AS THERE is a larger than usual number of candidates standing for the positions on the Kennel Club General Committee this year, DOG WORLD thought it would be interesting and useful to find out more about the views and opinions of each one.
So each of the 18 candidates was asked to say what they felt they could contribute to the committee, what they understood to be the major challenges facing the world of dogs in the UK at present, and how they felt the KC could best deal with them.
DW received only three replies and these are printed below.
Ian Seath: "The major challenges facing the world of dogs in the UK – firstly, the current economic situation is impacting on dog owners and the welfare of many dogs, as well as people’s ability to participate in canine activities. Secondly, there is, quite rightly, heightened awareness among legislators, welfare campaigners and the pet-buying public of the importance of canine health. People want to buy pets that will be fit, healthy and temperamentally sound. The KC has to demonstrate that it is the organisation best placed to make a difference for dogs if we are to avoid a situation where government or others take, or are given, registration or regulatory roles controlling our canine activities.
How the KC can best deal with these challenges – do more and do it faster! I don’t know how much engagement there is with stakeholders and those who criticise the KC, but unless we can find common ground and joint actions, progress will be slow, or impossible. Demonstrating progress with health improvement has to be a key focus as it has such a significant impact on the way the KC, its members and pedigree dog breeders are perceived. That necessarily means devoting resources and support to whatever are identified as the high priority issues.
The KC must also continue to seek efficiency improvements in its internal operations. Unless it can generate financial surpluses it cannot fund all the development work necessary to meet its objectives.
What I would like to be able to contribute to the committee – as chairman of the Dachshund breed council, over the past four years I believe I have been able to help focus all our clubs on making a difference for Dachshunds. I hope to bring what we have learnt about breed improvement; the importance of using good health data, the recognition that you have to over-communicate and the value of wide-scale stakeholder engagement and teamwork. I have a broad range of business and performance improvement skills which I hope will be of value.”
Dr John D Symonds: "As a life-long dog lover, I’ve always been fascinated by the innumerable ways since pre-history that humans have harnessed dog instincts to mutual benefit. But of course, there are too many examples where the dog is exploited. I’m proud to be a KC member; it’s the only credible UK organisation with the scope to lead efforts on sustaining the mutual benefits now and into the future while fighting exploitation.
I think the KC does a great job in determining what should be done for dogs but sometimes falls short on the ‘how to’. Reasons include staying too long in reactive mode and incomplete transformation from authoritarianism to effective engagement processes with interested parties. Both are topics where my business training can assist.
My pre-retirement job was in oil industry issues management, where I helped counter the effect of activists on both national and global policies. In dogs we have a similar key issue with activist-centred charities. It is important to build on current efforts and aim to replace the activists as the first port of call for the media and politicians on any dog topic, especially planned legislation.
"An underrated KC achievement is the third party approval of most of its administrative processes to an international quality standard, with similar approaches being applied to the Assured Breeder Scheme. With over 25 years of international involvement in all aspects of such management system standards, my most immediate potential contribution could be in this area.
During the KC change to a company limited by guarantee, it would seem timely to revisit the reasons for its formation and determine whether current approaches to ethical behaviour are as robust and relevant as they could be. This is a governance matter where I can contribute.”
Stan Ford asked DW to use the biography included with the AGM agenda sent to members. Mr Ford is a retired policeman and says his ‘professional/commercial interest’ is ‘dog trainer/instructor for working trials and behavioural problem dogs’.
He served 33 years as a committee member of the Surrey Dog Training Society and 22 years as founder member and committee member of Ranmore DTC. He is currently president and life member of both clubs. He instructs weekly working trials clubs offering pet dog Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme classes and competitive training.
Mr Ford manages a weekly self-help training group in working trials, and is a self-employed dog training instructor specialising in working trials, training and behavioural problems.
He served with the police from 1965 until his retirement in 1994. He was a sergeant instructor in the regional police dog training school in Surrey and served for 14 years in the dog section. He judged and completed in police dog trials and has competed and judged all stakes in civilian working trials. He manages two championship and one open working trial annually.
He was previously chairman of the KC’s Working Trials Liaison Council and is currently chairman of the Activities Sub-Committee, a position he held for the past 15 years, which covers working and Bloodhound trials, agility, obedience, heelwork to music and sheepdog herding tests. He is chairman of the Heelwork to Music working party, and a member of the Dog Activities Centre at Crufts and the Club Committee, and is an accredited trainer and assessor in working trials.