Established 1870
A Division of the British Veterinary Association

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Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Tuesday 11th May 2004, at the Athenaeum Club, 107 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5ER.

Present:  the President Mr. A. Muckle, Prof. J. Bleby, Mr. C. Boyde, Mr. L. Gibson, Mr. H. Hellig, Mr. B. Hoskin, Dr. M. Kerr, Mr. P. Koder, Mr. K. Meldrum, Prof. A. R. Michell, Mr. J. Oliver, Dr. A. Porter, Mr. G. Tribe, Mr. C. Woodham.

Apologies for Absence had been received from 20 Fellows.

Minutes of the AGM held on 15th May 2003 had been circulated and were approved.

Matters arising from the minutes not covered elsewhere:  none.

President's report:  Mr. Muckle submitted a written report, expressing his sense of honour and his enjoyment of his year as President.  He highlighted in particular the debate in January which had an attendance of over 40 people, and the thought-provoking talk given by Rev. Gordon Gatward, Director of the Arthur Rank Centre.

He noted the influence the Society has within the BVA, and how pleasing it was to see the new BVA structure emerge after the turbulence of the previous year.  He then thanked Professor Bleby for his contribution to this effort, and the other officebearers for the time and energy they contributed towards the success of the year.

Secretary's report:  Dr. Kerr submitted a written report, detailing the range of meetings held during the year, including subjects such as veterinary history, and the new format of a formal debate.  She reported the decision not to undertake radical alterations to the nature of the Society in an attempt to attract larger numbers, and the recognition that the CVS had a rôle to play which went beyond that of simple provision of CPD.  Indeed, with three new Fellows to offset one death and one resignation, 2004 saw the Society slightly ahead of the game with 94 Fellows.

The launch of the CVS web site in 2003 had been very successful, affording Fellows easy access to details of meetings and Society business, and some historical documents relating to the Society now being publicly available for the first time.  The Society's concern had shifted from the now-resolving situation at the BVA to the proposed re-opening of the Veterinary Surgeons Act, and the expertise of Dr. Alasdair Porter had allowed the CVS to make a considerable contribution to the on-going consultations.

Treasurer's report:  Mr. Tribe circulated the accounts, which had not been professionally audited due to his recent retirement, but had been signed by the CVS Auditors.  He explained that the theoretical loss of £532.88 was not entirely true, as the Centenary Prize cheque had been drawn from the general funs and was not replaced until after the end of the financial year, and the charitable donation to the CCSF had complicated matters even though it was mainly made up of personal donations from Fellows.

He emphasised that in today's climate interest on both the Centenary and McCunn prize funds is derisory, so generous awards are not in order.  Although the accounts were to end December, as of today the balances were £1,526.45 in the current account, £5,028.58 in the Capital Reserve Account, making a total of £6,555.03 to be handed over to the new Treasurer.  Mr. Tribe pointed out that as he had been on Council for 18 years and handled the accounts for 12 years, and had just entered retirement, he felt he had earned a break.  The meeting thanked him most sincerely for all his years of hard work on behalf of the CVS, and wished

him a long and happy retirement.

Mr. Meldrum enquired about the progress of the CCSF to which the donation had been made.  Prof. Michell reported that the response to the appeal had been good, and that the main fundraising phase was now in operation, under the auspices of Lord Sainsbury, Minister for Science.  It should be possible to tap other sources of funds on the back of the initial effort.

AWF Representative:  no report.

BVA Representative:  Prof. Bleby also submitted a written report, summarising developments at BVA following the "retirement" of the former Chief Executive and his assistant, and the adoption of the new constitution.  He praised Prof. Greet's performance as President, and the constructive nature of recent meetings, and noted that for the first time in at least a decade there has been an increase in membership.  He reported on the new format of the Annual Conference, scheduled for London later in 2004, which should address concerns about the financial viability of BVA Congress.  It was encouraging to note the amount of effort going into reaching out to recent graduates and younger members of the profession, and that divisions were being consulted for their views on important decisions.  The importance of retaining the support of the large specialist divisions was also emphasised, and in this context Prof. Bleby particularly welcomed the appointment of Dr. Freda Scott-Park (then President of the BSAVA) as JVP of the BVA.  Prof. Bleby also welcomed our own incoming President, Mr. Brian Hoskin, who as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the BVA will also ensure that the CVS continues to exercise appropriate influence at Mansfield Street!

Election of officers:  The following were elected to Council for the 2004-05 session:

Senior Vice-president
Junior Vice-president
Hon. Secretary
Hon. Treasurer
BVA representative
AWF representative
Hon. auditors
Mr. B. D. Hoskin
Mr. A. P. Muckle
Mr. C. Boyde
Dr. M. G. Kerr
Mr. C. R. Herbert
Prof. J. Bleby
Mr. R. Ewbank
Mr. A. M. R. Nelson
Mr. A. P. Muckle
Ordinary members Mr. L. W. Gibson
Mr. H. Hellig
Mr. P. R. Manning
Prof. A. R. Michell
Mr. K. C. Meldrum
Mr. J. J. Oliver
Dr. A. R. Porter
Mr. H. C. Robinson
Lord Soulsby

Any other business:  Mr. Meldrum raised the question of the fragmentation of DEFRA inherent in the State Veterinary Service becoming an Agency, and suggested that the CVS look at the new arrangements in detail.  Mr. Boyde agreed.  Instead of a team approach, everything appears to be being dismantled, and how will the state get feedback from practitioners?  While the emphasis was now on structure and management, the vet in the field gets the blame when things go wrong. Mr. Robinson noted that the livestock industry now has to fund everything by itself, including services that used to be free.  Farming has been cast adrift by Ministers.  Prof. Bleby supported Mr. Meldrum and asked if it was possible to help within BVA Council.  Mr. Hoskin suggested the Mr. Meldrum might write for Off the Record, and Mr. Meldrum suggested approaching Mr. Martin Alder.  Mr. Muckle assured Mr. Meldrum of the support of the CVS.

Prof. Michell suggested it might be advantageous to ask someone from the new Nottingham school to speak during the next session.  This initiative might break the mould and introduce more collaboration, but it could be a disaster as manpower requirements may be exceeded even now, without another 100 graduates a year, and we could be back to the days of the early Herriot books but with student debt.  There is also now no need for regional referral centres as so much private provision is available.  Mr. Tribe commented that the rise in arable farming in some parts of the country had eliminated many farm practice jobs, only equine work seems to be increasing, and a 3% increase in employment was required to absorb existing graduates, with a 6-7 year lag period.  Mr. Gibson enquired about the range of activities undertaken at Sutton Bonington, and Prof. Michell replied that while many facilities already exist and the university is powerful and ambitious, there was also potential for collaboration with other centres in subjects such as food hygiene and equine medicine.  Mr. Hoskin pointed out that several new states had just joined the EU, and their graduates do not expect high salaries.

Prof Michell mentioned the possibility of having a meeting at the RVC next year, with joint input into the topic, and surely the Nottingham project would be a good suggestion.  The RVC has influence in the RCVS but none on the BVS, and the CVS is their constituency.  Mr. Muckle speculated as to whether it might be possible to obtain sponsorship for such a meeting.  Mr. Hoskin said that there was still some flexibility in his plans for the next meetings programme, and that this was certainly a possibility.  It would also be advantageous to involve new graduates.

Date, time and place of next meeting:  May 2005, details to be arranged.

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