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PostPosted: Fri 01 Dec 2023 6:10 pm
by Peter Butterfield
Reposted from RA Facebook page ...

Firstly, I would like to thank the Dogs Australia Board of Directors for my appointment as Chair of the NRAFT as of Friday 24 November, just one short week ago today.
For anyone who may not know, I have been involved in the sport of Retrieving for 47 years, have served on the Qld State and National RAFT Sub Committees across this time, judged Retrieving Trials and Field Trials, including State and National competitions.

I am going to address a number of issues which have been discussed here on this forum over the past few days in regard to RETRIEVING TRIALS in Australia.
It is important to note that the recent discussion of Rules is in relation to Retrieving Trials alone. Nothing to do with Hunting, or Field Trials. Any comments relating to the needs, or beliefs, or wishes of people who are involved in Field Trials or love their hunting, are irrelevant in this matter.
This sport we play, is just that, a sport. The current competitions held across Australia are, in my opinion, now far from the old idea of simulated duck shooting. The grounds we play on, the conditions, using throwers and cold game and even, in the future, replica game, are a far cry from natural shooting conditions. The properties available for use vary so greatly from State to State, some of you are lucky to have amazing properties to be able to closely replicate shooting scenarios, others not so lucky.
I have been disappointed at the State V State ethos which has been emerging. My hope is that we can overcome this and come together to see Retrieving Trials maintained at whatever level we can in this everchanging world, and even, grow.

To answer a few specific subjects being aired here:
The Dogs Australia BOD, did, in fact, consider the submissions put before it at the latest meeting. Some State RAFT committees did submit their responses to the request of DA regarding the implementation of Replica Game as an OPTION in the Retrieving Rules. Some did not submit anything. Those that did, were considered, along with other mitigating factors currently faced by the Board. Keep in mind that this Board is charged with the oversight of all the Dog Shows and all the many and varied sports across Australia and have a responsibility to all, not just what Retrieving appears to want or need. They also must be aware of changing community expectations and government regulations. DA is raising awareness of the whole range of Pet Dog ownership, Breeding Practices etc and all these things are presented to a handful of VOLUNTEERS who come together from each State to review all their ‘wants’ and have the responsibility to try to address all these matters across Australia.

Like it or not, using euthanised birds to play our sport, is, distasteful to some. Protestors blocking the main streets of capitol cities for hours protesting the treatment of animals is not going to go away. And I believe the posting of photos of our dogs with bloodied birds in their mouths on Social Media which is open for all to see could end up being to our detriment.
I also want to correct the notion that Queensland trailers ‘started this’ latest move. I will not give full details here but late last year an email was sent to DA requesting that ALL ANKC Retrieving cease using game, full stop. It was NOT the Queensland Board. It was refused, but it lit the fire that we now must keep contained as best we can.
My hope is that we can all come together, support each other, continue to play our game in good spirits in whatever format our Retrieving Trialers across Australia feel is right for them.
In my role, I will not tolerate bullying, unsubstantiated accusations, or inappropriate comments or behaviours and will do whatever may be necessary, within the guidelines and rules, to end this behaviour.

So, to anyone who feels they have not been heard, you have. But sometimes the answer has to be no.
I want to encourage all trailers, no matter your level or experience, to know your rights and know the rules. Speak to your State RAFT representatives and make sure they know your thoughts and ideas. I will also be encouraging all RAFT representatives, to be available to your community and to be sure that you are representing them, all of them, and to encourage and support the majority.

I will also encourage everyone to not use Social Media as their platform for any problems or issues. The correct avenue is to go to your RAFT rep and discuss any issues.
There is a process. And that process includes the Secretary of the Board of Directors of Dogs Australia dealing with matters that arise from the DA meeting in a timely manner, all the matters from all of the sports and showing, across Australia. This may mean YOU did not get notified of something when YOU think you should have been.
It has been one short week since my official appointment as RAFT Chair. All NRAFT were notified yesterday, and my plan was to address you all today.
The notice that stared this thread, in my opinion, was out of place, and yes, I know it had already been added to the rules on the web site but did not allow the time for the RAFT members to be contacted or for anyone to officially bring this to the attention of the community. So, I am sorry that people were inflamed by this notice being presented to them without the proper background or necessary information, which is:
Last year Queensland was given a directive to cease using game. This was negotiated and put on hold for 2023 to allow time for rules to be looked at and put in place. This has been going on for a year now and has not been taken lightly or without consultation. It is now an OPTION to use Replica Game in Retrieving Trials, OPTION. Yes, there are things to be managed ongoing, and that will happen. So, again, if you have any questions, ideas, or suggestions, please make sure you address these to your RAFT reps, you can have a voice.
Regards Ron.