Well, it looks like Managing Editor Vince Hogan has left me in charge of the shop, whilst he’s off covering the World Dog Show in Poland, so this issue’s Editorial falls to Yours Truly.
Actually, talk of the World Dog Show is very pertinent, as this issue of OUR CATS will be on sale at the Supreme Cat Show. Whilst I think of it, welcome to new readers who have picked the issue up at the show – I hope you like what you see in this worthy journal of record.
Anyway, back to the dog show analogy. The most famous dog show in the world is, of course, Crufts. The Supreme Cat Show was devised by the late former GCCF Chairman Dr Bill Groom and was modelled on Crufts, even down to the fact that only the best cats can enter and have to qualify to do so.
Compared the Crufts, which has over 100 shows to its name, the Supreme is a mere stripling at 30 years old, although that in itself is a worthy achievement. Crufts is run by the Kennel Club, the Supreme is run by the GCCF, but how do the public view these two premier events (both of which, coincidentally, are held at the NEC)?
I did a straw poll of ten friends and acquaintances, none of whom are fanciers, and asked them if they’d heard of Crufts and the Kennel Club, the Supreme and the GCCF.
All of them had heard of Crufts, nine of them had heard of the Kennel Club. However, only two had heard of the Supreme, two confused the Supreme with the National Cat Show and none of them had heard of the GCCF.
Well, to quote Catherine Tate, ‘Am I bovvered?’ Well actually yes, I am – and so should you be.
Here’s the reason: Just ten years ago, the Kennel Club (founded 1873) was accused – with some justification – of still being hopelessly 19th Century in its attitudes. It didn’t much like ‘trade’, it didn’t like ‘the media’ and it certainly felt no obligation to speak on behalf of all dog owners in the UK.
Fast forward ten years, and the KC is a thoroughly 21st Century organisation; the Government seek its advice on all maters canine, the media ask the KC about all dog-related issues and, crucially, the KC has embraced ‘ordinary’ pet dogs, whether they are pedigrees, mongrels or crossbreeds, it even has a Companion Dog Club.
The KC’s list of objectives includes:
‚ Ensuring that the Kennel Club is the first port of call on all canine matters
‚ Recognising the importance of canine health and welfare
‚ Popularising canine activities focusing on the retention of existing participants and the attraction of new
‚ Achieving a widening of the Kennel Club membership base
‚ Encouraging the development of all those concerned with dogs through education and training
‚ Encouraging more people to provide input into the Kennel Club’s decision-making process
The Kennel Club’s primary objective is: ‘to promote in every way, the general improvement of dogs’.
With the enactment of the Animal Welfare Bill this month, there will be a lot more political and media scrutiny of pet-related matters. This doesn’t just involve dogs – it involves cats. The nation’s cat lovers deserve their voice to be heard, especially with regard to secondary legislation which will come in on the back of the new Act and which will, most certainly, affect how we keep our cats.
Would the GCCF, (founded 1910) be the best organisation to take on this task? I believe they would be.
But in order to do so, people have to hear about the GCCF, to know who they are and what they’re about. The Supreme Cat Show would be the ideal place for this to happen.
Let’s all help to make it happen – we cat lovers need to have our voices heard by those in authority… All of us.
Enjoy the Supreme!
Nick Mays, Chief Reporter