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Minutes of a meeting of Council held on Tuesday 28th September 2004, at the Veterinary Laboratories Agency, Woodham Lane, New Haw, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 3NB.

Present:  the President Mr. B. Hoskin, Prof. J. Bleby, Mr. C. Boyde, Mr. C. R. Herbert, Dr. M. Kerr, Mr. K. Meldrum, Mr. M. Nelson, Mr. J. Oliver, Mr. H. Robinson.

Apologies for Absence:  Mr. R. Ewbank, Mr. L. Gibson, Mr. A. Muckle, Dr. A. Porter.

Minutes of the previous meeting on 5th July 2004 had been circulated and were approved.

Matters arising from the minutes not covered elsewhere:  none.

Correspondence:  Agenda papers for BVA Council on 3rd October, (finally) the glossy publication/report from AWF, You and your Vet, two issues of the Commonwealth Veterinary Association News, and sundry fliers regarding poisoning etc.  The usual email list of consultation documents and news reports, which had been circulated.

President's report:  The President reported that the programme card for the 2004-05 season would be available once a few programme items were finalised.  He also drew the attention of the meeting to the upcoming BVA Congress on 1st-2nd October and its programme.

Secretary's report:  Nothing further to report.

Treasurer's report:  Mr. Herbert reported that he had now taken over the accounts from Mr. Tribe.  Current assets were: current account, £1,258.57; capital reserve account, £5045.90; McCunn prize, £530.72 with £1,600.30 in reserve; Centenary Prize account, £1,194.77.

BVA Representative's report:  Prof. Bleby submitted a written report of the 7th July meeting.  Mr. Meldrum expressed his continuing concern regarding the lack of input from BVA to government affairs and DEFRA.  The practising arm of the profession requires input into DEFRA initiatives, he said, and members are coming into the Veterinary Policy Group with no knowledge of this area.  Someone is needed on the VPG who is in a position to provide this input, ideally a retired member, or at least someone no longer with DEFRA.  Mr. Hoskin reported that a BVA Parliamentary Liaison Group was being formed but may not yet exist.  There was some discussion about whether Mr. Meldrum might chair an informal group, but the meeting resolved to put Mr. Meldrum's name forward for membership of the VPG based on his past experience and his understanding of the workings of the government machine.  If indeed it was too late to submit a formal nomination for the AGM, then Mr. Hoskin or Prof. Bleby could raise the matter of co- opting him.  Mr. Hoskin also volunteered to check on the progress of the Parliamentary Liaison Group as Mr. Meldrum's input might be valuable there also, and possibly also to the EU group.

It was noted that the BVA had still not formally published accounts, but Prof. Bleby had accessed the figures from the web site.  The deficit was given at £8,985, an enormous improvement on the previous year's £435,351, which had mostly consisted of the never-explained "exceptional items".  Operating losses had also dramatically improved.  Market value of investments was listed.  Income from sales of the Veterinary Record had dropped slightly, but there had been an enormous decrease in the telephone bills.  It was noted that the accounts were late because of the calendar year, but that the Board have access to monthly accounts.

Prof. Bleby raised the matter of the Animal Welfare Foundation, and the desirability of amending the Articles so as to return to the old Animal Welfare Committee format and receive accounts.  It was questioned whether there were any AWF accounts available on the web site of the Charities Commission.  There had not been in the past, and this was potentially a serious matter.

AWF Representative's report:  Mr. Ewbank sent his apologies and had nothing to report.

Membership:  The meeting expressed its sorrow at the news of the death of Dr. Calvert Appleby earlier in the summer.  Dr. Appleby had been a long-time Fellow of the Society and a past-president.  Dr. Kerr was instructed to send a sympathy card to Mrs. Appleby on behalf of Council and Fellows.

An application for Fellowship had been received from Dr. Andrew Edney, and this application was unanimously accepted.  (Dr. Edney had tendered his apologies for the evening's meeting.)  This left membership numbers unchanged at 94.

Dr. Kerr suggested writing to the authors of politically-vocal letters in Veterinary Times who live within the CVS territorial area, inviting them to become Fellows, and it was agreed this was a potentially useful tactic.  However, it was difficult to know whether general meetings (as opposed to Council business) would be of particular interest to these individuals.

Any other business:  It was suggested that Dr. Reynolds might be an interesting speaker for a future meeting (if she won't become a Fellow!), and Mr. Hoskin agreed to approach her on the matter.

Prof. Bleby reported that the books for the McCunn prize would be sent to Vetlab for storage by the new RVC Academic Registrar.  Miss Tribble had not in fact supplied the names of the past winners of the prizes, but it was hoped that her successor would do so.  The prize would be presented to the incumbent president of the RVC Students' Union who would be the Society's guest at the appropriate meeting.  It was also hoped that the new Principal of the RVC might become a Fellow of the Society.

Date, time and place of next meeting:  Monday 6th December at BVA Headquarters, 7 Mansfield Street, London, W1G 9NQ.

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