WHY DO THEY do it? I’m not talking about parrots screaming (see our cover story on page 14 of the March 20 issue), but about birdkeeping organisations mucking their members about. In the February 13 issue, Italian canary man Antonio Petraroli wrote about a wheeze dreamed up by his national birdkeeping association, the FOI, to put the skids under shows that dared to be a bit different. So the famous annual Bologna event, which invites the judges it likes from the British Isles and Low Countries, has been told to mend its ways, or else. Since Mr Petraroli’s article, urgent discussions have occurred behind the scenes. So can we expect some good news, along the lines of “live and

Er, no. Here’s what Mr Petraroli told me the other day: “Things with FOI are getting worse and we have decided that for this year, as a sign of protest, we will not do the Bologna show. If there will not be a change, my proposal to the executive of Bologna is to create an exhibition outside the FOI, self-managed by the clubs and with a really specialised judgment. I will keep you updated. “We will hold a big meeting with all the FOI associations (240 presidents of the associations) in Chianciano Terme on April 7, where we from Bologna will present a motion of no confidence in the president of the FOI and his executive.”

So a top-class show is canned and a dedicated group of fanciers prepare to cut loose from their national federation because they are being banned from doing what they got together to do in the first place. C&AB has no quarrel with the FOI, whose excellent journal I have just been reading. But here they are, putting their internal corporate interests ahead of their members’ interests. Why do organisations get all self-important like this? As an East End mate of mine would say (of screaming parrots, for example): “They car nelp themselves.”

■ At last – a demi-daft press release, after months of drought. Jonathan Radcliffe of CCTV.co.uk (aha!) warns C&AB that dog theft is on the rise, and that fashionable crossbreeds are especially in demand by discerning crims: he singles out the cockapoo and the puggle. I’ve emailed to ask whether our readers should be sweating about their own rare crossbreeds such as the Bengaligar or the Glorwich canary. No response just yet.
Have a great week with your birds!