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www.nca.uk.net

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Historical Discovery for the NCA

The Management Committee of the National Association for Aviculture succeeded in holding its latest meeting on 12th November at  Fieldhead Hotel, Markfield, in spite of severe hold-ups on the M1 due to multiple accidents on the northbound lane between junctions 20 and  21. Several members, including chairman Dennis Webster, were delayed by the motorway chaos but in their absence, Andrew Triolo, vice chairman, got the meeting underway.

Ghalib Al-Nasser of the Budgerigar Society and Dennis Webster of the Foreign Bird Federation were able to inform the meeting that the staff of Cage & Aviary Birds had searched their archives and found the original reports of the foundation of the National Council for Aviculture.

The inaugural meeting of the NCA was held in the Waldorf Hotel, London, on the 8th March, 1945 just before the end of the Second World War. One of the main motivations of the council's founder members was to make formal representation to the government of the day on the re-establishment of bird seed imports which had been suspended during the hostilities. They succeeded in securing royal patronage and began the long and influential history of the NCA in the world of UK bird keeping.

The Treasurer, George Booth, presented a written statement of the Council's current finances and progress made on the adoption of new signatories to the various accounts held. The agreed signatories are the Chairman, the Treasurer and the Secretary. Thanks were due to Charles Woolley of the Canary Council who, as a former signatory, had proved invaluable in completing arrangements with the banks involved.

The Secretary, Dave Whittaker was pleased to report that the insurance policy available to all affiliated clubs will remain at the same cost as last year. Clubs affiliated to the parent bodies (British Bird Council, Budgerigar Society, Canary Council and Foreign Bird Federation) receive free NCA membership and can secure insurance cover through their parent body at an annual cost of only 45. This covers all their club's meetings and shows and liability caused by the negligence of their officers. CBSs affiliated to the NCA through an annual subscription of 20 can secure the same insurance cover for 40. For the average club this can represent a saving of up to two hundred pounds.

The Secretary alerted the committee to the plight of one or two affiliated CBSs who found themselves no longer viable and sought advice on how to distribute unspent club funds when the club was officially defunct. This situation depends entirely on the club's own rules. Should there be no provision made in the rules then all paid-up members should be called to a meeting to discuss the issue and its solution. The NCA has been the beneficiary of such situations in the past.

Andrew Triolo and Barry Mills reported that the first stage of the work of the Bird Welfare Strategy Committee was complete and the document it had prepared had been sent to the England Implementation Group for approval before distribution to all relevant bodies, including the NCA, for consideration and comment. One of the consequences of any agreed Strategy for Bird Welfare will be a revision of the NCA's various Bird Keeping pamphlets and welfare sheets will begin in the new year.

The NCA was represented at the successful Stafford Show in October with a stand staffed by Canary Council members Charles Woolley, Andrew Triolo and Barry Mills. A newly designed display for the NCA will be purchased for Stafford Spring Show and other similar events.

The Secretary was delighted to report that the "Exhibitor of the Year" competition has been well received by affiliated clubs and a steady flow of nominations are coming into the office. Results will be known at the end of the show season and presentations made to the eventual winners in each of the British bird, budgerigar, canary and foreign bird sections.

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LOOKING FORWARD

The National Council for Aviculture looks forward to 2009 to consolidate and build upon on its 2008 successes. The four parent bodies (British Bird Council, Budgerigar Society, Canary Council and Foreign Bird Federation) have worked in close collaboration through some challenging times and have maintained good progress under the chairmanship of Dennis Webster.

The package of benefits to affiliated CBSs and members of the parent bodies now includes a very attractive insurance deal which can save clubs hundreds of pounds. Winners of The Exhibitor of the Year Competition will be announced early in the new year and the new NCA website (www.nca.uk.net) is developing well into a source of information about the NCA and its activities promoting  bird keeping.

A major success which will impact on the hobby for years ahead is the NCA's on-going collaborative effort with the Parrot Society and other major bird-keeping organisations which have established a  draft Bird Welfare Strategy which in its final form will underpin, if not determine, the promised secondary legislation to the Animal Welfare Act which will govern our hobby. The consultation document is now public and the NCA will be making its recommendations in February, 2009.

Thereafter the NCA will make its contribution to the production and publication of the final strategy document and its subsequent welfare guidelines for all bird species managed in captivity.It will also maintain active working relationships with the other major national bird-keeping organisations because a united approach is far more effective than fragmented efforts.

The NCA is also planning a new marketing initiative to promote our hobby to the general public and encourage more people to take up bird keeping as a satisfying and exciting  leisure activity that adds to the quality of life of its participants.

The NCA Management Committee wishes all Cage & Aviary readers a very Happy and Healthy New Year to you and your birds!

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"We know what the future will be if we do not change"

The NCA Management Committee held its third meeting of 2008 at Markfield, Leicestershire on 13th August which was attended by representatives of the British Bird Council, the Budgerigar Society, the Canary Council and the Foreign Bird Federation.

The Management Committee opened up the debate on the future of our hobby, particularly the exhibition side, and how it must adapt if it is to develop and flourish at a time of increasing pressures. Chairman, Dennis Webster, summed up the reality of the situation thus: "We are on the edge at present and we can all see what the future will be if we do not change. We have to talk together and work together". He was referring to the quiet disappearance of specialist and mixed bird clubs and their annual shows, many with long and distinguished histories, as their older members pass away and the number of willing workers decreases.

This process is likely to accelerate as show halls, travel and accommodation costs rise alarmingly and numbers of exhibitors and entries decline. One way to avoid this is through co-operation between clubs on a local, regional or even national   level as illustrated by the All Variety Canary Show at Peterborough and the Bird Show of the Year at Stafford. Pride in the independence and tradition of individual clubs may have to give way to co-operation and collaboration with fellow fanciers across club boundaries in order to remain viable. Similarly, specialist clubs may find it useful to combine efforts with colleagues of other varieties and return to mixed shows to increase interest and income.

Progress reports were heard on the NCA's current initiatives. Firstly, the contribution of the NCA to the work of the English Implementation Group which is preparing a strategy document for the future welfare of British bird keeping. The document should be ready for consultation by the end of the year and the various bird-keeping organisations involved are busy preparing welfare guidance sheets for all bird species kept in a managed environment.

The NCA has set up a sub-committee to review and update its large stock of information pamphlets on all aspects of bird keeping relevant to its membership. These will be made available on the NCA website later this year and will also be distributed in hard copy from the NCA stand at major shows. Many of these information sheets will supplement the welfare strategy document being compiled by the EIG.

The NCA insurance scheme for affiliated clubs, which has proved very popular since its introduction in January, has now been extended to allow first time applicants to the scheme to take up part-year insurance cover for half the normal premium once their current insurance policy runs out. The NCA scheme runs from January to December each year, offers two million pounds of public liability cover for all a club's meetings and shows and cover also for liabilities incurred through the negligence of its officers. Further details from NCA Secretary, Davies House, Spring Gardens, Northampton NN1 1DR.

A new awards scheme for NCA-affiliated CBS's was confirmed which would provide four rosettes per club for Best Exhibitor in each section of their annual show i.e. Best British, Best Budgerigar, Best Canary, and Best Foreign bird (NB:Foreign includes Zebras and Bengalese). Results to be sent  to the NCA office and the overall winner of the most rosettes in each section over the show season to be invited to the NCA AGM to be presented with an engraved tankard as Best Exhibitor of the Year. It is hoped this will encourage exhibitors to support as many NCA-affiliated CBS shows as possible in their area.

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Welfare of Birdkeeping is NCA's Main Priority

At its Management Committee meeting held on 25th June in Markfield the NCA reaffirmed its commitment to the welfare of cage & aviary birds and the promotion of responsible birdkeeping.

Chairman, Dennis Webster, presented a wide range of illustrated welfare sheets and booklets relating to all kinds of cage & aviary birds, which had been drafted some years ago by the officers of SPA. The Management Committee undertook to review and update these in the near future for publication on the NCA website and for distribution at its stand at major events. Hard copy would also be available to affiliated clubs. A booklet entitled "Welcome to Bird Keeping" was most relevant to members of the public considering aviculture as a hobby and would be given priority for publication.

Andrew Triolo, Vice Chairman, and Barry Mills, Publicity Officer, reported on the positive progress being made by the committee producing a "Health and Welfare Strategy for Birds" which will be submitted eventually to the English Implementation Group as part of the secondary legislation to the Animal Welfare Act. Both NCA officers will be attending the last of a series of meetings in Coventry on 2nd July at which a draft consultation document will be completed and published in the next month or so by the Bird Strategy Committee to which the NCA as a whole would be asked to respond. Other organisations working alongside the NCA and the Parrot Society on the Bird Strategy Committee are the British Waterfowl Association, The Hawk Board, The National Pigeon Association, The Poultry Club of Great Britain and The Pheasant Association.

"Communication with existing and potential bird keepers is the key to the future health of aviculture and the well-being of our birds", Dennis Webster explained. "This means contributing to policies affecting aviculture at national level, providing quality information to our members and responding to the needs of the hobby through our affiliated clubs and parent bodies".

In response to a request from Grantham CBS raised by Steve Nesbitt at the NCA's recent AGM it was agreed to improve communications with affiliated cage bird societies by ensuring that within two weeks of all Management Committee meetings and general meetings reports would be sent to Cage & Aviary Birds magazine for publication, and placed on the NCA website and hard copy sent to the secretaries of all affiliated clubs and the four parent bodies.

Secretary, Dave Whitaker, confirmed that schedules of the NCA's new 2m public liability insurance scheme available for affiliated CBSs and specialist clubs affiliated to any of the parent bodies had been sent out to all clubs who had signed up for the scheme. Other applications would be welcome from would-be NCA affiliates upon receipt of the annual subscription (20) and insurance premium (40). The insurance covers each club's shows and meetings and protection against liabilities caused through the negligence of officers. Specialist clubs should continue to apply through their parent body i.e. The Canary Council, The British Bird Council, The Foreign Bird Federation and the Budgerigar Society. Membership of any of these conveys automatic representation on the NCA without further subscriptions. The insurance premium for such clubs is 45.

All affiliated clubs are also to be offered the facility to have their own websites linked to the NCA website or to have significant dates and events for their club advertised on the NCA website. A CBS Liaison link is to be set up at the NCA office with its own email address: (currently dlw76@supanet.com). All affiliated CBSs are eligible for NCA rosettes and all NCA competitions and awards, details of which are on the NCA website (www.nca.uk.net). Further enquiries regarding any aspect of NCA membership can be made to the Secretary at this email address or by writing to him at the NCA office, Davies House, Spring Gardens, Northampton NN1 1DR.

Treasurer, George Booth, reported on a healthy financial situation and informed the Management Committee of the maturity in the near future of one of its investment accounts. He is seeking advice on the safest method of re-investing the matured sum and will report back to the next meeting. After a presentation from Andrew Triolo on the need to commence a proper marketing strategy to project the NCA to a wider potential bird keeping population, it was agreed to set up an initial budget of 2500 and to delegate the Secretary and Vice Chairman to seek new marketing resources for use at major events.

After several months of research and legal advice regarding the best status for the NCA, it was agreed that the best option was that of an "Unincorporated Association". Our current insurance scheme provides liability cover for the officers of the organisation and our constitution is commensurate with that required for this status.

Having supplied every member present with reams of printed material for review and revision by the date of the next meeting, the Chairman thanked everyone for their contributions, set the date of the next management meeting for 13th August at Markfield and closed proceedings at 4pm.

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NCA AGM Report……Retiring Chairman's Contribution Recognised

The 2008 Annual General Meeting of the National Council For Aviculture was held on Saturday, 26th April at The Charnwood Arms Hotel near Coalville, Leicestershire.

The retiring Chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick, opened the meeting by welcoming representatives of   affiliated societies and delegates from the four parent bodies (The British Bird Council, The Budgerigar Society, The Canary Council and the Foreign Bird Federation).

He presented a written report of his past year in office, the main achievements of the NCA in that time and his good wishes to all NCA members for continued success in the future. The Vice Chairman, Andrew Triolo, then took over the chair and conducted the remainder of the AGM agenda.

A written report and financial statement from the Treasurer, George Booth, showed the Council to be in a sound financial position. The meeting was, therefore, content to accept the Management Committee's recommendation to leave subscriptions at their current level (200 per annum for the four parent organisations and 20 per annum for affiliated Cage Bird Societies) for a further year. Specialist clubs affiliated to any of the parent bodies are automatically represented on the NCA without further subscription.

A particular financial benefit to member societies this year was the NCA insurance scheme which provides at a very competitive premium 2m public liability insurance for each club's annual shows and meetings, including cover for costs which may be incurred due to the negligence of officers. Specialist societies belonging to the four parent bodies can secure the same deal through the relevant parent body at a cost of 45. Cage Bird Societies wishing to take advantage of this insurance cover can do so upon payment of 20 annual subscription and 40 insurance premium to the Secretary, Dave Whittaker, Davies House, Spring Gardens, Northampton NN1 1DR.

The Secretary, Dave Whittaker, also presented a comprehensive written report of the NCA's activities over the past year. These included the addition of Terms of Reference to the new constitution detailing the responsibilities of NCA officers; the establishment of a new website (www.nca.uk.net); publication of a Revised Code of Conduct for Bird Keepers; the introduction of the Public Liability Insurance Scheme; contributions of funding, personnel and input to the work of CAWC and the England Implementation Group forming a Strategy Document for Bird Keepers following the passing of the Animal Welfare Act; the appointment of Brian Stockdale MRCVS as Honorary Veterinary and Scientific Consultant;  a package of services to members;  representations made to DEFRA regarding an alternative policy to instant blanket bans at the outbreak of avian flu' or other similar disease in the UK affecting avian and human health and welfare.

The Council was pleased to re-elect as its President Dennis Norton, Canary Council delegate and well-known Border Canary breeder, exhibitor and judge. Dennis's wife Bea also attended the AGM as representative of Leicester S.A.

In recognition of his steadfast contribution to the work of the Council over several years of challenge and change retiring Chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick, former BBC delegate, was appointed Honorary Life Vice President of the NCA. He is only the fourth person to receive this honour.

The Annual General meeting also received the names of the members of the Management Committee for 2008/9:  From the BBC: Roger Caton, Gwyn Jones, Phil Shaw and Bernard Williams. From the Budgerigar Society: Ghalib Al-Nasser, George Booth, Roger Carr, and Dave Whittaker. From the Canary Council: Barry Mills, Dennis Norton, Chris Smith, and Andrew Triolo. From the Foreign Bird Federation: Bob Clarke, Peter Collins, Bryan Reed and Dennis Webster.

The auditor appointed for the year ahead was Grant Findlay, Bank Manager and Member of the Budgerigar Society.

In the Management Committee meeting which was held immediately after the AGM the following officers were elected:

Chairman: Dennis Webster (FBF)
Vice Chairman: Andrew Triolo (CC)
Secretary:  Dave Whittaker (BS)
Treasurer: George Booth (BS)

Further appointments made were:

Awards Panel: Barry Mills (CC), Dave Whittaker (BS), Bernard Williams (BBC)
Minutes Secretary & Publicity Officer: Barry Mills.
Website Controller: Ghalib Al-Nasser (BS)

Targets set for the year ahead include a review of marketing and presentation; improvements in communication with members; expansion of website services; completion of consultation Strategy Document for Bird Keepers; appointment of CBS Liaison Officer; development of a Welfare and Conservation programme.

The next AGM will be held at 10.30 am on Saturday, 25th April, 2009 at the Fieldhead Hotel, Markfield.

The next Management Committee meeting will be held at 10.30 am on Wednesday, 25th June, 2008 at the Fieldhead Hotel, Markfield.

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John Scott awarded NCA Diploma.

John Scott, former President of the Canary Council and founder member of the Canary Council and Lizard Canary Association, has been awarded the National Council for Aviculture's Diploma for services to aviculture over a lifetime of bird keeping.

John has been a leading canary fancier for over sixty years, specialising mainly in Lizard canaries, the oldest of the canary breeds, and has a national and international reputation as an expert in canary breeding, management, exhibition and judging. Until recently he was the canary specialist advising Cage & Aviary Bird readers for many years.

In addition to the diploma, John's name will also be entered on the NCA's Roll of Honour which can be seen on the NCA website : www.nca.uk.net

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Be Safe AND Save Your Club over 100!!

Jim Bannon, Honorary Secretary & Treasurer of the Yorkshire Canary Club, is delighted to have saved his club over 100 this year thanks to the new NCA insurance scheme.

Jim explains: "The YCC, like all specialist Yorkshire Canary clubs, is affiliated to the Canary Council, one of the four parent bodies belonging to the NCA. Any UK club which is affiliated to the Canary Council, the British Bird Council, the Budgerigar Society or the Foreign Bird Federation can benefit from this scheme by applying to the secretary of their parent body. I just filled in a brief form, enclosed a cheque for 45 payable to the NCA and returned it to the Canary Council secretary, Chris Smith, 61 Eastmead Avenue, Greenford, Middlesex UB6 9RF.  As easy as that!".

Barry Mills, Canary Council Chairman, is keen that as many specialist canary clubs as possible are aware of the new scheme and take advantage of it. He commented: "This insurance scheme provides 2m of public liability cover for all meetings and shows held by the club during the year. Amongst other benefits it even provides cover in the unlikely event of claims that may arise from the negligence of the club's officers in running the club's affairs. The reason it is so comparatively cheap is that the NCA with its large membership has been able to negotiate favourable terms with the insurance company".

Dave Whittaker, NCA Secretary, wants all CBS and non-specialist or independent bird clubs to know that the scheme is also open to them if they are affiliated to the NCA directly. "Their annual NCA subscription is 20 and they can secure the insurance cover at the special price of 40. So for 60 they get NCA membership benefits and insurance cover for less than they have probably paid for insurance alone up till now. It represents a very good deal". Further details and application forms from:  NCA Secretary, Davies House, Spring Gardens, Northampton NN1 1DR.

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Management Committee Meeting February 2008

The fifth meeting of the Management Committee of the NCA was held on Saturday, 21st February, 2008 at the Fieldhead Hotel, Markfield, Leicester.

The Committee was pleased to welcome to the meeting well known veterinary surgeon Brian Stockdale BVM&S MRCVS, a professional avicultural specialist and a practising bird keeper, who has kindly agreed to act as Honorary Veterinary and Scientific Consultant to the NCA.

"Brian has vast professional experience of aviculture, bird health and welfare, in particular bird nutrition," explains NCA Chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick. "We are delighted to have his expert knowledge at our disposal. His expertise will be invaluable in our discussions with DEFRA concerning avian flu' and the development of policies for its control. We shall also be taking advice from Brian on all matters technical and scientific affecting bird welfare and conservation".

Vice Chairman, Andrew Triolo, referred to his recent meeting with Colchester MP Bob Russell,  reported in C&AB last week. Mr. Russell is representing the bird keepers' case for a modified policy on bird movements during avian flu' outbreaks so that blanket bans are no longer applied. 

Andrew has also been in touch with north-eastern MP David Taylor, who is similarly sympathetic to bird clubs who have been badly affected by the blanket ban. "These two excellent constituency MPs will fight our corner in parliament, we hope, alongside John Randall MP, a bird keeper himself, who has formed a parliamentary group concerning itself with avicultural issues.

On the 8th March, 2008 both Sean Fitzpatrick and Andrew Triolo will be attending a meeting in Coventry sponsored by the NCA and the Parrot Society and chaired by Peter Scott of DEFRA who is seeking to establish   the 'English Implementation Group' for secondary legislation emanating from the Animal Welfare Act. The recently revised Code of Conduct produced by the NCA is an example of the kind of guidelines that the EIG would be looking for in all areas of animal welfare.

 Secretary, Dave Whittaker, was able to inform the Management Committee that the new third party public liability insurance scheme launched two weeks ago has already attracted dozens of applications from affiliated clubs and from new clubs wishing to benefit from the scheme.

The National Council for Aviculture's Annual General Meeting will take place at 10.30am on 26th April, 2008 at the Charnwood Arms Hotel, Leicestershire. Notification and copies of the agenda will be sent to all paid-up affiliated clubs, parent bodies and Life members.

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NCA Supports Campaign for a change in DEFRA policy

At a meeting of its Management Committee on Thursday, 20th December at Markfield, the NCA agreed to step up its campaign to persuade DEFRA to alter its current policy on blanket bird show bans when an outbreak of avian flu is suspected.

The NCA welcomes the progress reported in C&AB today with the three MPs asking questions in parliament about DEFRA's   policy and its devastating effects on our hobby. Letters from the NCA and Canary Council were submitted to the MPs to support the call for a re-examination of the blanket ban policy. NCA officers also encourage all bird keepers to write to their MPs to voice their concerns and demand a rethink.

The NCA itself has made direct contact with the responsible officer in DEFRA and requested a meeting as soon as possible to discuss a way forward which will aid cage bird keepers without undermining public confidence in DEFRA's ability to protect public health. A sub-committee of four NCA officers has been formed to take our arguments and evidence to DEFRA directly.

NCA Package for Affiliated Cage Bird Societies

A new package of benefits to NCA affiliated cage bird societies was confirmed at the Management Committee meeting held at Markfield today, 20th December,2007.

         Subscriptions remain at 20 per annum.

         All affiliated societies can for an additional 40 per annum purchase through the NCA a specially negotiated insurance policy with Mead Sport and Leisure offering 2m third party liability insurance for all their meetings and shows each year. Public liability insurance is essential for all clubs hiring venues for their activities. (See section D3 of the Code of Conduct).

Existing paid-up cage bird  societies will be contacted with full details early in the new year. Other societies wishing further details should contact the NCA   Secretary at Davies House, Spring Gardens, Northampton, NN1 1DR.

Members of the four parent bodies (Canary Council, Budgerigar Society, Foreign Bird Federation and British Bird Council) can access the same insurance policy through their own organisation.

         NCA patronage rosettes from each of the four parent bodies.

         Best Exhibitor of the Year Competition in each of the four sections (awarded at the end of the show season by each of the four parent bodies).

         NCA website advertisement for promotion of shows & meetings.

         Access to the three NCA award schemes (long-service badges; Roll of Honour & Hall of Fame)

         Reports of all NCA meetings by e-mail or post to paid-up societies on the database.

         A voice and a vote at the AGM and EGM (with written authorisation from paid-up societies).

         The right to raise any avicultural issue in writing at any time with the Management Committee and a guarantee to receive a written response within 21 days of the next Management Committee meeting.

         The NCA Code of Conduct as a framework to assist clubs in protecting themselves from external criticism and/or legal action.

         Access to specialist    legal advice (costs to be met by the club/society itself).

         Representation through the NCA with DEFRA and other national bodies.

         A voice through the NCA and all four  parent bodies in C&AB.

NCA MC 20-12-07 press release 

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NCA  Moving Forward - 16th August 2007

The National Council for Aviculture Management Committee held its second meeting on 1st August, 2007 at the Fieldhead Hotel in Markfield. Progress was reported in a number of significant areas.

Firstly, Ghalib Al-Nasser, who was appointed Website Controller at the first meeting of the Management Committee on 26th May, confirmed that the planned new NCA website would be ready to go on line by mid-August. This will provide information about   the organisation, its activities and services offered to members. Website address http://www.nca.uk.net

Chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick, reported on his recent meeting with DEFRA and other companion animal societies regarding the Animal Welfare Act and its implications for hobbyists. The NCA had anticipated the call for a new look at codes of conduct for animal welfare by appointing a sub-committee at its first meeting to review and simplify the existing Code of Conduct for Bird Keepers to make it relevant to the changed circumstances occasioned by the Animal Welfare Act. A revised and more user-friendly Code of Conduct will be completed and published on the NCA website by the end of September. The new code will be reviewed annually and amended appropriately whenever legislation requires change.

The NCA is to invite Graham Thurlow of DEFRA to attend its next Management Committee meeting to discuss in detail the implications for us of the Government's animal welfare strategy and the development of the NCA's role in representing bird keepers effectively with DEFRA.

Treasurer, Glynn Woollam, submitted a written report detailing the state of the Council's various bank and building society accounts. After the complications following the death of our previous treasurer, Glynn has now established the full extent of the NCA's financial assets and procedures for managing them. The Council's financial situation is sound and we can plan future developments and activities with confidence.

The Management Committee agreed to continue the three levels of awards currently open to NCA affiliated societies i.e The Hall of Fame, The Roll of Honour and the long-service badges. Badges will now be issued free of charge to members of affiliated societies. Details of the schemes and how to apply for them are on the NCA website.

The Secretary, Dave Whittaker, reported that negotiations with a large insurance company were well advanced to secure a deal that would offer 2m public liability insurance to NCA affiliated societies for their shows and meetings at a very competitive premium. The NCA's new structure comprising all the affiliated specialist societies of our four parent bodies plus cage bird societies puts us in a stronger bargaining position when setting up such deals for the benefit of our members. An announcement on this will be made at the next meeting.

Arrangements were confirmed for the continuation of our legal advice service and the appointment of a new NCA Veterinary Advisor.

Requests for an NCA presence at society meetings, shows and conferences require that more members of the Management Committee take on this role. Vice-Chairman, Andrew Triolo, is currently putting together a presentation programme, which will support speakers who undertake these engagements. The NCA, British Bird Council, the Canary Council and Foreign Bird Federation will all have stands at the "Bird Show of the Year" to be held at Stafford on 14th October. The NCA will also be represented at the Budgerigar Society show in Doncaster on 29th-30th September, 2007.

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NCA Launches New Website – 11/08/2007

Following the second meeting of the NCA's new Management Committee on 1st August, we are pleased to announce the launch of our new website which can be found at this address: http://www.nca.uk.net

The site is in its early stages and will be expanded over the next few months to cover the broad range of activities in which the NCA is involved. For the present, visitors to the site are given an introduction to the NCA officers, its constitution, its three awards schemes and information about its four parent bodies:   The British Bird Council, The Budgerigar Society, The Canary Council and the Foreign Bird Federation plus links to their websites.

Affiliated Societies of the four parent bodies and NCA-affiliated Cage Bird Societies can also have their own links to the new site making a cyber network covering a huge range of bird varieties and contacts for bird keepers everywhere.

NCA Website Controller Ghalib Al-Nasser, has plans for future developments on the website: "In addition to the standard information about the organisation and its member societies we are planning to publish in the near future the revised Code of Conduct for Bird Keepers on which a sub-committee is currently working, plus regular reports on NCA meetings and activities. We are putting together a package of services for our affiliated societies which will include a competitively-priced scheme offering 2m public liability insurance for club shows and meetings."

Bird keepers who are members of our parent bodies or affiliated cage birds societies are welcome to contact Ghalib regarding the website at the following address:  al-nasser@ntlworld.com .

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Annual General Meeting 2007 

The National Council for Aviculture held its AGM on Saturday, 28th April, 2007 at Markfield, Leicestershire.

The chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick (British Bird Council) commenced the meeting at 11 am by welcoming the delegates and members attending what was a landmark meeting for the NCA.. A working party has spent many days over the past year compiling a revised constitution, which restructures the NCA to enable more efficient and effective management of the Council's business for the benefit of its members. Such a revision can hardly be expected to please everyone but the chairman hoped that it would satisfy the majority and that during discussion of the constitution prior to a vote on its acceptance or rejection members would maintain a constructive and co-operative approach. Copies of the proposed new constitution had been circulated to the membership in the month before the AGM.

Before the main agenda item there were a number of other tasks to be completed and reports to be made. The Chairman was pleased to be able to present to Mr.F.D. Norton, a Canary Council delegate who has served on the NCA committee since its earliest years, an inscribed medallion commemorating his status of Honorary Life Vice President of the NCA. in recognition of his many years of loyal and valued service to the organisation for the benefit of its members.

The Treasurer, Glynn Woollam (Foreign Bird Federation), presented a summary of the NCA's financial situation, which remains healthy. The untimely death of former President and Treasurer, Percy Jacobs, has created some difficulties with the bank and building society  in transferring signatories for and access to the various investment and current accounts held by the NCA. For this reason he was unable to give a full report on 2006 at this stage. He was able to report on all monies received and paid out since he took over the post on 1st January, 2007 and these with the various sums held in bank and building society accounts were detailed on a balance sheet presented to the meeting. The balance sheet was accepted by the meeting and the Treasurer thanked for his efforts.

The Membership Secretary, David Paine (Zebra Finch Society), reported that to date he has received subscriptions from 80 individual members, one junior member, an additional Life Member (now 64 in total) and 79 affiliated societies. Subscriptions are due by 31st March but in practice many are received in the weeks after that date. Clearly, in this time of transition following the retirement of former Administrator, Brian Hughes, and the introduction of a new structure and management committee, the NCA's  profile   had suffered and people were waiting for a renewal of services and support offered to members. It is hoped that membership will increase substantially through the proposed arrangement for members to gain NCA membership through their local affiliated CBS or through one of the four parent bodies comprising the management committee    i.e. The British Bird Council, The Budgerigar Society, The Canary Council and the Foreign Bird Federation. NCA funding will come from the four parent organisations and from the affiliated CBSs.

Discussion of the proposed new constitution took up the bulk of the meeting. There were many questions on detail and queries regarding representation on the management committee    which will be comprised of four delegates from each of the parent organisations. It was stressed that all members will maintain the right to present ideas, propositions, objections, questions and requests in writing to the management committee at any time and these will be given full consideration and appropriate response. All member organisations and existing Life Members will have the right to speak and vote at AGMs and EGMs. In fact, any positive suggestions for improving the profile, performance and continuing development of the NCA will be welcomed. After every management committee meeting, AGM or EGM a report summarising the business of the meeting and likely topics for next planned meeting will be sent to all member organisations and also published on the new NCA website which is due to be established in the next few weeks.

In summing up the discussion prior to the vote the chairman said: "The new constitution is a first major step in the revival of the NCA. It will require regular review and elements of it will be improved or developed as time goes by but until it is adopted progress will be limited". The vote that followed achieved more than the two-thirds majority in favour required for the new constitution to be accepted and adopted.

Under Any Other Business:

The chairman thanked everyone for their attendance and their useful contributions to what had been a long but productive AGM. The meeting closed at 1.25pm.

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New Start for NCA Management Committee

At its first meeting held on Saturday, 26th May in Northampton the new NCA Management Committee elected the following officers:

President: Dennis Norton (Canary Council)
Honorary Vice Life Presidents: Brian Hughes (former Administrator), Dennis Norton (former Vice Chairman), Charles Woolley (former Chairman)
Chairman: Sean Fitzpatrick (British Bird Council)
Vice Chairman: Andrew Triolo (Canary Council)
Secretary: Dave Whittaker (Budgerigar Society)
Treasurer: Glynn Woollam (Foreign Bird Federation)

Other administrative functions were assigned as follows: 

Minutes Secretary & Publicity: Barry Mills (Canary Council)
Website-controller: Ghalib Al-Nasser (Budgerigar Society)
Website-Technician: Terry Tuxford
Awards Panel: Sean Fitzpatrick , Barry Mills, Dave Whittaker, Glynn Woollam.

Terms of reference  for each of the above posts were agreed and adopted for the coming year with the aim of adapting and amending them in the light of experience and appending them to the constitution at the 2008 AGM.

The Treasurer presented a written update of the NCA's financial situation. Dealings with the Alliance & Leicester and  The Halifax regarding the transfer of signatories should be completed by the date of the next Management Committee's meeting in August and  finances can be planned with confidence thereafter.

Communications

It was agreed that all annual subscriptions to the NCA (currently 20 for affiliated societies) be sent in future directly to the Treasurer:

Glynn Woollam, NCA Treasurer, 44 Trentham Road, Wem, Shropshire SY4 5HN.

All other communications should be made in writing to the Secretary :

Dave Whitakker, NCA Secretary, Davies House, Spring Gardens, Northampton NN1 1DR.

A new NCA e-mail address will be published in the near future.

Emergency contact only  can be made by telephone to the Chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick :01709 528258.

The Way Forward

The new constitution marks a fresh start for policies based upon our agreed objects.

The Code of Practice adopted  as "a work in progress" at the time of the first viral and avian flu outbreaks and before the arrival of the Animal Welfare Act is now ready for radical overhaul. A sub-committee comprising one representative from each of the parent bodies is to consult as widely as possible and report back with recommendations to the next Management Committee in August. The aim is to produce a revised Code that centres on bird welfare and is much more user friendly for general bird keepers, exhibitors and show organisers. It will include a complete revision of bio-security measures. Submissions towards a rewriting of the Code will be welcome from any quarter. Please direct your comments, requests, suggestions, advice   in writing to: Sean Fitzpatrick, NCA Chairman, 13 Brunt Road, Rawmarsh, Rotherham S62 5EW.

Affiliated Society package: it was agreed to develop services available to our affiliated societies   to include show rosettes, awards, possible standard show classifications, insurance scheme for public liability, meetings and shows, and legal advice. Other ideas also to be investigated.

An NCA Veterinary Officer  to be appointed to advise on all veterinary matters.

DEFRA representation. The NCA to take pro-active role in developing contacts with DEFRA and ensuring our involvement with all government matters affecting aviculture. Representation on other public bodies also to be pursued e.g. The Companion Animals Forum.

NCA Role in the wider world of aviculture: A policy of cultivating positive relationships with other bird organisations at home and abroad for the ultimate benefit of the fancy.

Review of NCA profile and image: A new look and a new logo to be adopted and employed on  the new website, all written correspondence , regular reports in Cage & Aviary Birds and to our membership directly.

The Chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick closed the five hour meeting by thanking everyone for their contributions and for the amicable way in which the substantial amount business had been conducted. Every Management Committee member left the meeting with at least three assignments to complete by the next meeting to be held at Markfield on 1st August, 2008.

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