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WORLD CAT CONGRESS 2007

Part 2:
The Business Meeting

THE 2007 World Cat Congress (WCC) was held on 30 March - 2 April in Dortmund, Germany at the Congress Center of the Dortmunder Westfalenhallen. This year’s WCC, which was hosted by the World Cat Federation (WCF), with the assistance of WCC’s partner, Royal Canin, marked the Congress’ return to continental Europe for the first time in six years and the second time the WCF has hosted the event.

The delegates to the World Cat Congress.

All nine members of the World Cat Congress were represented: Lesley Morgan-Blythe, delegate from the Australian Cat Federation (ACF), Cheryl U’Ren, delegate from the Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia (CCCA), Pam DelaBar, Cat Fanciers’ Association (CFA) delegate, Eric Reijers, the Fédération Internationale Féline’s (FIFe) delegate, Betty Shingleton, delegate from the Governing Council of the Cat Fancy (GCCF), Albie Jobson, delegate from the New Zealand Cat Fancy (NZCF), Kaai du Plessis, delegate from the Southern Africa Cat Council (SACC), Kay De Vilbiss, delegate from The International Cat Association (TICA) and Otrun Wagner, representing the World Cat Federation (WCF).

Lesley Morgan-Blythe, delegate to the World Cat Congress from the Australian Cat Federation.

The format of the World Cat Congress annual meeting, which has remained about the same over the years, consists of a public seminar, a two-day cat show and a business meeting.

Former GCCF Chairman, Betty Shingleton, the GCCF’s delegate to the World Cat Congress.

On Day Four, Monday April 2nd, World Cat Congress president Pam DelaBar opened the WCC business meeting. After a roll call of delegates and the establishment of breaks during the day, the delegates were asked to approve the minutes of the previous year’s meeting, which was done with a small amendment that had been pointed out by the Australian Cat Federation.

Legality and Ethics
The meeting then moved on to old business, of which there were several items to discuss. The first involved establishing the WCC as a legal entity with a non-profit-making status, which, according to Ms DelaBar, could be done by incorporating the WCC in, for example, the United States. Incorporation would relieve the delegates from personal liability in the event of a lawsuit, establish a tax domain and allow the WCC to take out a liability insurance policy. Ms DelaBar offered the assistance of the Cat Fanciers’ Association’s lawyers.

Kaai du Plessis (left), delegate to the World Cat Congress from the Southern Africa Cat Council and Lesley Morgan-Blythe (right) from the Australian Cat Federation.

The next item on the agenda was the establishment of a WCC code of ethics. After some discussion it was agreed that the WCC should not have - nor impose on its members - such a code, but should instead encourage all of its members to develop their own if they didn’t have one already.

Pam DelaBar, World Cat Congress President and Cat Fanciers’ Association delegate.

Similar results were forthcoming in their decision regarding the next item - disaster relief. Here too, it was decided that each member should assess their own situation and look into what they can do to make their members aware of the need for this type of activity when disaster strikes.

An overall view of the business meeting.

Ms DelaBar suggested the delegates have a look at the CFA Website’s disaster relief link (www.cfa.org).

Asian Animal Trade
A policy statement regarding the animal trade in Asia was the next item for discussion. The bulk shipping of puppies and kittens to Asian countries, from mostly Australia and Russia, has been a topic of concern for several WCC members for the last two years.

The Australian delegation pointed out that, for example, even though regulations were in place in Australia regarding the number of animals that could be placed in a shipping crate, the airlines were not abiding by them, nor was the government doing anything to enforce them.

They asked that a letter from the WCC be drafted and sent to the relevant department in the Australian government. While it was agreed that the WCC would proceed with such a letter, a lot of discussion arose concerning what the role of the WCC should be in these types of matters.

Ole Magne Grytvik, World Cat Congress Vice-President.

Penny Bydlinski, World Cat Congress Secretary/ Treasurer.

As some delegates felt the WCC was not an animal welfare organisation and others felt it should at least lend its voice by taking positions on the various animal welfare causes and issuing policy statements regarding these positions, it became clear that the delegates had conflicting expectations about the purpose of the WCC. This prompted Ms DelaBar to ask the delegates to write down how they saw the WCC in five years time.

Some of the major points made were as follows:

1. The organisations would still be working together, both through discussion and active assistance, on matters of mutual concern,

2. The members would be sharing information and experiences regarding animal legislation in their countries,

3. Harmonisation of the standards of any new breeds would be a reality,

4. The WCC web site would be a major focal point for information sharing between the members,

5. The profile of the WCC in the Cat Fancy would be at a much higher lever than it is today,

6. Cat welfare issues would have been increasingly addressed where possible,

7. International cat health protocols would have been established and testing - where available - to ensure breeding from healthy stock would be obligatory,

8. Policies and protocols regarding artificial insemination would be in place,

9. Governments would be better educated by the WCC regarding the need for quarantine in the
face of modern veterinary science,

10. Breeding programs for new breeds would have been actively promoted,

11. Established breeds would be better protected,

12. Public awareness regarding pedigreed cats would be raised,

13. Information regarding vaccinations would have been shared among the members and as a result the number of dangerous - often-needless - vaccinations would have decreased.
The final matter of old business concerned whether the president of the WCC could also contemporarily be a delegate of a WCC member. The delegates decided that the president could continue to represent his/her own organisation.

With the old business concluded, the meeting moved on to financial matters and fees, then on to the next item on the agenda - member reports. Each of the delegates in turn, brought the others up-to-date regarding their own organization’s activities during the past year, highlighting some of their accomplishments and principal events.

Proposals
Proposals from the members were next on the agenda and the first were from the Australian Cat Federation.

Albie Jobson, delegate to the World Cat Congress from the New Zealand Cat Fancy.

The ACF proposed that artificial insemination protocols and registration procedures be formulated by the WCC, which would then be subscribed to by all of the members. Though artificial insemination in cats is a rare and difficult procedure, the ACF felt that now was the time to address the issue, before its frequency of use with domestic felines increased.

Kaai du Plessis, delegate to the World Cat Congress from the Southern Africa Cat Council.

The ACF also suggested that this matter be discussed within each of the member organizations and brought back to next year’s WCC. Ms DelaBar pointed out that only rules that could be enforced had any value and suggested a policy statement instead. The Governing Council of the Cat Fancy delegate, Betty Shingleton, agreed to work with the Australian delegate, Lesley Morgan-Blythe, on drawing up a draft statement to present the following year.

Another proposal from ACF requested that nominations for WCC positions be made in advance of the annual meeting to allow the members time to consider the candidates. Ms DelaBar pointed out that as this was a proposal to make a change to the WCC constitution, it would have to be formally formulated and resubmitted. The proposal was defeated.

The meeting then went into closed executive session to discuss the remaining proposals from the members.

Reimbursement
The Fédération Internationale Féline proposed a constitutional change regarding reimbursement of part of some delegates travel expenses that would take into account the major differences in cost due to major differences in distances traveled by each of the delegates.

The idea being that each member would contribute an amount that would be equal and determined each year, then after any reimbursements for those who also were also judges was deducted, the WCC would cover any remaining expenses. The proposal was passed and became immediately effective.

Eric Reijers, outgoing World Cat Congress Vice-President and the Fédération Internationale Féline’s delegate to the World Cat Congress.

A proposal had been received from a private individual to attempt to increase the visibility of the World Cat Congress through a post-meeting press release to the worldwide cat fancy press, which was accepted on a trial basis for the current year.

The remainder of the closed session was dedicated to WCC officer elections and addressing problems that had arisen between some of the members.

Elections
Pam Delabar was re-elected as President for another term, Ole Magne Grytvik was elected to a new term as vice-president and Penny Bydlinski was re- confirmed as Secretary/Treasurer.
While the details of the member problems are not for publication, what can be said is that the issues were put on the table and the process of mediation to find an acceptable solution in keeping with the spirit of promoting harmony in the cat fancy was begun.

Ms DelaBar, representing the Cat Fancier’s Association and the host of next year’s WCC, informed the delegates that the venue was still being decided, but would probably be Washington, D.C., Houston, Texas or Las Vegas, Nevada.

Cheryl U’Ren said that the Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia would be happy to host the 2009 meeting and there was a suggestion that this could be in conjunction with New Zealand Cat Fancy. Mr Reijers said that one of the Fédération Internationale Féline’s members was also willing to host a meeting. Mrs U’Ren’s offer was accepted and it was agreed that the 2009 meeting would be in Australia in March of that year.

As there was no other business the President, Ms DelaBar declared the 2007 World Cat Congress closed.

Harmony
As stated in slogan form in its logo, the primary purpose of the World Cat Congress is promoting harmony in the cat fancy. However, when extended to the longer, non slogan version, this concept becomes: promoting harmony and co-operation among the major organisations in the cat fancy in matters of mutual concern in the best interest of all cat lovers - from the pedigree breeder to the pet owner.

The Australian delegates to the World Cat Congress, Lesley Morgan-Blythe (left) from the Australian Cat Federation, and Cheryl U’Ren (right) from the Co-ordinating Cat Council of Australia.

The tranquil atmosphere in the cat fancy today is proof that the WCC has lived up to its slogan. The WCC provides a very effective means of mediation to bring about the friendly resolution of problems and differences among - and between - its member organisations, and as a result, this tranquility is sure to remain in the years to come.

Photographs by Bob Schwartz