Report from the Chairman of the Federal Council - December 2019
During the last century the world has changed in many ways, mostly not anticipated. In my opinion the prime generator of these changes has been the unbridled growth in the world population. It has grown from 2 Billion in 1930 to a current level estimated at 7.7 Billion. The world's resources are being stretched.
People need to move both over land and through the air. They require power for their homes and factories. The carbon load being spewed into the atmosphere has generated climate change with effects not yet fully understood but with associated cost increases.
How does this affect dogs? And in particular dogs in Southern Africa?
Remember that human relationship with canines goes back many thousands of years. Dogs trust us and it is our responsibility to nurture and care for them. In relatively recent times, stretching back some 150 years, organisations developed whose sole purpose was to formalise the classification, development, breeding and registration of dogs.
KUSA was established over 125 years ago. It borrowed heavily from The Kennel Club which was 25 years old at that time and was created to care for dogs in England.
Kennel Clubs were established throughout Europe which ultimately led to the formation of the FCI as the controlling body based in Belgium. The FCI is the central authority for its members in canine matters, including breed standards, registries, judges’ registers, and rules & regulations. It has formal relationships with the American Kennel Club and The Kennel Club UK.
Importantly the FCI recognises only one National Canine Organisation, NCO, per country. In Southern Africa this Organisation is KUSA. KUSA has been recognised by DAFF as the Canine Society of Southern Africa and the Registering Authority for 218 breeds. The minister who includes DAFF in his portfolio was delighted to receive a letter from the then President of the FCI Rafael de Santiago expressing his pleasure at the development in terms of which the FCI NCO of Southern Africa was the Canine Society of Southern Africa.
Towards the end of last year the Appeal Board rejected the GSDF application to overturn DAFF's decision to certify KUSA as the Canine Breed Society of Southern Africa and Registering Authority for 218 breeds. The GSDF has taken the matter to the High Court. KUSA is not party to this action but has appointed Council to hold a watching brief.
It is not obvious why the GSDF is so anti KUSA, but it appears that we are not the only FCI NCO that has this problem. This lead to the cancellation of the FCI/WUSV agreement last year. Until the GSDF learn to live in peace with the balance of Dogdom we will not support any attempts to restore the FCI/WUSV agreement.
I believe that KUSA's relationship with the FCI and DAFF provide us with a solid foundation to care for our Canine friends. Let's make sure that we build on these foundations bearing in mind the challenges' of climate change with attendant spiralling costs, and modern communications that are often abused.
Clubs country wide have experienced reduced numbers at shows. Clubs most affected are those remote from Gauteng which is the most developed and populated Province of South Africa. We need to assess the impact that the introduction of the two shows per club has had on the national show scene. Would matters improve if we were to revert to the single championship show? Would it lead to the re-emergence of open shows? We will only answer these questions by reverting to the one championship show and observing the effect. It should be borne in mind that no financial benefit has accrued to KUSA.
The advent of Social Media and its effect on the dog world needs examination. What has been the impact on the young? Has the pressure to text and talk on the ubiquitous cell phone usurped energy used by earlier generations to enjoy the company of dogs or other pets? Adults spend much time and effort on social media aimed at damaging competitors or glorifying their own achievements. This tends to create an atmosphere of negativity at shows and also exposes judges to unwarranted criticism. I believe that the solution lies with the people involved, both Juniors and Seniors. They should learn to be responsible "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you". To enjoy KUSA and the dog world it is important to be a contributor and to abide by the international and national rules that govern our breeding, showing and sport.
KUSA maintains a Register for purebred dogs. The Register makes provision for health records including DNA profiling. The Register is recognised by the FCI and Pedigrees carry the FCI logo which gives them international recognition. It is of prime importance that KUSA members use the KUSA Register. We should debate whether to make it mandatory. Failure should result in forfeiting membership and kennel affixes.
In recognizing the changing world, we have to say farewell to five members of Fedco, Doreen Powell, Carine Buitendach, Joan Barrow, Richard Dempsey and Lois Wilson are all departing. They have all made major contributions to KUSA and we wish them well.
We welcome four new members to Fedco: Gael Morison (KZN), Dudley Sparg (EC&B), Ron Juckes (FS&NC) and Lori Thornhill (WC). Fedco’s prime purpose is to promote and maintain the welfare of KUSA and its members bearing in mind that this includes our dogs.
After a lengthy spell as the Chairlady of Exco, Lois Wilson has advised us that she will retire at the end of this year. She has been a tireless worker and we are all in her debt for the contribution she has made. We wish her a happy retirement. Bruce Jenkins will be acting Chairman as from 1st January, 2020 to complete Lois' final term.
Problems that we faced during the year under review related mainly to the behaviour of people. I ask that all members examine their environment to ensure it is fit for purpose. They should apply the same test before embarking on actions. Do they comply with the rules and regulations of the FCI and KUSA? If in doubt check!
Notwithstanding unexpected legal costs incurred during the year under review the deficit was contained at R 29,233. Registrations brought in R4, 057,508 a sizeable increase on the previous year's R3, 838,681. Show entries declined to R605, 999 from R632, 329.
Pascale Midgley and her staff have run a tight ship and deserve our congratulations on containing costs. Unfortunately the progress made on the upgrading of our computer system has fallen short of our expectations, but every effort will be made to expedite the undertaking.
Chairman of the Federal Council of KUSA