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NCA Management Committee Meeting
"DEFRA, The World Show, Membership and a New Badge"

At 10.30am on Wednesday 8th October 2014 the management committee of the National Council for Aviculture met at the Charnwood Arms Hotel, Coalville, Leicestershire. Representatives of the British Bird Council, the Budgerigar Society, the Canary Council and the Foreign Bird Federation were present under the chairmanship of Chris Smith.

Three distinct subjects took up the bulk of discussion and decision making. The first concerned the lack of progress with DEFRA over various ringing issues of British native birds. Confusion and frustration reign while DEFRA procrastinates over whether to require closed rings for coloured variants of native species when British bird hybrids and mules do not require closed rings. Other issues surrounding ringing legislation are detailed on the B.B.C. website. The chairman asked for copies of these to be sent to SUN (Sustainable Users Network) for their imminent meeting with DEFRA. In the meantime it remains unclear what Version 5 of the proposed regulations covering these issues actually looks like and Natural England have recently extended the period of consultation  over the issue of time birds can or should spend in training cages. As the general election looms ever closer this looks like a delaying tactic which could end in no decisions or the wrong decisions being made. The chairman undertook to contact John Randall MP to arrange a meeting with the Minister.

On a much more positive note Secretary Ghalib Al-Nasser reported on the recent meeting of COM-UK at which Chris Smith was elected President for the next 3 years with Brian Hogg, Chairman of Canary Council, and Richard Lumley of the I.O.A. as Vice Presidents. Simon Tammam is the new secretary, Brian Preddy remains the treasurer, Ghalib Al-Nasser is publicity Officer and Dave Paine of the FBF is the 7thcommittee member.

COM-UK is now promoting the 63rd World Show to be held in Rosmalen, Holland and open to the public from Thursday 22nd January to Sunday 25th January, 2015. COM-UK is hoping the closer proximity of this venue to the UK   will encourage more British fanciers to exhibit their birds at this magnificent event where well over 20,000 exhibits can be expected. Last year the British team of 32 exhibitors took 195 birds and increased the number of medals they brought back. For full details visit the official websites www.mondialcom2015.com and www.comuk.co.uk . You will be given every assistance in getting your birds safely to Rosmalen and back in top condition.

Membership was the third major point of discussion. More clubs are becoming affiliated to the NCA particularly to secure the coveted third party insurance scheme enjoyed by members. Others enjoy representation and benefits of NCA membership through their parent body i.e. the B.S. the Canary Council, the B.B.C. and the F.B.F. The question of individual membership was discussed at length. Issues around the power to vote at AGM’s and management meetings, the cost of individual subscriptions and what membership benefits could be offered were considered and it was eventually agreed that individual membership under the current constitution would raise a number of problems and that people should be encouraged to join their parent body and seek representation through that channel. See the NCA constitution at www.nca.uk.net.

Other items dealt with were a proposed change to rule 12.3 of the constitution to read: Honorary Life Vice-Presidents can attend the AGM with the power to vote, and attend MC meetings without the power to vote. This will be put to the AGM on 11th April 2015. The Secretary was pleased to announce the arrival of the new NCA badges bearing the NCA logo available at 3 with 70p p&p from the Secretary Ghalib Al-Nasser, Evenstar, Pinkuah Lane, Pentlow, Sudbury CO10 7JW. Approval was also given for the award of a gold badge to Dave Guppy for services to aviculture during 30 years as secretary of the City of Bath CBS.

The chairman proposed a number of improvements to the NCA stand and supporting display for future appearances at the London Pet Fair and other major events including the Stafford Spring Show and the National Exhibition. He was pleased to announce the introduction of an overall Best Canary Award at this year’s National Exhibition.

Subject to further submissions for the AGM the next management meeting will take place immediately after the AGM. This meeting was closed at 13.08.

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The NCA  Serves Bird Keepers  and  Defies  Damaging Bureaucracy and Regulations.

The last Management Committee meeting of the NCA prior to its AGM on Saturday, 5th April took place at the Charnwood Arms Hotel, Coalville on Wednesday, 12th February, 2014. Representatives of the Canary Council, Budgerigar Society, British Bird Council and Foreign Bird Federation were in attendance under the chairmanship of Chris Smith (Canary Council).

Positive reports from the Chairman and Secretary on the NCA’s successful public liability insurance scheme offering whole-year cover to clubs for all their shows and meetings; its awards system open to all bird club members; 4 rosettes to all affiliated clubs; access to legal advice and a growing range of bird-related publications. The NCA extended the range of national exhibitions and pet fairs around the country which it attended. President, Roger Carr, proposed a further investment in illustrated posters of birds from each of the four sections of our hobby both as adverts for CBS shows and as sales items for the public. (see website www.nca.uk.net for details)

Ghalib Al-Nasser, Secretary, reported also on the recent success at the 2014 world show in Bari, Italy where 32 UK exhibitors entered 195 birds and won 11 medals: Ghalib himself won 4 golds and 1 bronze; Maurice O’Connor’s Irish Fancy Canaries earned 1 gold, 1 silver and 1 bronze; Stan Bolton’s Lizard canaries secured a gold, Saviour Camillieri’s Norwich a silver, and Roger Carr won a bronze. This was two more medals in total than in 2013. For more  details on the show visit COM-UK website www.comuk.co.uk.

COM-UK is the body which organises UK entries to the World Show which will be in ‘s- Hertogenbosch, Netherlands in 2015. As from May of this year the structure of COM-UK will change so that the NCA will have 4 delegates and will assume the roles of President and Vice-President, to be filled by Chris Smith and Brian Hogg respectively. Other   members being Ghalib Al-Nasser and Dave Paine. The IOA will have three members. Details of further roles to be agreed at the next meeting of COM-UK.

On a more vexing theme the report from the Sustainable Users Network and Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency at DEFRA held on 6th December, 2013, generated a long debate led by BBC delegates Robb Brown, Bob Partridge, Craig and Julie Walker expressing serious concerns and much frustration of British Bird breeders and falconers over outdated licensing and ringing regulations emanating originally from Europe but requiring urgent modification in the UK to enable British bird keepers to comply with the law and maintain essential animal welfare practices. One example of this is the delay since 1995 in adjusting the ring sizes under European/UK bird species ringing regulations to allow bigger rings on domestic-bred birds substantially larger than their wild brethren. The AHVLA officers, new Head of International Trade and Licensing, Simon Hewitt and Barbara Minnikin agreed to take this and other issues up with their colleagues at DEFRA.

The point was well made by our BBC delegates that these battles over regulations concern European/UK native species at present but similar difficulties are already occurring with regulations for foreign species. There seems to be an increasing   tendency, intended or not, to over regulate our hobby in the name of conservation which may well begin to encroach upon the apparently uncontested areas of canary and budgerigar keeping. SUN is also closely monitoring the concept of “positive lists” in Europe (i.e. the species that would be the only ones allowed to be kept).

Chris Smith, chairman, urged the NCA to maintain its annual subscription and support for SUN and make an additional financial contribution to assist its work. This was agreed unanimously. Broader representation by the NCA, IOA and BBC etc. at future SUN-AHVLA meetings will be a vital element in our communication with and influence over DEFRA and the Government’s developing policies regarding animal welfare in general and bird keeping in particular.

Honours conveyed at the close of the meeting were as follows: Following the sad death of Roy Fox his name was now placed in the NCA Hall of Fame. Birmingham BS’s Alan Blakeman and Colin Lamb received Gold badges for 25 years service; Grantham CBS were awarded Gold badges for Henry Johnson, Stewart Randell and Jim Moreton. Stan Bolton and John Record of the Lizard Canary Association were also awarded Gold badges. Silver badges went to Saviour Camillieri, Dave Allen and Mick Stone for 20 years service to South Bucks Canary Breeders Association; Mavis Dawson of the Zebra Finch Society received a Silver badge; Fife Fancy Federation members David Lumsden and Bill Bannister received Gold badges and Chris Smith was awarded a Silver badge. Robb Brown with 2 b!!!

Finally, the management committee were pleased to nominate Bob Partridge of the BBC to be President-elect for 2014.

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NCA Press Release 5th February, 2014

The next Management Committee meeting of the NCA will take place at the Charnwood Arms Hotel, Coalville at 10.30am on Wednesday, 12th February, 2014. Representatives of the Canary Council, Budgerigar Society, British Bird Council and Foreign Bird Federation will be in attendance under the chairmanship of Chris Smith.

The main item of business will be preparation for the Annual General Meeting to be held at the same venue on Saturday, 5th April. According to the rules of the NCA (see www.nca.uk.net) the purposes of the AGM are:

(i) To receive and approve the balance sheet and profit and loss accounts for the previous year

(ii) To receive a written report on the NCA’s year from the Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.

(iii) The inauguration of the President.

(iv) To elect the President-elect.

(v) To appoint Honorary Life Vice Presidents.

(vi) To receive the names of the management committee.

(vii) To elect the Auditors.

(viii) To determine the rates of subscription.

(ix) To consider any matter referred to the AGM by the management committee.

(x) To consider any resolution submitted to the secretary prior to the 1st December in the

 year of the meeting by the Management Committee, a Parent Organisation or two or more

 Affiliated Cage Bird Societies. Such resolutions to be circulated to the membership by 7th

January in the year of the meeting. Amendments to the resolutions will be accepted

provided they are submitted in accordance with the first sentence of rule 14(x) and are

received prior to 31st January in the year of the meeting.

(xi) A Quorum at the AGM shall be a minimum of ten members present

Other items will include consideration of the report from the Sustainable Users Network and Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency at DEFRA held on 6th December, 2013, and   representation at future SUN meetings and subsequent costs. This is a vital element in our communication with and influence over DEFRA and the Government’s developing policies regarding animal welfare in general and bird keeping in particular.

CBSs and other affiliated societies are encouraged to recommend fellow fanciers for NCA awards for services rendered to aviculture. NCA service badges are available for loyal and active club members who have served 15 (Bronze), 20 (Silver) or 25 (Gold) years in any capacity within the club. For aviculturists of outstanding achievement The Roll of Honour may be appropriate and for deceased members worthy of   posthumous recognition of their achievements The Hall of Fame could be considered.  See the NCA website for details of how to apply    www.nca.uk.net.

See also our advantageous Public Liability Insurance Scheme which offers your society 5m of cover at a very reasonable premium. Every club needs PLI for its shows. Without it you risk heavy financial claims against you   in the event of accidents or injuries and most local authorities will not hire out premises unless you have 5m of PLI. Similarly, you may at some point need legal advice on matters relating to bird keeping and the NCA can put you in touch with experts in the field.

All affiliated clubs receive 4 rosettes annually for their shows.

New publications available from the NCA  and Canary Council now include “Welcome To Bird Keeping”;   “Care of Canaries”; “Canary Breeding Register” (suitable for most species); “The Definitive Guide to Yorkshire Canaries”; “Breeders’ Guide to Yorkshire Canaries – UK and Ireland”.

Barry Mills, Publicity Officer

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