Covid 19 restrictions have made it impossible to organise live regional meetings, which makes interaction with the members more difficult. That’s annoying. Especially at a time when the Society is experiencing difficult times in administrative terms, as is the case right now. What, in situations like this, is the mandate in relation to sometimes far-reaching decision-making, one might wonder. On the other hand, putting the Society completely ‘on hold’ is not very helpful either. By the way, it’s also justified to question the mandate for decision-making when we do have the opportunity to organise meetings. On average, regional meetings are visited by a total of about 200 members. This is only a fraction more than one percent of the entire member base. According to some, this showcases that the members no longer feel involved with the Studbook. I don’t believe that.
After all, this fits the general trend that attendance at annual meetings of associations and clubs is very low nowadays, as opposed to bygone days. I can more or less predict which ten, at most, members (out of 500) will be present at a meeting of my local football club. Where meetings used to be the hub of social life and the place for exchanging news, that’s hardly the case these days. Newsgathering is done via different channels anyway. Besides, the general meetings of the KFPS in the ‘good old days’ also barely attracted more than 100 interested individuals.
Yet, it is important for members to have their voices heard when it comes to policy development and decision-making, and for that the KFPS organisation increasingly makes use of surveys. We actually initiated this practice in 2019 with a survey about, for one, the breeding goal. This was followed up by four discussion evenings at several locations in the country. The findings formed the basis for a new phrasing of the breeding goal by the Breeding Council, which was supposed to be open for debate at this year’s regional meetings.
There was a massive response (over 2600) this year to the survey about how to stimulate breeding. The same happened with the survey about the latest inspection season and particularly the inspections on location (a quarter of respondents). By far the biggest response was for the Model Mare of the Year Election. So far we have received over 4000 reactions. So let’s not worry about involvement. ‘Tiden hawwe tiden’, we say in Fryslân: the democratic process has to adjust and move with the changing times.
Ids Hellinga, KFPS Director