Pedants will, at once, recognise from the position of the apostrophe that this Column is not the work of a single author. Your retiring Chairman John Webster completed his stint with “And so farewell” in the previous edition and has no plans for a comeback. Unfortunately James Kirkwood, who had planned to take over the Chair, decided with regret that this could conflict with his position as Director of the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW). He will however remain on AWSELVA as a valued committee member. David Morton has agreed to return as Chair for one year only. This column has been compiled by both of us (DM and JW).
There have been several changes to the Executive since the last Annual General Meeting was held on 16 December 2004. Greg Dixon, our excellent secretary for the past six years has moved back into general practice where I am sure his patients, if not his clients, will appreciate his sense of humour. We would especially like to thank Greg. for fulfiling his duties so well. Dr Becky Whay has been “pressed” into replacing him. Our Treasurer, Steve Wotton, has in the last year set AWSELVA’s finances on a surer footing by improving our procedure for collecting subscriptions and we are pleased to announce that he will continue to exercise his Terrier qualities. Sue, the ultimate Collie as Newsletter Editor, tries to keep us all in order and on time, and we truly thank her for her persistence and the quality of output. Bill Swann, Director of International Development at the Brooke (formerly the Brooke Hospital for Animals) has kindly agreed to become Vice Chair this year and take over the Chair after 12 months. We (DM and JW) will remain in the background to help (and/or hinder). Finally I (DM) would like to thank John for his guidance and hard work as Chair despite being interrupted by the removal of a semicolon (since we are thinking punctuation).
We are now planning our strategy for future meetings. We envisage two distinct types of meeting:
* Formal AWSELVA Symposia on major, stand-alone, topics: We are making provisional plans for a Symposium on Farm Assurance to be held at the University of Birmingham in September 2005.
* Joint meetings with specialist divisions within BVA and other professional societies such as BSAS. These could take the form of one day or half-day sessions at the annual conferences of societies such as SPVS, BSAS etc. We shall also provide a list of speakers prepared to give talks on various topics that we will circulate to such divisions.
To aid all these future plans we have appointed to the Executive Committee Leisha Hewitt, as Meetings’ Coordinator. Her job will be not only to help with the organisation of these meetings but also to keep up the momentum by generating and soliciting new ideas.
Once again, we must thank all in AWSELVA for their enthusiasm and commitment to our cause. However, it is not sufficient to commit ourselves to AWSELVA alone. To advance our cause, we need some active evangelism. Our proposal to establish lasting links with other professional societies should be a useful step in this direction but it is only one step. We, in AWSELVA, should make it our constant endeavour to keep all the veterinary profession in touch with their sworn constant endeavour to ensure animal welfare; by nagging them into awareness of the problems and guiding their understanding of the solutions.