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Minutes of a meeting of Council held on Tuesday 2nd March 2004 at the Farmers' Club, 3 Whitehall Court, London SW1A 2EL.

Present:  the President Mr. A. Muckle, Prof. J. Bleby, Mr. H. Hellig, Mr. C. R. Herbert, Mr. B. Hoskin, Dr. M. Kerr, Mr. J. Oliver, Mr. A. Porter.

Apologies for Absence:  Mr. R. Ewbank, Mr. L. Gibson, Prof. A. R. Michell, Mr. M. Nelson, Mr. H. Robinson, Mr. G. Tribe.

Minutes of the previous meeting on 22nd January had been circulated and were approved, subject to the correction that Mr. A. Porter is not in fact involved in the BVA/RCVS Working Party on the new VSA.

Matters arising from the minutes not covered elsewhere:  Dr. D. Reynolds has indicated that she does not wish to be a Fellow of the CVS, as she is already a member of Royal Counties.

Mr. T. Greet is unable to attend the AGM, and it has been suggested that a special meeting might be arranged for him to address the Society on the future of the BVA.  It appears that next session may be too late, and the possibility of having a dedicated meeting during the summer was discussed - possibly at Mansfield Street, possibly with a buffet supper.  It was agreed that Mr. Muckle would contact Mr. Greet, and give him the choice of dates.

A letter from Miss Tribble of the RVC regarding the McCunn Prize was circulated, thanking the CVS for being involved in the matter for so many years.  This award is to become the McCunn Memorial Prize, to be presented to the President of the Student Union at the RVC, who will be the Society's guest for dinner that evening.  This is intended to reawaken the link between the Prize and the Society, which had grown weak when it was presented by post as a dissection prize.  The Society has eight copies of the Dictionary of British Equestrian Artists currently available to be awarded.

Correspondence:  Again only the usual emails from various BVA departments concerning consultation documents and press releases, all of which had been forwarded to Council members and those Fellows who had expressed an interest.

President's report:  The President had nothing further to report, but proposed that a donation of £100 be made from CVS funds to the Arthur Rank Centre, whose Director was the evening's speaker.  This was unanimously agreed, and Mr. Muckle agreed to send the cheque with his letter of thanks to the speaker.

Secretary's report:  Nothing further to report.

Treasurer's report:  Mr. Tribe reported via Dr. Kerr that matters were essentially the same as they had been at the time of his previous report on 22nd January.

BVA Representative's report:  Prof. Bleby reported that there had been no Council meeting since our last meeting, and he had not yet received any papers for the meeting on 19th March.

Mr. B. Hoskin reported that the BVA has a new Head of Policy, Mr. Jeremy Johnson, and a "48-hour think-tank" has been instituted. The meeting was also delighted to learn that Mr. Hoskin, our Junior Vice-president, has been elected Chairman of the Board of BVA.

AWF Representative's report:  Mr. Ewbank reported that the AWF Representatives' Day this year has been fixed as 11th May, the same day as the CVS AGM. He intimated his intention to attend that event, and so he would be forced to tender his apologies for the AGM.

Membership:  A reminder was given to extend the Society's welcome to Mr. Fred Peters, who would be attending the meeting.

General discussion:  It was agreed that the debate on 22nd January had gone well, and that attendance had been good.  It was suggested that a meeting with two speakers taking opposing points of view might be a useful means of generating discussion - or we could repeat the debate format.

Mr. H. Hellig asked how we could best influence BVA.  Do we as Fellows of the CVS discuss matters enough to have an informed opinion?  Mr. Hoskin remarked that in an ideal world we would have the papers for BVA Council to debate at the preceding meeting, but the logistics of meetings timing make this impossible except by occasional good fortune.  Mr. Hellig expressed the opinion that more speakers addressing major issues within the profession would be an advantage in this respect.  Mr. Muckle suggested that a debate on the future of large animal practice might be valuable.  Are we producing too many vets, as the Page and Swan reports suggested?

Any other business:  Election of Officers for the 2004-05 session was discussed.  Mr. C. R. Herbert had kindly agreed to allow his name to go forward for the position of Hon. Treasurer.  The position of Junior Vice-president was a bigger problem, and a number of possible candidates were discussed.

Council nominations for ordinary members of Council are the current members.

Mr. Oliver raised the matter of unacceptable practices in the rearing of broiler chickens, which has been the subject of recent press reports.  The principal problem appears to be that the birds fatten so fast that their legs are unable to support them.  Is this a suitable welfare initiative for the CVS to espouse?  Might it be appropriate to write to the BVA through the AWF?

Mr. Hellig sounded a note of caution by relating his experiences at the BBC and ITV studios viewing videos shot by animal rights groups.  Their allegations were not always true.  One farm was raided, and nothing untoward was found.  There is also the question of what percentage of animals has a problem, and is this problem being addressed by the farmer when it is identified?  No farm can have 100% healthy animals 100% of the time.  There will always be a few inadequates and even sadists among the farming community, but there are also extremists among the animal welfare groups.

Mr. B. Hoskin then presented his provisional programme for the 2003-04 session.

Date, time and place of next meeting:  Tuesday 11th May 2004 at 5.00 pm at the Athenaeum Club, 107 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5ER.

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