AGM 2015 Chairman’s report
As I look back to our first working party meeting at the RVC London in 2009 following the series of meetings chaired by Sir Colin Spedding of the Companion Animal Welfare Council I consider the encouraging messages of support we received at the time.
Following the conclusion of that challenging series of meetings, Sir Colin said ‘Congratulations on getting such wide support for your venture. I wish it all the best.’ sadly he is no longer here to witness the success and progress he inspired but we should be grateful for his valiant efforts to bring the training and behaviour sector together.
Also Lord Soulsby (chairman of CAWC) wrote saying ‘I am very pleased indeed to see ABTC follow up of the CAWC report and I congratulate you on the splendid progress you have already made. May I say that you will have the formal support of CAWC as you have requested and I hope CAWC can bring guidance and support to your work.’ I am delighted to say that this support continues today with a member of their committee attending all of our meetings and actively contributing to our development.
More recently we have attracted the support of Bruce Fogle and Clarissa Baldwin as patrons and Lord de Mauley, Parliamentary under Secretary at Defra, has gone on record supporting our work and objectives. This in no way shadows the tremendous support we have received from the wide range of animal welfare charities and professional organisations who have been with us from the start and those who have joined us since.
Since that initial meeting we have firmly established ourselves on the animal welfare landscape, at times progress may have seemed slow but this is a characteristic of the thoroughness and diligence that has been a feature of the way business has been conducted. Central to our plans for the growth and advancement of the ABTC has been the creation of foundations that will stand the test of time, avoiding the temptation of short term gains offered by rushed ideas that lack substance and would not stand up to longer term scrutiny. Individuals, organisations and politicians would quickly see straight through that approach and the reputation for quality we now enjoy would not have been possible, or at least, in jeopardy.
The step by step strategy we have employed has created an organisation that I believe is here to stay, meticulous planning and comprehensive execution of our objectives has succeeded in building an administration that is worthy of the support we enjoy but we must guard against complacency. There is still much to do and now we have the eyes of Europe, Canada and the Antipodes on us, it was never our intention to be involved in regulating training and behaviour beyond the UK but a recent message from the British Columbia SPCA confirmed that our example is inspiring similar movements around the world.
Our progress during the past year can be described as steady and continuous. Goals still remain but consistent growth in membership, reputation and influence remains a stable feature.
Specific goals for 2015/16 are:
- Launching of the course recognition process
- Achieving charity status
- More generally we should each consider how we can contribute to the continued growth and development of the Council and how that can translate into making a greater contribution to animal welfare in the field of training and behaviour.