Interview with the re-elected WCC President, Pam DelaBar
Q: How would you assess your first term as president of the WCC?
PDB: It’s been a bit of a training and learning period for me. Though we all share a common passion - the cat - our philosophies are somewhat different.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your second term?
PDB: I hope we (the WCC) can influence the government of Australia in revising policies on the shipping of pets to markets in SE Asia, influence governments in revising quarantine requirements to actually reflect animal health needs, share information on updated vaccine protocols and microchipping. I personally am looking forward to CFA hosting its first WCC conference next year.
Q: This is a multi-part question with a long pre-amble:
In talking with the ‘man-on-the-street’ we have ascertained four groups with distinct attitudes toward and/or opinions about the WCC.
The first group seems to be endemic to the Cat Fancy. Every-time any sort of committee, work group, etc. is formed a spontaneous group of critics with high - though rarely defined - expectations seems to also sprout up and express their great disappointment with the committee, work group, etc. for not doing anything, when most of the time they really mean, not doing anything earth- shattering that meets their high, though undefined, expectations.
The second group reads through the minutes and reports of the WCC and seems to feel that a lot of time is spent (wasted) by the delegates marking time by reinventing or redefining the WCC, but see very little of what they would call forward progress.
The third group also reads through the minutes and reports of the WCC, except unlike the second group, they seem to see the glass half-full. They do, however, feel that perhaps the WCC has been too low-key over the years.
The fourth group seems to see a bigger picture. They feel that the primary purpose of the WCC is as a form of preventative medicine for the cat fancy. As long as heads of major organisations meet with each other on a regular basis in a work and social situation, the lines of communication not only remain open, but also are rendered very effective, as you all know each other as opposed to knowing OF each other.
Q: Could you address each of these groups?
PDB: As for the first two groups - I try not to get wrapped up in negativity. There will always be those who can do nothing but express negativity. I personally glean what I can that can be construed as actual constructive criticism and build from that. Otherwise, I work with my vision of what can be, with the consent of the council, of course. The World Cat Congress can ultimately be more than a means for problem resolution - which in itself is of great benefit for the worldwide cat fancy.
Q: What do you as president of the WCC (and if differently, as president of CFA) see as the primary role of the WCC in the cat fancy? Secondary role(s)?
PDB: I see WCC first and foremost as a council that can resolve differences and problems that may arise, and as a body that brings the nine largest and influential cat associations in the world together to influence policies, etc., concerning the pedigreed cats throughout our areas (countries) of operation.
Interview with the newly elected WCC Vice-President, Ole Magne Grytvik
Q: Ole, you were asked to be present at the World Cat Congress in Dortmund by some of the WCC member organizations that felt the WCC was starting to lose momentum and needed an ‘energy boost’.
You were selected, not only for your reputation for being impartial and able to think long-term, but also because it seemed someone was needed who was free of major responsibilities in their own organisation and would thus have more time to dedicate to the World Cat Congress.
OMG: Since I was not present at the closed executive session where I was nominated as a candidate for Vice-President, I don’t know if the points in the question were actually part of the discussion and as such, the opinion of the WCC. All I knew beforehand was that some members of the WCC were not happy with the situation in the organisation and they wanted a change.
Q: In any case, you have been placed in a position of needing to live up to some people’s expectations.
Q: Do you have some preliminary ideas for proposals or initiatives that would meet these expectations?
OMG: I think a good first step would be to review past decisions of the WCC and determine which have not yet been acted upon or completed. It should be the first priority for the WCC officers to make sure these outstanding issues are brought to a conclusion.
The Charter and Constitution of the WCC may be considered a framework for the organisation. The WCC may also be seen as an experiment where the basic idea is to create a place for the world’s major cat organisations to meet.
Each member of the WCC represents an individual culture with regards to social values, economics, politics and traditions in which cats play a major part. As can be seen on the WCC website, the purpose of the organisation covers a wide range of challenges from the promotion of health, welfare and protection of all cats to matters such as registering, showing and judging pedigreed cats.
The latter may be considered a more technical matter, while the former may well challenge the integrity and the culture of the members. For an organisation to be able to handle such a wide range of expectations I believe it is of the utmost importance to create an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. This will require co-operation and, above all, communication among the members, which cannot just be done at the annual meetings. It is important for the WCC officers to keep communication and information exchange alive in the period between the annual meetings.
Q: What potential does the WCC have to become a driving force in the cat fancy and what should it do to become one, or should it?
OMG: It all depends on what is meant by a driving force. Some people may see the WCC as becoming a single, worldwide cat organisation where everything is governed by the same set of rules, others may see it as an authoritive voice speaking on behalf of all its members on basic issues such as cat health, welfare an protection, while others may want a feline United Nations.
The WCC has already proved to be successful as a forum for the organisations in the cat fancy to meet and work out their differences.
This success gives the WCC an enormous potential to remain as a valid means of mediation that fosters co-operation among and between its members, something that I feel is fundamental no matter where the future takes us. Evolution is a slow, methodic process, but for this evolution to occur in a positive manner, I feel it is of utmost importance that the WCC officers contribute to a continuation of mutual trust and respect among the WCC members. We can then discuss what should be our next step.
Q: What do you hope will be the future of the WCC in the Cat Fancy?
OMG: At the moment, I would like the WCC to develop into an organisation able to speak on behalf of all its members in matters related to health, welfare and protection of cats. Hopefully the WCC will contribute to the ever-increasing research that is being conducted in cat related issues. By doing so, the WCC could speak, not only to the world outside the cat fancy, but to the cat fancy itself. As individual breeders and exhibitors we all need to be challenged with respect to how we keep our cats and our reasons for acting and thinking as we do, whether this is based on objective standards or simply on traditions.