GOSH! THE NEW boss of the RSPCA reckons the charity’s approach in future will be to make friends and influence people. (As opposed, that is, to forcing its way into their homes and lumbering them with criminal records in the wake of shamelessly tactical prosecutions.) Jeremy Cooper, at the outset of his reported £150k/year job, opened his heart to the Daily Telegraph recently.
According to the report, the incoming chief executive said he wanted to see the number of prosecutions brought by the charity reduced, and “virtually eliminated for fox hunting”.
"We have made mistakes,” Mr Cooper is quoted as saying. “We have to be honest about that. We are going to be a lot less political. It doesn’t mean we won’t stand up for animals. But we are not a political organisation. People may have had the perception we were becoming an animal rights organisation. It is not the reality now and it won’t be in the future.” Conceding, perhaps, that it had been “the reality” until recently – as we knew.
In the report I read, Mr Cooper did not mention the ruined lives of innocent bird fanciers; OK, we are small beer compared to the hunting lobby. But let us note what he has been at pains to spell out: fewer prosecutions, less political, not an animal rights outfit. We’ll take it from there, shall we?
Oh, and how about better call-out services? A friend recently rang his local RSPCA about an injured wild bird in his garden. Nobody turned up to collect it and the bird (a lovely migrant whimbrel) died, but they did sting him for a donation during his initial phone call. Nice work if you can get it.
■ Congratulations to the five splendid birdkeepers who have just been appointed to the NCA’s Roll of Honour (News, page 3). I must admit I’d assumed that Colin O’Hara had been on every Roll of Honour going for ages, in recognition of his visionary work in founding the new National Exhibition. But far better late than never.
■ It’s fantastic to see the exhibition Fife fancy in North Wales going from strength to strength (News, page 4): not only a new, bigger show hall in prospect, but the judging to be open to public viewing, too. An excellent decision.
■ Ed’s Quote of the Week: “Difficulties are created only to be overcome, and our advice to all readers of Cage Birds is to keep smiling.” See page 15. Keep smiling this week, OK?
In the May 25, 2016, issue of Cage & Aviary Birds, Bill Naylor takes a closer look at the European blackbird and explains why this musical, assertive species is as wonderful to observe in the wild as it is in captivity
In news, a Lizard canary model is to be resurrected and awarded to the best exhibit at November's Lizard Canary Association (LCA) Classic show and officials at the North Wales Fife FCC have secured a larger location for its November open show after seeing the club outgrow its original venue.
Leading Continental breeder Piet Renders has been interested in the London fancy canary for the past 17 years since he first came across an article about this extinct canary. He has subsequently gone on to help revive the ancient variety in the Netherlands. Then, last year, came two breakthroughs, when Piet's latest London fancies caused sensations at shows in Holland and England
Prominent Yorkshire canary breeder and clubman Brian Keenan serves up a checklist of "Do's and Don'ts" designed to be kept in your birdroom, covering major subjects such as housing, exhibiting, supplements, breeding and feeding
Two ongoing projects for Sam Wildes involve developing his recessive pied and greywing lines, and this year he has produced some promising-looking examples of each variety
Plus lots more, including Alderton's Observations, Old Bird, Ask the Expert and Book Review