The World Cat Congress in 1999 took place in Malmö, Sweden on 5 March.
Representatives of World Organisations in attendance:
Mrs Alva Uddin, President of FIFe
Mr Eric Reijers, FIFe Vice-President
Mrs Anneliese Hackmann, President of WCF
Mrs Lesley Morgan-Blythe, International Liaison Officer ACF Inc.
Mr Larry Paul, President of TICA
Mr Donald Williams, President of CFA
Mrs Penelope Bydlinski, General Secretary of FIFe - taking notes
The meeting was opened by Mrs Uddin who welcomed the group of people who had come along. Mrs Uddin spoke of the need to work together, particularly with regard to legislation. She then introduced the Charter which had been discussed at the informal meeting in the afternoon and explained the necessity to have a formal structure to these annual forums.
The subject of government intervention in the cat fancy was raised and Mr Reijers said that in Holland the feeling was that the government had not the ability to regulate the LO book. They do not have the infrastructure to police but they do want to advise the breeders. In Germany the government has already interfered, firstly with deaf white cats and it is now also forbidden to breed Sphynx in that country. Ms Dagny Dickens asked about the situation with the Council of Europe’s convention and Mrs Uddin explained that some countries had acted on it but it was not, at this time, compulsory. Mention was made of the acts against vicious dogs and it was noted tthat a Dutch veterinarian had investigated biting in dogs and had found that pet dogs were, in fact, the worst offenders.
Don Williams spoke of the need to convince governments that the fancy policed itself. He felt that the public should become more involved and it was the fancy’s job to do this and also to educate them. The CFA has a legislative group, as has TICA. He pointed out that the legislators were acting before people were even aware of it.
Mr Paul spoke of the adverse media coverage. Animal activists were doing stupid things in show halls and he spoke of PETA - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.
Mrs Morgan-Blythe reported that things had quietened down a little in Australia. In some parts the ‘greens’ were active on cat legislation but nothing concrete had occurred and there was no federal legislation. Licensing fees had been introduced in some councils and these varied greatly. Local breeding organisations recommend castration and spaying for non-breeding animals.
CFA had funded a study where neutering was done at 6 weeks and as yet no detrimental effects had been observed. The study had gone on for 7 years now. The only problems seemed to be with some of the vets who were not familiar with cats anaesthetic requirements. There was some discussion on castrating and spaying at an early age.
After the coffee break Ms Dagny Dickens asked if the WCC was in favour of ‘open doors.’ Mr Williams said that there were no objections in the USA where people were in any case free to show where they wished. Mr Paul felt that people wanted to be free to do what they wanted to do and if attempts were made to stop them, they would leave the organisation.
Mr Paul said there was co-operation on show dates in the mutual interest and shows in the same city on the same weekend were avoided.
Mrs Morgan stated that there were two organisations in Australia and the members were free both to exhibit and judge with both. Some of the states plan the show calendar together.
Mrs Uddin said that there had been some problems in Europe, particularly in Italy and Germany where clubs had been obliged to change their dates at the last moment to avoid having an independent show on the same date in the same city.
Mr Reijers voiced some concern about making champions in different organisations. He felt that there was a danger of some cats being over-shown. He pointed out that it took 21 shows to make up a European Champion and that some exhibitors carry on to get high titles in other organisations. Mr Williams felt that if the cat could take it, it was not a problem.
This led to an enquiry from Ms Dickens as to regulations on a period between shows. In CFA there has to be 6 days between shows; in the UK it is 12 days. Some clubs have restrictions but FIFe itself does not.
Mr Paul asked if anybody had any objections to ‘open doors’ and the reply was in the negative with emphasis on the need for an exchange of ideas and gene pools. Mrs Uddin pointed out that ‘open doors’ did not just involve shows, there were other aspects, including exchange of information, which were also important. Mrs Sjödin (S) pointed out the difficulties with small independent clubs which had no contact with the major organisations and no exchange of information. SVERAK had tried to make contact but there had been no response. Mrs Høj (DK) said that there were no independent clubs in Denmark. The affiliated clubs planned their shows to ensure there were gaps between them. She felt that the average member saw only the fact that they were free to shows with other organisations and if this were to be stopped, she felt they would lose members.
Mrs Hackmann pointed out that in Germany there were many different organisations, there could be 15 shows within 80 kms of each other on the same weekend. WCF had recently combined with a TICA club on one weekend. Mr Reijers asked why ‘open doors’ could not be limited to certain associations. Mr Williams said that CFA did not recognise all the small associations in the USA. Mr Reijers spoke of the situation in Holland where the independent clubs allowed their members to use different certificates towards a title; this is not acceptable by the major organisations.
Mrs Uddin pointed out that within FIFe the ‘open doors’ policy could end in January 2000 unless a proposal to prolong was carried at the General Assembly in May. Mr Williams joked that as long as FIFe had closed doors, his organisation gained members and that was alright with him.
The question of licensing cattery names was raised and Mr Williams said that some 50,000 were licensed with CFA. The license was for ten years and if the name were not used, it was held for five years. After that time, it became free. After 10 years a re-licensing fee is paid. TICA has a similar arrangement. Mrs Morgan said that the policy in Australia was the same as in FIFe in Tasmania and a name cannot be re-used for 25 years after it has ceased to be used by the original holder. This gave rise to an interesting questions from Mrs Lone Lund (DK) who spoke of an instance where a person had deliberately registered with another organisation a cattery name that was registered to another breeder in FIFe. Mr Williams said that of course CFA or TICA had no means of knowing that a name applied for was held by another person in FIFe; it was therefore better to register in more than one organisation to protect the name. Mrs Lund explained that under Danish law the name belonged to the original registrant and the second party could not use it. Mr Williams accepted that if an official decision were to be made in such a case, his organisation would honour that decision and revoke the cattery name.
The subject of judges licenses was also discussed. In TICA there was an annual ‘refresher’ test and judges were licensed on an annula basis. In CFA there was a test every other year and obligatory Seminars to obtain the license. Both organisations charged $25 for the license. WCF re-licensed its judges every three years and the fee was $15-20. In ACF Inc. The fee was $10 a year in Tasmania and an annual renewal without exams was required. Regarding examinations, Mrs Morgan said that a student judge could taken an examination in one category twice if necessary but no third time was allowed.
There was a question on ruling over difficult cats. Mr Williams said that CFA no longer had rules on this point; he can forgive a nervous cat but not a really vicious one. Usually, he felt that it was self-regulating since showing was an expensive pursuit and people did not bring cats which could not be judged.
Mrs Morgan said that in Tasmania they had a rule on ‘UTH’, I.e. Being ‘unable to handle’; if a cat had three such rulings, it was banned from shows. However, each incidence is carefully logged and examined so that it is clear whether it is the fault of the cat or of the judge or steward.
Regarding the availability of rules etc. From the different organisations, Mr Williams said that CFA printed new, updated rules each April. The standards and rules of all organisations were readily available.
The meeting closed at 8.30 p.m.