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Here now is my latest offering - presented at November's AGM, and used as my address in the January 2020 magazine -
Chairman’s Report PSUK 52nd AGM Nov 2019
Much of what I said last year is still applicable, and bears repeating: I continue to enjoy my retirement from full time veterinary work by devoting more time and effort to The Parrot Society as its Chairman, and once again it has been a pleasure to work with such an enthusiastic and close-knit team. We have achieved a lot this year, with further plans and ideas for next year and beyond.
Our Treasurer continues to work very hard in monitoring our accounts, and will report a further reduction in income over expenditure this year. However, for the moment the Society still has a healthy bank balance, thanks largely to a substantial legacy, but we clearly cannot rely on such windfalls, and active planning is continuing in Council for the long-term financial security of the Society. Measures to reduce costs and expenditure, and simultaneously raise income and membership, are still at the forefront of Trustees’ discussions, and hopefully will show benefit in the coming year.
The Parrot Society’s major source of planned income continues to be our shows at Stafford, with The National Exhibition at Stafford County Showground in October being the largest and most successful. It is well supported by increasingly more branches of bird keeping. My thanks to all the many people who are involved in putting these shows together and ensuring that they run as smoothly as they generally do. The new display aviaries organised by Mike Roxx and Kevin Pickup were a big hit, and the progression of this idea into a competition open to bird clubs to display a variety of bird species is a promising development for the future. We look forward to the first such competition at our show next month. Support for this project in the form of certificates for the best displays provided by Cage & Aviary Birds is a reflection of the closer relationship we have had with this publication in recent years. The considerable financial and practical support given to our shows by Johnston & Jeffs is also gratefully acknowledged.
I cannot speak for Flamingo Land, but our days out to Birdworld and Desford Bird Park were disappointingly poorly supported this year. However, the newer event at Paradise Park was more successful, and hopefully we shall return next year. Beale Park is perhaps the most successful because of the liaison with other Societies, and the excellent new education centre as a meeting house. Perhaps involving other bird groups may improve the numbers attending our other venues in the future? I am reluctant to see these days out disappear, as they offer great social occasions to members. The planned new macaw aviary at Beale Park is a project with which the Parrot Society will be heavily involved.
Again, apart from our own shows, The Parrot Society has maintained a useful presence at the Spring Show at Stafford, and other shows at Newark, as well as having a stand at Think Parrots at Kempton Park. The re-designed website is still progressing, while our Facebook presence continues rapidly to attract new visitors and stimulate interest. Unfortunately, the development of the ‘Members Only’ section of the website has been further delayed. The necessary upgrade to the members’ database has been completed, but it cannot yet be implemented on the office computers until the very poor internet access at that site has been resolved. Several worldwide parrot Conservation Projects continue to receive our financial support, with feedback proving positive for the most part. Demand will undoubtedly continue in this area, owing to extreme weather conditions such as forest fires, severe flooding or drought, habitat destruction and political unrest.
I continue to give talks to various groups about avian veterinary medicine and parrots, and The Parrot Society always receives a mention. The most recent of these talks was a prestigious double 11/2 hour presentation on board a cruise ship in the western Caribbean, to approximately 40 ‘Parrot Lovers’, with land excursions to several notable avian collections!
I have also represented The Parrot Society at DEFRA and Companion Animal Sector Council (CASC) meetings, and there is a further such meeting scheduled for December.
I am pleased and honoured to have served, and continue to serve, as Chairman of The Parrot Society UK, and I feel that we continue to achieve much good work. In the current climate of elections and manifestoes, I would like to make the following comments. Over fifty years ago The Parrot Society was founded, with the following fundamental statement – “To encourage the study and conservation of parrot-like birds in freedom and captivity”. I totally understand and fully accept that the bulk of our income comes from our shows, and that without that income the society would quickly fail. But we are neither a high-flying commercial business, nor just an ‘old-boys club’ - we are a charitable organisation, and we should fulfil those charitable objectives. There is still an appalling amount of ignorance and even cruelty out there among the parrot-owning public. I would like to see a lot more done with our years of experience and expertise in keeping and breeding parrots used to educate, and generally improve the lot of parrots, rather than just being a facilitator for trading these birds. To that end I will continue to encourage and support such efforts, and that is the platform on which I would like to move forward as Chairman for another year. We have a great team that will continue to build on this success, and promote the Society. Our final show of the year on 1st December – Help the Bird Keepers – should end this season on a good note.
Finally it remains for me to wish all members and your families a Happy and stress-free Christmas, and we all wish for a healthy, prosperous, and peaceful New Year. Thank you for your time, interest, hard work, and support!
Alan Jones, 17 November 2019
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