I am happy to have some good news to report from the Board meeting held the weekend of February 1-2. Although the Board voted to add the pointed and white ORS colors to the bicolor division of the ORS breed, the BCS, Laura McIntrye, stated both publicly and in a private email to me that as long as she remained BCS she would not be using this as a stepping-stone to a pointed ORS class. She also said that she would not be asking the Board to approve any additional pointed colors, even those that do not fall within the CPSH and Siamese breeds. That is welcome news. It means that as long as the ORS BCS position remains unchanged, we can rest assured that our breed remains safe. For a time, at least, we can put our energies into other areas.
We can't, however, simply ignore the reality that the same power inequity that has caused us to devote so much energy to fighting to preserve our breed is still in place. The ORS breed was granted unfettered access to the Siamese breed by the CFA Board years ago, and this has resulted in an unequal situation between the two breeds. The ORS BC has had nothing to lose by attempting to go after championship status for all its pointed cats, as they knew that Siamese breeders could never restrict access to the use of their cats as outcrosses. Until this situation changes we will never fully control the destiny of our breed, but will always be at the mercy of the ORS breed council. And while I am grateful to Laura for her consideration of the wishes of our members, I feel that ultimately it would be in the best interests of the Siamese BC to ask the Board to overturn their decision on grandfathering the use of the Siamese cat as an outcross.
Please don't misconstrue my intent here. I am not advocating that the Siamese BC withdraw the use of our cats from ORS breeders. What I want is a change in the power structure. Siamese breeders should be the ones to control when and if our cats are used as outcrosses. Furthermore, if this had been in our control all along, I don't believe that the issue of showing pointed ORS would have found much traction in the ORS BC. Most ORS breeders still feel that they need to use Siamese cats in their breeding programs. They would not, however, have wanted to trade the right to outcross for a pointed division.
If we controlled the use of our cats as an outcross, it would most probably end the idea of a pointed division of ORS. The Siamese BC could simply vote to end the outcrossing privilege should the ORS BC ever be given a pointed division. It would avoid a repetition of our struggle of the last few years, should Laura decide to resign, and the next BCS has a different agenda for the ORS breed. Any future ORS BCS would have to weigh the potential of losing the Siamese breed as an outcross against the positive gains engendered by a pointed division of ORS. I am considering placing this issue on our ballot in September, even though it would just be advisory to the Board. Meanwhile we have a few months to mull this over and consider this as a possible option. Although our vote on this issue would only be advisory to the Board, this Board has shown a marked willingness to overturn decisions by previous Boards that they felt were holding back the development of a breed. Hopefully, the CFA Board would give as much weight to the desires of the Siamese BC as they have to others.
In other breed news, the Board did not consider either the Peterbald or the Owyhee Bob, the two breeds that stated they used Siamese as an outcross. They did accept the Ragamuffin as a Misc. breed, but as this breed does not use Siamese as an outcross it did not affect us. Peg Johnson has created a schedule for presenting new breeds to the Board that will allow enough time for the affected breed councils to respond, so when these breeds are brought back in the future, we will be able to give a unified response to them. I want to thank all of you who contacted your Board members and voiced your concerns on this issue. The combined voices of the Siamese BC members and those of other affected breeds led directly to these changes.
On other topics, our Breast Cancer Fund is now at $2037.02, thanks to the generous contributions of Betsy Arnold, Anne-Marie Bingham, Alex Brash, Ann Brocklebank, Pat Chapman, Barbara Contrera, Ed Davis, Virginia Hokenstrom, Valere Hull, Austin Turner, Richard Sambol, Debbi Stevenson, Mike & Vicki Franks, and Betty White. We still have a long way to go, however. I also hope that more people will open their hearts and give to this cause. If each BC member could just donate the cost of one show entry we would almost make our goal. Our cats have given so much to us, and this is our chance to give something back to them. We need to raise at least $7,500 in order to get matching funds from the Winn Foundation. I am hopeful that the Breast Cancer Auction site will be up and running shortly, so watch the email list for an announcement. Also, please contact Betty White if you have any ideas of how to reach the general public with our fund raising efforts. The disease of Breast cancer lends itself to a broader audience and we should be able to reach outside the Cat Fancy to raise funding for this effort. Remember, all donations to the Winn Foundation are tax deductible.
We also extend many thanks to Ron DeWilde for the professional and beautiful job he did with the Siamese Breed Booth. Although I was not able to attend the International this year, I understand that everyone who saw the booth was thrilled with it. We all really appreciate all the time and dedication that Ron gave this project, and hope that he will continue to work on it to improve it even further in the future.
For those of you not online, I wanted to let you know that the website has a new home. The address is http://www.siamesebc.org. In order to allow a link to the CFA website, we will be housing the Pedigree Database at http://www.mvable.com/ped-db/search.html. We hope to avail ourselves of the many hits that the CFA website receives, and use our website as an information source for the general public. Hopefully this will help the public to understand the difference between a true Siamese, pointed ORS and the so-called "appleheads". I want to thank both Mary and Mike for all their efforts on behalf of the website. It is great to have it up and running again. Anyone wishing to write an article for the website should contact Mike Franks or Mary Kolencik.
Just a reminder: it's that time again, and you all need to be thinking about the Siamese Breakfast coming up at the June annual. For those of you anticipating an award please be sure to have pictures taken now, so that they will be ready to forward to Mary Kolencik in May. And don't forget the sponsorship program. If you know of a particular cat that is definitely in line to receive an award, you can reserve sponsorship of that cat by contacting Kathy Baron. The awards open for sponsorship are Kitten, Premiership and Championship, places 2-10, all DM awards, and all Color awards. The cost for sponsorship will be $25 for each award. We ran a little short last year, and this amount is calculated to ensure that all costs related to the awards given at the Annual will be covered.
If anyone who lives in Region 6 is interested in helping with this Awards Breakfast, please contact Kathy Baron. Or if anyone else has an idea for improving the Breakfast, please contact Kathy or me.
Also, the LAA committee is still taking nominations for the Lifetime Achievement Award. The committee, composed of Ellyn Honey, Virginia Wheeldon, and Gloria Hoover, will be accepting nominations through March 15th. The qualifications are listed on the website, or you may contact me for a copy. All applications should be mailed to a committee member, or may be sent directly to me, and I will distribute them to the committee.
I hope that everyone will be at the Annual this year to join in celebrating our wonderful winners from this past season. From what I have seen of the pictures of the kittens shown this year, it looks like we have some really outstanding examples of our breed again. It should be an exciting Breakfast!!
Also, as we begin planning for this year's Breakfast, I would like to know if the Breed Council would be interested in having a guest speaker on one or more of the diseases that have been found in our breed, such as Breast Cancer, Cardiomyopathy, or Amyliodosis. And if you were interested in this topic, would you also like to try and procure a specialist in one of these fields? This may involve raising funds to cover a speaking fee, or travel expenses, but I think it may be worth it to have a recognized feline specialist in one of these diseases share his/her expertise with us. Please give me some feedback so that I will know whether or not to look into finding someone who meets the above criteria. And if anyone knows of a feline veterinarian specialist or researcher who lives in the St. Louis area, please contact me with that information also.
Thanks, and I hope that we will see all of you in St. Louis.
Debbi Stevenson, BCS
4 Byard Street
Johnstown, NY 12095
518-762-1465, fax: 762-1406