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The Canary Council Annual General Meeting took place on Sunday 7th May, 2017 at the Fieldhead Hotel, Markfield, Leicesteshire with Brian Hogg (OVCA) in the chair.

The chairman welcomed delegates Keith Ferry and Saviour Camilleri (Norwich), David Allen (Blue Lizard Club), Chris Smith (Kernow Rare and Old Club), Simon Tamman (Frill Club), Barry Mills and Terry Salt (Yorkshire Canary Club) and extended warm thanks to Chris Smith for his hard work in his capacity as secretary and treasurer. He described 2016/17 as a very testing time for the Canary Council and COM-UK.

It was a great disappointment that three major sections of the canary fancy (the Glosters, the Fifes and the Coloured Canaries) have not renewed their membership apparently “seeing no benefit” in affiliating. This, he felt, was short-sighted bearing in mind the changing circumstances of our hobby nationally and internationally because of Brexit and other challenges heading our way (e.g. the possible registration of all bird keepers) and also the very modest affiliation fee required to support the Canary Council in its role as the representative of the canary fancy through the NCA and COM-UK in discussions with DEFRA, COM or Natural England.

An example of the need for our various canary sections to work together was illustrated this year by COM who, without proper consultation, changed the standard of the Lizard Canary for COM shows and proposed amendments to the Yorkshire Canary model by 2018. The review of other standards of UK canary breeds is expected. This has to be resisted via COM-UK or we will lose control of our own breed standards.

More positively the chairman was pleased to report the continued success of the National Exhibition at Stafford and the Canary Council’s collaborative work with the Parrot Society in organising the largest all variety show in the UK and providing a range of trophies for the event.

The chairman acknowledged there has been justified criticism of the outdated state of the Canary Council website which he had attempted to rectify - regrettably without success. This and the development of other means of communication with the fancy must be a target for the year ahead.

Having served as chairman for a number of years Brian had decided to stand down in order to devote his energies to the National Exhibition and the work of COM-UK.

Secretary, Chris Smith, thanked the chairman on behalf of the whole council for his years of service.

The election of officers for 2017/18 then took place as follows:

President             Maurice O’Connor   (Irish Fancy)

Chairman             Barry Mills   (Yorkshires)

Vice Chairman    Brian Hogg  (OVCA)

Sec/Treasurer     Chris Smith  (Kernow Rare and Old Club)

Web editor          Chris Smith/Barry Mills

Publicity Officer  Barry Mills

In accepting the chairmanship Barry Mills expressed his belief that the Canary Council has a vital role to play in defending and supporting the canary fancy and all its breeds at national and international level. The Canary Council was originally set up by the NCA to look after the interests of the canary fancy and is now an integral part of the NCA structure, being one of the four parent bodies. Government departments will only deal with national bodies not separate and various canary groups.

The challenge is to convince others of its importance, to communicate better and regularly with the fancy and seek its essential support. The outgoing chairman kindly offered to sponsor the revised website. Other fund-raising activities are planned.

In his own report the secretary confirmed the need for the Canary Council to update its communications and increase its fund-raising activities. Updating the website is a priority and a regular ‘electronic newsletter’ to members will be issued commencing with the business of this meeting. It was the responsibility of section representatives to make sure this information is reported back to their members.

Brian Hogg and Chris Smith are both NCA delegates on COM-UK which should benefit the Canary Council in its defence of canary breed standards which are currently all under review by COM. Dave Allen, as Lizard Canary Association representative, thanked the Canary Council for its help with the changes proposed for the Lizard Standard. Simon Tamman, UK representative on COM’s technical committee, reported that he has requested details of Turkey’s proposed changes to the Yorkshire canary standard but no response so far. Canary sections may wish to consider registering the copyright of their standard to gain some protection. The YCC have already done this. Simon also reported that a draft booklet of all the current canary standards would be available by the end of the year with an estimate of printing costs.

Regarding the judging of the London Fancy at the World Show delegates agreed that only clear body birds should be put forward and that COM-UK should make this clear to exhibitors.

COM has announced a southern hemisphere World Show in Cuba 21st-23rd July 2017 and a northern hemisphere show in Cesena, Italy in January 2018.

The Secretary made a proposal  for the Canary Council to work with the NCA in issuing id coded closed rings to canary breeders under an adapted version of the NCA ring scheme. To avoid confusion with other canary sections the NCA has agreed we can use their initials on the rings. This will lift the profile of both NCA and CC and bring in much needed funds for the CC. This proposal was approved by the meeting and the Secretary was instructed to seek a suitable ring supplier.

A further report from the NCA included the news that its public liability insurance scheme is now being taken up by over 100 clubs and a new NCA Facebook page is to be launched. Due to the general election DEFRA has put on hold changes to legislation, including future class licence for northern bullfinch and goldfinch. CITIES has requested a country code on closed rings for CITIES species (mainly raptors and parrot like).

As a final item the CC agreed to provide trophies and rosettes again for the  National Exhibition 2017.

The date of next year’s AGM was agreed as 15th April 2018.

The chairman thanked the delegates present for their contributions to the meeting and closed proceedings at 1.15pm.

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My remit for the year as Chairman was to promote the All Canary Shows the CBS clubs and the very important National Exhibition.

Starting with the National I think we will have achieved the near perfect result the Norwich and Yorkie sections will be present at this years show in October. The Norwich section is being promoted by the Norwich Midland Plainhead Show under the guidance of Chris Mellow and Saviour Camilleri. This is the first time this section has attended the show and I wish them every success. The Yorkshire section is to be held in conjunction with the OVCA with myself and Kevin McCullam there for guidance. Paul Rayner from Staines CBS will be show secretary and we already have a promise from 3 Fanciers to show their Yorkies. You may ask why the OVCA well unfortunately no Yorkshire Specialist club would take up the banner. What would the National be without the Norwich and Yorkies I think incomplete.

I always support all my local CBS clubs and I truly believe without the CBS Clubs there would be no hobby. I would like to think we support our CBS clubs as much as we can.

There are a few all canary shows around and I am pleased to see ALL VARIETY CANARY SHOW re-emerge at Wisbech after a doubtful future, please get your members to support this event.

The South Bucks Canary show has now run for nearly 20 years and as chairman I am proud we are going from strength to strength but we do need the support of all Canary exhibitors.

I believe we should be trying to promote best practice within our judges panels. In the UK we are miles behind the rest of Europe when training judges. l am told that even the Yorkshire Canary Club has no training programme and also the Norwich. The Canary Council must try and help these great breed clubs to produce a judges training programme. We in the UK should be the leaders in everything connected to the UK breeds. After all Europe ask us as the breed Country to set the standard for their judges to adhere to. It’s a nonsense if we have no qualified judges ourselves, surely a minimum requirement for a candidate to attend training with an experienced judge for one show season. Let us start to lead the world with our expertise judging again.

I am watching finances of the C C very closely and we must find new avenues to bring in new income, and we will discuss this at the meeting as I believe we need a fundraiser.

Finally I would like to thank all of you for attending the meetings with your input as without you the C C cannot operate. Our Secretary Chris Smith has my special thanks for all his work during the year.

Please remember as delegates you should report back to you society with all meeting news. In the past some delegates have not passed this information onto their respective clubs and the officers in the clubs feel its a waste of time being involved in the Canary Council.

Brian A Hogg OMJ