BOARD MEETING HELD BY ZOOM
24 Apr 2020
Members of the Cat Fancy will be pleased to know that the Board of Directors has held its first video conference Board meeting, using Zoom. The Board would normally meet around 6 times a year, usually at the offices of the Kennel Club in London. However, due to the current lockdown, the Board decided to use Zoom, to discuss matters including finance and budget adjustments; changes to the 2020 Business Plan and progress of club returns. There was also an update on items being published to the Covid-19 page of the website, in order to keep everyone up-to-date and ensure GCCF is giving appropriate advice in line with other animal organisations. The next meeting is scheduled for 22nd May.
ELECTORAL MEETING - FEEDBACK NEEDED FROM CLUBS
14 Apr 2020
Please check on the General Notices page of the website for the full content of the GCCF Chairman's letter to clubs, and advice from the GCCF Solicitor.
CANCELLATION OF SUPREME SHOW & OFFICE CLOSURE
19 Mar 2020
As most will be aware a number of GCCF shows have recently been cancelled, due to the ongoing issue of COVID-19. It has been decided, after due consideration, that the GCCF Supreme Cat Show 2020 should be cancelled. Whilst we are very much aware that the scheduled date is not till October, it was decided the responsible thing to do was to cancel, before investing large sums of money into an event which could ultimately be cancelled at a later date. This will, as far as we possibly can, ensure the safety of our staff, exhibitors and public alike.
It is unfortunate that we have had to take such drastic measures but we must be aware of the impact this could have on everyone, and act responsibly in accordance with Government legislation, also be aware that the circumstances are constantly changing.
Due to the control measures in place in regard to COVID-19, unfortunately we have also had to take the decision to close the office from 4.30 pm on Friday 20th March until further notice. This decision has not been taken lightly. We have put things in place to provide a reduced service but this may change if staff members become ill.
Phone calls and voicemails to the office will not be monitored, so we ask you to send your query in by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org where our staff members working from home will be able to help you.
If you are waiting on registration cards, these will be sent as soon as possible. We have reduced our printing & posting, so it may take a little longer than usual for you to receive registration cards. If you need to send us something that is urgent, then please send this by email and not by post.
And please remember that you can register kittens, and complete transfers via the online services on our website, rather than posting in the paper forms.
We thank you for your patience and understanding at this difficult time and, again, if there is anything that we can help with, please send us an email.
The Board and Staff of GCCF hope you all remain safe and well.
John H Hansson
CANCELLATION OF SHOWS & MEETINGS
17 Mar 2020
CANCELLATION OF SHOWS & MEETINGS
Following the announcement by the Prime Minister and Chief Medical Officer last night that all people should avoid social gatherings, the Board of Directors has concluded that all cat shows and club meetings must now be cancelled, to ensure we comply with any Health and Safety measures that may be imposed. It may be possible to hold your club meeting electronically .
We wish to assure Show Managers that we will do everything possible to ensure support for any shows which may be cancelled due the Covid-19 outbreak, show managers are advised to ensure, as far as possible, they minimise their costs. Relevant clubs have been contacted, and the question of support for those that have incurred costs will be discussed by the Finance Committee in a teleconference tomorrow. Anyone with an urgent enquiry should contact the GCCF Office so that it can be passed on to someone best placed to help.
There will be no June Council Meeting so delegates should not book any advance travel tickets. Board discussions will be by teleconference and email.
GCCF will do what it can to assist clubs but at this juncture it is too complex to state to what extent.
You are all strongly advised to follow any Government or Local Authority guidance in an effort to control as far as possible further spread of this Virus.
May all stay safe and well
John H Hansson and Board Members.
GCCF statement on Covid-19
15 Mar 2020
We are monitoring the situation closely especially the instructions on public events from the government, Public Health England and the chief medical officer.
To date public events- which include cat shows- are not being asked to cancel. But some national and local events have voluntarily cancelled.
Without national advice the cancellation of a cat show currently still remains the decision of that club and show manager.
But any club cannot make the decision whether you as an individual should attend or not as that depends on your individual age and risks of complications in contracting Covid 19. We all have to make our own decisions and we would encourage all of you to do that. This is likely to continue for some months and we need to protect ourselves.
We hope if shows go ahead that the show teams will look at ways to minimise risk. We have seen already shows with shorter show days with reduced access to public and encouragement of the increased cleanliness measures we are all being advised to do.
Unfortunately it also looks like there is no provision for an insurance claim under the GCCF insurance if a show cancels due to COVID 19.
The board has you all at the forefront of our minds and want you all to stay well. We will publish new guidance weekly and sooner if things change.
DEFRA pet travel guidance after Brexit
16 Jan 2019
DEFRA has contacted GCCF with guidance for pet/animal assistance owners intending to travel to the EU with their pet after 29th March 2019:
"We launched our pet travel guidance for each of the scenarios we may encounter after leaving the EU, including if the UK becomes an unlisted third country. These guidelines recommend that pet/assistance animal owners intending to travel to the EU with their pet after 29th March 2019 contact their vet at least four months before their travel date to get advice on what they may need to do to prepare. The recommendations also address the documents and health preparation that may be required for pets to return to the UK from the EU."
GCCF Business Achievements 2012-2017
23 Feb 2018
Read about our achievements from the 5 Year Business Plan here
Household Pet Registration
11 May 2017
From the 1st June 2017, all Household Pets must be registered in order to claim further titles.
Here are some key points:
- It is not necessary for Household Pets to be registered in order to continue to be shown, but they must be to win further titles.
- If a cat already has a title, it can continue to show in the class its current title allows
- If a cat is already a GCCF Registered cat, to earn further titles, it will need to marked as such. There is no fee for this.
- If a Household Pet is a look-a-like pedigree pet, but not GCCF registered it will need to go through the full registration process.
- Household Pets, pedigree and non-pedigree, can be registered online, or by post
- Registration can be done at the time of application for the next title.
- The fee for registering a HHP is £10.
We have produced a leaflet, which you can request from the GCCF Office.
Review of Animal Welfare Act 2006
16 Mar 2017
Review of Animal Welfare Act 2006 and potential implications for cat breeding
There is currently an amount of both incorrect and unsubstantiated information being circulated on social media and elsewhere relating to the proposed revision of the Animal Welfare Act 2006, along with some speculation on what the legislation might mean for cat breeders. I don’t wish to prevent discussion, but I’m aware that a number of breeders are becoming very concerned about the implications, as some have contacted me directly, and I’m saddened that rumour may be causing a fair amount stress for some.
Firstly, let me reiterate some points I have made before, but which may not have reached all: ·
- The GCCF is a member of the Canine & Feline Sector Group (CFSG) and I attend all meetings of the group. ·
- The CFSG is fully involved in the work relating to the proposed legislation (which is an amendment to the existing Animal Welfare Act 2006), and has been given an oversight role by DEFRA. ·
- There is no Bill as yet specifying the amendments because the scope of this is still being debated. ·
- The CFSG will see and be consulted upon the proposed changes and licensing conditions once they are drafted. ·
- This drafting work is currently underway and CFSG is receiving updates at every meeting ·
- Most importantly, the Bill Lord Black introduced some time ago is dead and not anything directly to do with the current work. Its clauses on regulating cat breeding have not been carried forward.
Over the past day or so I have checked on the progress made to date by the Expert Panel charged with drafting the Model Licensing Conditions. I mentioned this panel in my previous update – this is the group established by DEFRA as a working group to write the model conditions. The panel is made up on some members of the CFSG plus representatives from local authorities and it has been meeting since January.
My latest information is things are at the early stages right now and are still gaining shape, but it is absolutely clear to me that DEFRA do not want to be heavy handed and they want any proposals to be realistic. There is a good deal of work still to be done in drafting the model conditions, most of the discussion so far has focussed on dog breeding, with some discussion also on licensing conditions for boarding kennels and catteries. There has been very little mentioned as yet on cat breeding.
DEFRA intend that new licensing regulations will be enshrined in law as part of the revision to the Animal Welfare Act. The Model Licensing Conditions as currently being formulated do not include a specific Condition for cat breeding; there is a specific Condition for dogs, and one specifically for dog and cat boarding. Cat breeding will be covered under a third generic Condition.
Under the vending regulations anyone who runs a business breeding and/or selling animals will have to obtain a licence, but that will not stop people breeding from a home environment. They will have to show that the health and welfare of the animals is being provided for and that they are meeting certain standards.
As yet there is no definition of what constitutes a breeding business. I am assuming that there will be some threshold level or set of circumstances specified which will be used in determining this status, but cannot comment further as this panel is still to address this issue. I know that DEFRA are concerned about the number of puppies, kittens and other animals being sold via the internet, and this may be part of the definition. There has been absolutely no mention of the need for planning permission in order to obtain a breeder’s license.
The Canine & Feline Sector Group is working with the British Veterinary Association and the Pet Industry Federation alongside DEFRA to make sure the new draft regulations are fit for purpose and ensure high standards of welfare without causing unnecessary burdens for hobby breeders and business. As a CFSG member the GCCF is able to advocate for cat breeders during the process. As I have said, all proposals will run via the Group when they have been formed.
The next meeting of the CFSG is 24th March and licensing conditions is a specific item on the agenda.
I have discussed all of the above with the GCCF Board and have considered with them what we might do to prepare for breeder licensing. One thing I have suggested is that we explore accreditation for GCCF under UK Accreditation Service conditions.
The Kennel Club already hold UKAS accreditation for their Assured Breeder Scheme and I have a meeting with KC representatives next Friday, 24th March, to find out more about the process they followed to gain accreditation, along with it cost in terms of time and money. I also want to understand what benefits this gives to licensed dog breeders who are members of the Assured Breeder Scheme. There is an obvious read across to the GCCF Breeder Scheme and UKAS accreditation of our scheme could be beneficial once the new licensing condition are in place.
I will issue further updates once I have more information to share. In the meantime I do urge people not to make assumptions that cannot have basis in facts, as so much as yet remains to be determined.
Steve Crow - GCCF Chairman
Review of Animal Welfare Act 2006
27 Feb 2017
Review of Animal Welfare Act 2006 and potential implications for cat breeding
I have posted statements in the past to give you information about the Cat Welfare Bill introduced to the Lords by Lord Black and about the Government’s review of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. At the time of the last in May 2016 GCCF had just submitted written evidence to the Westminster Select Committee for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs charged with gathering information on which to base future proposals, and was represented in person at the Committee carrying out the same task in Edinburgh for the Scottish Parliament.
I gave a verbal update to GCCF Council last week on development to date and took some questions from delegates on the possible implications for GCCF breeders. I am aware that there has been comment and speculation over the past week on this matter and that people are concerned about what this means for our hobby. In the interest of clarity I am stating here the current known facts.
DEFRA has indicated an intention to review and update the regulations and licensing requirements relating to the breeding and boarding of companion animals, and of specific interest to us are any proposals related to cats (and dogs). In doing this DEFRA has sought advice and proposed models for how this might work. A part of this addresses regulations to cover pet vending from private premises (our homes), as well as reviewing the terms of existing licensing for commercial pet shops and boarding establishments.
At the end of 2016 DEFRA stated it proposed to expand its national group on licensing conditions, comprised of local authority representatives, to give it a broader role as a DEFRA expert panel to assist in the development of the licensing reforms. The RSPCA, Kennel Club, Battersea, Pet Industry Federation, Cats Protection and the British Veterinary Association were invited to assist drafting New Animal Licensing Regulations alongside local authority representatives.
In addition, George Eustice made a statement in the House on 9th January in answer to a parliamentary question. He stated: “As part of the review of animal establishment licensing schemes, the Government is proposing to remove the licensing exceptions in the Pet Animals Act 1951. These exemptions are for those in the business of selling either pedigree animals that have been bred by them or the offspring of an animal that has been kept by them as a pet, for instance, the offspring of their non-pedigree cat. We will be publishing our ‘Next Steps’ document on the proposal shortly.”
We need to await the publication of ‘Next Steps’ to see the detail. No date has been set for its publication as far as I can ascertain. I know work is ongoing on the model licensing conditions, a risk based assessment framework for animal activities licensing, and guidance to accompany the regulations, so there is a way to go yet before any precise information is released.
GCCF was not asked to participate on the licensing panel, nor were many other small organisations, including International Cat Care (formerly FAB). The large charities with their multi-million pound turnovers, giving an ability to run high profile national campaigns, carry far greater clout.
However, there will be consultations deriving from its work which potentially will involve the wider membership of DEFRA’s Canine & Feline Sector Group. GCCF has had membership of this since its organisation, and I have established many useful links with other members, including the Kennel Club, which shares many of the same concerns about licensing regulations. There is no intention to relinquish GCCF’s current position and I will be looking for opportunities to input into the consultative process whenever possible.
As I said in Council I think it’s important that GCCF does not react defensively, or with any form of outrage, to what may be proposed. It’s essential that we are designated as a forward thinking self regulating authority, to establish a recognised position with those drafting the legislation, and limit its impact on breeders who register with us, if at all possible. The link below concerns dogs, but indicates where I believe our path forward could lie. We have to demonstrate we are responsible breeders who do not need to be targeted - (see paragraph immediately after the quote from Battersea). Local Authorities efforts should lie with control of the ‘back-street’ businesses:
I shall be discussing this matter with the Board again at our meeting on the 7th March; there is also a meeting of the CFSG later in March. I will give more information as and when it is available.
The "Next Steps" document mentioned above is now available at:
Steve Crow GCCF Chairman