried out by people from outside our dog community. We had thought that by mentioning the involvement of breed clubs, open show societies and exhibitors, it would be clear that this was not our intention in any way.

The independence wanted was independence from those who were originally responsible for inventing the JCF in the first place, and from the KC hierarchy that has been supporting the plan for the last two years – sometimes in the face of obvious fierce criticism from very large numbers of those who take part in our hobby. Let me make it quite clear - it has never been our intention to look for involvement in this desired review by people outside our sport. All we want is the involvement of dog people independent of the KC Board. 

“AND can I reiterate once again the proposal does not suggest scrapping the new system!!!!”


These replies by Mike Gadsby received massive online support on one social media platform with hundreds of positive comments, but comment on the subject was barred by another Facebook page which often censors views with which it does not agree.

Among the many supportive comments was the following from Sue Harris: “Once again a considerable proportion of the Kennel Club members took the time to vote on subjects clearly held dear to them. If the votes had gone the other way I dare say the opposing contingent might also have been claiming underhanded dealings had a part to play.....The votes were cast, unpalatable to some, a relief to others. As I understand the “Review” motion is not to be feared by anyone...it will not halt the JCF, common sense says there is a lot of benefit to be had from rationalising learning.

The powers that be do need to take account of a huge number of grass roots concerns, this is obvious. Yes, there has been moves towards that already, however piecemeal legislation is not always the best written work, we only have to look at Brexit or the new Animal Welfare Act where frustratingly the full facts are either not shared or proper consultation with the appropriate people is not sought. So let’s welcome a review....This could be an opportunity for EVERYONE to feel they are now part of this new regime, where everyone feels their circumstances have been considered, the elder statesmen and women do not feel cast aside or overwhelmed by the thought of being forced to join the academic world, the new up and comings feel that they have the opportunity to take their judging forward without being unfairly undermined and the show administrators are not put in fear of their societies being left to struggle.

“Independent people? There are plenty, there are countless of us out there that have a balanced view, are prepared to listen and consider all sides, are happy to go with what makes sense......It will of course press pause on the JCF being implemented in its entirety, but surely there is no reason to stop its progress, merely not remove the old system yet whilst the review takes place......now what is the harm in that? Costs, yes it may cost more, but to get a robust system that meets EVERYONE’s needs surely this is a price worth paying?” 

Tom Mather
Report on Crufts 2019

by Tom Mather, Crufts Chairman

My first year as Crufts Chairman was certainly exciting, hard work and great fun. Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to Gerald King who had laid the foundations for a world class show. The amount of effort that goes into such an event should never be underestimated and Gerald’s contribution was never less than 100 per cent. On behalf of all of the members, thank you Gerald for all you have done for Crufts over a great many years. 

My sincere thanks also go the Crufts Vice Chairman, Maurice Cooke, and the Crufts Committee; my fellow board members who all undertook extra roles and responsibilities over the course of the show; and the terrific professional staff who make up the Crufts Team under the leadership of Vanessa McAlpine. No one should ever be in any doubt just how much work goes on behind the scenes and Vanessa and her team and the wider Kennel Club staff all work unstintingly to ensure a great show.

Of course, we could not stage an event without the help of hundreds of volunteers who all play their part whether it be in a high profile role in the main ring or just handing out ‘poo’ bags to exhibitors at 6:.30 in the morning. We owe you all a huge debt of gratitude – without you there would be no show.
Some interesting figures: in excess of 24 million people saw Crufts content on social media; over 27 million playbacks on Crufts YouTube; and for the third year in succession we set a new record for visitors to the show – 166,513. 

Dan Ericsson from Sweden was our Best in Show judge. I promise you that it was a coincidence that in my first year as Chairman a Toydog should take the top award! Kathleen Roosens and her Papillon ‘Dylan’ proved to be great ambassadors for show dogs. Dylan in particular with his excellent temperament and alert showmanship. Interestingly, he is only the fourth Toy to take the top spot at Crufts in the post-war period. 

We were delighted to host the Eukanuba World Challenge which was won by a magnificent Old English Sheepdog from Hungary. The Eukanuba Champion Stakes was won by the evergreen Miniature Poodle, Ch Minarets Best Kept Secret, whilst the Eukanuba Pup of the Year was won by the handsome Boxer ‘Kevin’.
We welcomed our President, HRH Prince Michael of Kent, to the show on Saturday and he told us how much he and his guests had enjoyed their visit to the show. 

The Obedience Championships in hall 5 are always worth visiting and the classes are very keenly contested. The atmosphere around the ringside was electric at times and I am so impressed by the sportsmanship and supportive attitude of the obedience competitors. 
Many visitors to the show head straight to the Arena and enjoy a packed programme of canine entertainment – a mix of sports and activities as well as some of the more specialised competitions. 

Packed with events and enthusiastic young people, it always raises my spirits to visit the Young Kennel Club area which continues to be the jewel in the crown of hall 3. Anyone who thinks there is no future for the dog game should definitely pay the YKC a visit! I also had the pleasure of attending the dinner hosted by the Junior Handling Association for the International Juniors and what a marvellous event that was. Their maturity, attitude and dedication to the sport is so impressive. 

Two other very important events also take place in hall 3. At Discover Dogs, enthusiastic experts in their breeds take advantage of the opportunity to instruct the public about the benefits of living with a pedigree dog. The breed rescue area is also manned by wonderfully dedicated people who devote their time and energy to their chosen breeds and, like their Discover Dogs counterparts, see it as an opportunity to educate and inform. 

Thank you all for the part you have played in making Crufts 2019 a success – it really is very much appreciated.
Steve Croxford
Report by Steve Croxford

Kennel Club Chairman

On behalf of the Board, I’m pleased to report on the activities of the Kennel Club since its last Annual General Meeting in May 2018. This report complements the annual report which was sent to you prior to this meeting.

I believe that the annual report offers a clear reflection of the work carried out by the Kennel Club over the past year on behalf of dogs and dog owners everywhere. I will therefore not repeat anything contained within it and very much encourage you to read it if you have not yet had chance to do so.

Before I provide you with a brief update on some of the activity and achievements which have taken place since the annual report was sent to print, I have a separate item to address.

Further to the three items which we will discuss on the agenda today, Mr Gadsby also wished to raise the matter of concerns over the kennel construction project at Emblehope. We have advised him in person, and now wish to advise all of the members in a formal setting, that we determined that the correct route was to submit this matter to the Kennel Club’s Audit & Risk Committee in order to review the Emblehope Kennelling project in terms of procurement, costs, quality issues and so on.

It was determined that this was the appropriate, constitutional and procedural next step. 

The Audit & Risk Committee will review the matter and provide a report to the Board which will include findings on the management of the project and also current management processes for Emblehope. A summary of the findings will be reported back to the enquirer and a decision will be taken as to what further action if any is required.

We expect that everyone involved will provide the Audit & Risk Committee with all due co-operation with the investigation. We further expect that the Audit & Risk Committee will conduct its investigation in a timely manner.
With that matter addressed, I shall now turn back to the update on our activity since the annual report was published.

I was pleased to attend my first Kennel Club Question Time as Chairman back in April when we held a very successful evening in Cheadle in Cheshire. The evening was very positive and covered a wide range of topics so I was glad to have back up on the panel around me! I made a short presentation on my vision for the Kennel Club over the next three years and the topics covered included encouraging young people to take part in canine activities, licensing of breeders and breed establishments, and judges’ training amongst others.

We are already looking forward to the next communication event aimed at giving members and others interested, the opportunity to have their say on a wide range of subjects affecting the everyday dog world. This will take place in July, and is the Kennel Club Forum at Stoneleigh which I mentioned earlier.
Our health work continues apace, and just last week we launched a new heart scheme for the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel in consultation with Cavalier breed clubs and supported by the Veterinary Cardiovascular Society. The heart scheme is the first collaboration between all of the parties involved, and has been developed to reduce the prevalence of Mitral Valve Disease (MVD), a deadly heart disorder that affects a significant number of Cavaliers in the UK alone.

In April we celebrated a 10 year partnership with the Animal Health Trust where our funding through the Kennel Club Charitable Trust has had a profound impact on the treatment of dogs. The work we have done has contributed to helping to breed 163,000 hereditarily clear puppies – just one small example of how the surpluses we create from managing the business effectively has a positive impact on the welfare of dogs.

Later this month we look forward to hosting the fourth International Dog Health Workshop on behalf of the International Partnership For Dogs, of which we are a member. The three-day event will bring together dog health experts; breed clubs; health, welfare and breeding experts and organisations; and vets and academics from across the world to facilitate collaboration and sharing of resources to enhance the health, well-being and welfare of dogs.

As part of this event, we will once again be hosting the International Canine Health Awards which are run in conjunction with our Kennel Club Charitable Trust.

Another event which we organised recently was the annual Holyrood Dog of the Year competition, the Scottish sibling of our long-established Westminster Dog of the Year competition. I know we may well have a large contingent of Welsh members here today and rest assured we continue in our efforts to have the Welsh Assembly join the fold.

Both the Westminster and Holyrood competitions allow our external affairs team to lobby MPs and MSPs on matters which are important to us, and we saw years of lobbying bear fruit last week with the announcement by the government in England of new legislation to end third party puppy sales, known as ‘Lucy’s Law’. We have campaigned for many years for an end to the sale of puppies in pet shops and by other third party retailers and this will be the next vital step forward to tackling the puppy farming industry.

We have been actively promoting new initiatives in the show world with the All Breeds Championship Shows now a reality and the new initiative – Have-a-Go Dog Shows which have proved very popular with those taking part.

There are some fundamental changes ahead in Agility with the introduction of a new height for dogs next which will mean changes to Championship classes and our finals at Olympia and Crufts. We are also well ahead with our plans for hosting the FCI European Agility Championships for the first time in our country next year.

I am looking forward to attending the gundog working tests and International Retriever Challenge Cup at Chatsworth House next month. This is the 9th year the club has hosted the event and I am told there are 10 countries taking part this year – a record for this event.
You may also be aware that the Kennel Club Gallery has loaned artefacts to the Chatsworth Estate for its fascinating exhibition of dogs in art. The exhibition of the Dog is well worth a visit and I can recommend it.

This is just a flavour of the wide range of canine activities that the club is involved in. I hope that this report, combined with the information previously circulated to members in the Kennel Club Annual Report gives members an insight into the wide variety of work which the staff and committees of the Kennel Club are undertaking at this time.

Read 911 times Last modified on Monday, 03 June 2019


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