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www.nca.uk.net

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NCA prepares for New Year of Activity
December 2009

 

The latest management committee meeting of the National Council for Aviculture was held on 9th December, 2009 at the Fieldhead Hotel, Markfield, Leicestershire. The chairman, Dennis Webster, welcomed those in attendance and was pleased to announce that at the  Foreign Bird Federation council meeting of 22nd November both he and David Paine of the ZFS had been re-instated as NCA delegates.

 

The Secretary, Dave Whittaker, was able to confirm that the first print-run of 5000 copies of the NCA's revised booklet "Welcome to Birdkeeping" would take place within the next week. These to be distributed to members of the public at all major events at which the NCA is represented in 2010 in the hope of attracting more bird lovers into the hobby of responsible birdkeeping.

 

The management committee approved the commissioning of a photographer to secure high quality pictures of various bird species for future publications, certificates and for the NCA's publicity stand.

Several proposed amendments to the NCA's constitution were also approved for consultation with  members and eventual adoption at the next AGM. These included a number of disciplinary clauses to  help preserve the NCA from undemocratic or unconstitutional behaviour from delegates of its parent bodies or from its member organisations.

 

The chairman informed the meeting that he had received written notification from George Booth that after two years of stewardship of the NCA's funds he was stepping down from the post of Treasurer at the end of December. The chairman thanked George for his successful efforts in reorganising and simplifying the Council's accounts after a time of considerable upheaval and changing of officers two years ago and, of course, during the current period of financial upheaval nationally and internationally. The committee echoed these sentiments and expressed a unanimous wish that George remain as a delegate on the management committee. Dave Whittaker, secretary, will oversee the Treasurer's duties between 31st December and the AGM.

 

The Treasurer, George Booth, presented a written statement of accounts and expected that by the end of this calendar year the NCA's total funds would show an increase on last year's figure.This represented considerable progress bearing in mind the lamentable rates if interest currently available for investment and deposit accounts.The NCA insurance scheme has proved very successful, and more and more of our member organisations are taking it up.

 

The secretary reported receipt of an official invitation from the executive of COM for three NCA representatives to attend a meeting on Friday, 22nd January, 2010 at the World Show in Porto with three representatives of the IOA (COM.GB) to discuss the way forward during 2010 and the lead-up to the 2011 World Show in France at which we would all hope for an increase in the number of UK birdkeepers taking part. Current communications with the IOA continue to be maintained formally in writing between the secretaries and copies sent to both chairmen.

 

The Chairman informed the management committee that our very successful and energetic CBS Liaison Officer, Steve Nesbitt, had regrettably decided to step down from his post for personal reasons and that we shall need to find a replacement for this important position at the next AGM. In the meantime, the secretary will continue to keep our CBS members circulated with reports of all our meetings, copies of which will also be sent to Cage & Aviary Birds. Our Website Co-ordinator, Ghalib Al-Nasser, will place all reports on the NCA website to keep everyone informed.

 

The date of the next management committee meeting was agreed for 27th January, 2010.There being no other business, the Chairman closed the meeting at 2.40pm.

 

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NCA Management Committee Meeting
28th October, 2009.

The management committee of the National Council for Aviculture convened an extra meeting on 28th October,2009 at its official business address in Davies House, Northampton in order to deal with a series of events in which unfounded but potentially damaging  allegations against officers of the NCA were made in letters, e-mails and in a public forum on the Feathered Flyer website.

In three instances on solicitors’ advice letters have been issued to the authors of these unfounded allegations requiring withdrawal of the allegations and a written apology. The fallacious statements have now been removed and written apologies were received from two of the authors. The third is now being pursued by Knights Solicitors who will be seeking both an apology and recompense for the time, money, personal distress and inconvenience caused to the targets of the malignant comments.

It is a matter of particular regret that two delegates of the FBF, one of the four parent bodies which constitute the NCA and who have as an organisation supported NCA policies to date, have been a party to  these false allegations and have betrayed the confidentiality and trust of the management committee. Without consultation with his own committee the   current FBF chairman has attempted to prevent the FBF’s two most frequent attendees  at NCA meetings from doing so. The atmosphere thus created has caused another valued FBF delegate to resign, leaving the NCA without its CBS Liaison Officer, a post which the holder had filled with distinction.

The ostensible catalyst for this series of attacks on the NCA is the well-publicised application by the NCA to become a member of COM in 2010 which has been ongoing for well over a year and which the COM executive have been pleased to accept. The motives behind the application were to enhance the representation of UK bird keepers at international level, to benefit where possible from the experience and expertise of our fellow bird keepers in Europe in such matters as legislation and bird welfare and to encourage and facilitate greater participation in European avicultural events and bird exhibitions such as the World Show.

In pursuit of these aims and with the encouragement of the COM executive, the NCA has entered into negotiations with the IOA, currently the sole COM-affiliated organisation in the UK, to discuss mutually acceptable ways of co-operating as an enlarged group representing UK bird keepers on COM. The IOA has for many years offered an excellent transport service to UK exhibitors wishing to show at the World Show and also supplies to its members COM-approved   closed rings which are required at all COM shows. Informal meetings are planned for the near future and we hope soon to report positively on progress made.

NCA Management Committee 1st November 2009.

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Report of NCA MC Meeting
19th August 2009

At its meeting on August 19 at Markfield   the Management Committee of the National Council for Aviculture was forced to make the saddest decision required of it in recent years. In July, 2009 at Rotherham Magistrates’ Court one of its Honorary Life Vice Presidents and former Chairman, Sean Fitzpatrick, who had served the Council well for many years, admitted guilt and was sentenced for a number of infringements of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Since the constitution of the NCA specifies that  “Honorary Life Vice Presidents shall at all times uphold with honour and dignity the constitution, traditions and policies of the NCA”, the Management Committee was obliged at this stage to remove Sean’s name from its list of officers.

The repercussions of this case go far beyond one individual, however, since assumptions made by some or even many bird keepers about close ringing and documentary proof of birds bred in captivity may be ill-founded and others could be unwittingly in danger of contravening the law. The regulations in this area and their interpretation are complex and liable to change. As a result, the NCA is consulting with DEFRA through the SUN group and directly with the British Bird Council with the aim of giving its member organisations clearer advice on how to proceed safely in these matters.

On a more positive note the Management Committee was pleased to approve an application by the FBL for the late George Coe to be listed in the Hall of Fame for his lifetime of service to aviculture at national, regional and local levels. A new design was also approved for NCA diplomas which are presented to new entrants on the NCA’s Roll of Honour. See NCA website (www.nca.uk.net) for details of our award schemes.

As part of the NCA’s contribution to the Strategy for Bird Welfare it has made available on its website a series of fact sheets about many aspects of bird care. Further welfare sheets applicable to individual species or groups of species will be added over the coming months. A new colourful, updated edition of the ‘Welcome to Birdkeeping Booklet’ is now with the printers and will be available for distribution from the NCA stand at the National Bird Show of the Year at Stafford in October.

The NCA confirmed its acceptance of COM’s invitation to take up membership from 1st January, 2010 and is in the process of arranging talks with representatives of the IOA who, at present, are the sole members of COM-GB and with whom the NCA would like to work for the benefit of UK bird keepers interested in the international avicultural scene. The NCA will also be represented at the next World Show in Porto in January.

Several amendments to the NCA’s constitution were approved for recommendation to the membership at next year’s AGM. The majority of these resulted from requests from affiliated CBSs and will allow greater flexibility for such clubs to respond and contribute to the agenda of meetings. Our CBS Liaison Officer, Steve Nesbitt, will be writing to all affiliated clubs in the near future keeping them up to date.

Barry Mills

NCA Publicity Officer

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NCA Management Committee Report
24th June 2009

Two NCA awards were approved at the latest Management Committee meeting held at Fieldhead Hotel, Markfield on 24th June, 2009.

The first was an NCA Diploma and entry onto the Roll of Honour for Don and Irene Bardgett of the Waxbill Finch Society for many years of service to the foreign bird fancy, in particular as society secretaries and show secretaries, as UK first breeders of several species including the Whiskered Lorikeet, and currently as joint breeding record officers and publicity officers for the Waxbill Finch Society.

The second was a posthumous recognition of the outstanding contribution made to aviculture by the late Ian Hinze over a life time of bird keeping and breeding. He was the first UK breeder of the Mali Firefinch and enjoyed a reputation far beyond the UK as a foreign bird specialist through his many articles for Cage & Aviary Birds and other publications. His latest book on Waxbills is due to be published in the near future. Ian’s name will be entered into the Hall of Fame alongside many other legendary aviculturists of the past. The Roll of Honour and Hall of Fame can be viewed on the NCA website at www.nca.uk.net as can details of all the NCA’s award schemes.

NCA Chairman Dennis Webster and Canary Council Chairman, Barry Mills attended the latest meeting of the Bird Welfare Strategy Group in Coventry on 20th May at which the final draft of the consultation document on bird welfare was agreed. Now the NCA is embarked on a rewrite of its many welfare and advice sheets for bird keepers covering virtually every species, or groups of species, kept in the UK today. For beginners to bird keeping, the NCA is also producing a new edition of the colourful and practical guide “Welcome to Birdkeeping” which advises on the needs of the more common breeds of birds kept in the UK today and how they should be cared for.

An order has been placed for a new NCA stand to help publicise the organisation and promote the hobby of bird keeping. The new stand will be stocked with fact sheets and publications of interest to the seasoned and would-be bird keeper alike. The new stand will make its debut at the Bird Show of the Year in Stafford in October.

Steve Nesbitt of Grantham CBS was appointed CBS Liaison Officer at the NCA’s AGM in April and produced a comprehensive written report of his first two months in office. Not wasting a moment in an already busy life, Steve has been out and about talking to CBSs in his area and making telephone and email contact with others further afield. Steve and other CBS members attending the AGM drew attention to the need for more time and opportunity for CBSs to respond and contribute to NCA policies and activities. As a result the Management Committee reviewed and amended the timelines for contributions to AGM agendas and to the conditions required for other general meetings. We hope that this will improve communication between the NCA and its CBS members.

The next Management Meeting will take place on 19th August and the next AGM on 24th April,2010.

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National Council For Aviculture  Annual General Meeting Report
June 2009.

The NCA held its 54th Annual General Meeting at the Fieldhead Hotel, Markfield on 18th April, 2009 commencing at 10.30am and attended by representatives of the four parent bodies (British Bird Council, Budgerigar Society, The Canary Council and Foreign Bird Federation) and affiliated Cage Bird Clubs.

The Chairman, Dennis Webster (FBF/ZFS), welcomed those attending to what he hoped would prove an informative and fruitful meeting. Written reports were tabled by the Chairman, the Secretary, Dave Whittaker (BS), and the Treasurer, George Booth (BS).

2008 was a very satisfactory year for the NCA, the number of affiliating clubs rising to 105 and the number of clubs availing themselves of the NCA public liability insurance reached over 70. In spite of the credit crunch, the NCA’s funds remain healthy and a modest excess of income over expenditure was achieved which allowed the Management Committee to recommend no rise in subscriptions and affiliation fees for 2009/10.

After discussion, the Management Committee has opted for the official status of the NCA to remain as an “unincorporated Association” rather than a limited company or a registered charity, for example.

The NCA continues to contribute to the work of the Bird Welfare Strategy Committee and the Chairman and Publicity Officer will be attending the next meeting in Coventry on 20th May when the results of the consultation over the draft strategy document will be decided. Thereafter, the NCA will be producing welfare guidelines for Exhibition Birds and Native & Foreign Species in line with the principles of the agreed Strategy Document.

The NCA’s Exhibitor of the Year competitions were introduced in 2008 for CBS exhibitors at affiliated clubs’ shows in all four sections of Canary, British, Budgerigar and Foreign. Winners of Best in any of these sections were eligible to compete. Those achieving Best in Section most frequently during the show season received an award. Tim Ward of Shrewsbury CBS was the winner of the Canary Exhibitor of the Year and he was presented with an engraved crystal bowl by NCA President, Dennis Norton at the end of the AGM.

At the Management Committee meeting held shortly after the AGM, the following officers were elected:        

                        President:                            Dennis Norton (Canary Council)

Chairman:                           Dennis Webster (Foreign Bird Federation)

Vice-Chairman:                   Andrew Triolo  (Canary Council)

Secretary:                              Dave Whittaker (Budgerigar Society)

Treasurer:                              George Booth (Budgerigar Society)

Publicity Officer &

Minutes Secretary:               Barry Mills (Canary Council)

Website Manager:                 Ghalib Al-Nasser (Budgerigar Society)

CBS Liaison Officer:             Steve Nesbitt (Foreign Bird Federation/Grantham CBS)

The last position is a new office aimed at improving contact and communication with affiliated CBSs who can benefit from their membership of the NCA through the insurance scheme, the various awards and competitions, and through access to the NCA website, as well as having access to advice on all aspects of aviculture.

Clubs wishing to affiliate to the NCA should visit our website (www.nca.uk.net) or contact the Secretary at Davies House, Spring Gardens, Northampton NN1 1DR.

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Tim Ward, Border fancier of Shrewsbury CBS, receives his award as 'Canary Exhibitor of the Year' from NCA President, Dennis Norton.

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NCA makes Two Commitments to the Future
February 2009

At its Management Committee meeting on 18th February, 2009 the National Council for Aviculture made two major commitments towards further development of the council’s activities in support of aviculture in the UK and Europe.

The first was an agreement to give formal notification of its affiliation to COM during 2010 with a view to supporting the World Show more extensively in 2011. At the same time the NCA has agreed to adopt COM’s six-year colour coded ring sequence. This decision follows communications with COM over the past year and face-to-face discussions with the executive of COM at the recent World Show.

The reason for the delay in affiliation is that it will take a little time for one of the parent bodies that make up the NCA to comply with the ring colour sequence. The World Budgerigar Organisation and Budgerigar Society adopted this colour sequence some time ago; The Canary Council    adopted the six-year cycle in 2008 and the British Bird Council’s rings are already recognised by COM GB. The Foreign Bird Federation is progressing towards adoption of the revised colour sequence. Closed rings of the correct colour are a prerequisite for birds shown at all COM exhibitions.

Chairman Dennis Webster commented: “The NCA is seeking closer communication with our European neighbours through COM in order that UK birdkeepers can benefit from their experience of European legislation which seems more supportive of birdkeepers and encourages a more confident, modern and forward-looking hobby than we currently enjoy in the UK. We see the NCA’s involvement within COM concentrating on policy and legislation nationally and internationally for the benefit of birdkeepers. Our role will be complementary to the excellent work already carried out by the IOA who run a COM-approved   ring service and facilitate the participation of   UK exhibitors in COM World Shows. We would hope that UK attendance at World Shows would increase with NCA affiliation”.

The second major commitment made on 18th February was to the continuing work of the Avian Welfare Strategy Committee, which is striving to ensure that future secondary legislation to the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 will support rather than restrict aviculture.

The Management Committee considered the draft strategy document, which sets out the principles upon which welfare guidelines for all birds kept for recreational purposes in the UK will be based and which remains open for consultation and comment until 31st March 2009. Having made a number of recommendations for the way in which detailed welfare guidelines for individual species should be drawn up, the Management Committee approved the Strategy Document in principle.

The NCA urges all organisations and individuals who have an interest in keeping birds for recreational purposes to read and respond to this consultative document by 31st March. The document and the contact for comment are available on this website: www.birdwelfarestrategy.org.uk .

Further business carried out on 18th February

     Work on welfare guidelines for individual species is being planned commencing with a general guide to the implications of bird keeping for people considering taking up the hobby.

A professionally printed version of this booklet will be available at the AGM in April.

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Bird Welfare Guidelines .... A Consultation
February 2009

 The England Implementation Group (EIG) was set up by the Government following the introduction of the Animal Welfare Act of 2006 with the purpose of formulating secondary legislation governing the welfare of all animals in the UK. Leading national organisations with an interest in animal welfare were invited to contribute to the drawing up of welfare guidelines for the particular species, which they represented.
 
Consequently a committee for a Bird Welfare Strategy was set up in 2007 to propose guidelines for all birds kept for recreational purposes in captivity in Great Britain. That committee consists of representatives from the NCA, the Parrot Society UK, The British Waterfowl Association, the Hawk Board, National Pigeon Association of Great Britain, The Petcare Trust, the Poultry Club of Great Britain and the World Pheasant Association. That committee has produced a document for consultation entitled "Avian Strategy For Hobbyist Livestock and Pet Birds" which sets out the principles upon which avian welfare guidelines will be based. Once this document is approved the individual bird organisations will be responsible for producing welfare guidelines for their particular species based upon the agreed principles.

The Management Committee of the NCA has considered the draft document and, with some recommendations for the way in which detailed welfare guidelines for individual species should be drawn up, has approved it in principle.

All organisations and individuals who have an interest in keeping birds for recreational purposes should read and respond to that consultative document by 31st March 2009.

The document and the contact for comments is available on the following website www.birdwelfarestrategy.org.uk

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