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So what is your BRC doing for you and the fancy?

The pandemic has been a testing time for everyone, and the BRC has indeed felt this.  We are aware that some elements of the membership have felt a lack of communication at times and the ability to try and continue our business using some IT platforms has been a challenge, but one that we are working on.

We have made regular statements, tried to give guidance on resumption of shows etc within government guidelines and restrictions.  We have several sub committees that have remained relatively active, and we continually welcome new members to come forward with their ideas on the fancy and how things can improve, even if you can only dedicate a short period of your time.  Despite constant appeals the outcome has been one person coming forward throughout the whole period.   We actively encourage people to join the sub-committees, and any ideas or feedback to be given in the formal routes either into for the attention of the Governing Body, or to myself or the chair of the relevant sub-committee.

We are aware that the work of the BRC is sometimes not as well publicised as it could be, and therefore the members sometimes feel they aren’t getting value for money or things are not progressing.   So to give you a further insight into the world of the BRC & its sub committees here is some of the items currently being worked on by the BRC.

The COVID19 pandemic has been a significant crisis for the entire world, and how we recover from that is critical.  For the BRC, whilst 2020 finances look healthy the 2021 finances will be significantly different as we defer much of last years show licence fees and other costs into 2021 and therefore the revenue will not be present in 2021.  Thankfully the BRC reserves are there to help us through the turbulent time but without a number of factors they can only support us to a degree.

So the Governing Body is presently overseeing several strands of work through its sub committees and its own members to help us try and rebuild our fancy and stabilise for the future.

Policy & Planning Committee is chaired by Simon Whincup The first priority is that of resuming shows, this piece of work has sat under Policy and Planning committee. It is a difficult path to tread as we are very much led by government guidance and not by our own free-will.  Making sure our shows return particularly in the summer months is really crucial as far as government guidance to help protect the future of our clubs and fancy.  Policy and planning committee is meeting regularly and consulting with the GB to ensure that the latest information is being considered and the right moves made to get shows back again.  We remain ever hopeful that the resumption of shows in 2021 will occur albeit on a slower and smaller scale than we are usually used to.  It is sad that many clubs and societies may well no longer be viable as a result of the COVID pandemic, but the BRC will work it’s hardest to try and ensure shows can operate in a new world.

Futures Steering Committee. We have already discussed our finances, and as we consider those, we also consider what the BRC’s future looks like.  To that end in November the GB commissioned a piece of work to review the business operating model and future plan of the BRC.  There is now a small working group formed which will be consulting far and wide over the next twelve months which is looking at: What is the BRC about and what is it offering members? How is it trying to attract new members and from where? How can it retain people within the hobby? How can people engage with/contact the BRC? What will our staffing and technology need to look like in the future?  How can we utilize our estate more effectively?

The BRC will always mainly be about the governing of rabbit shows in the UK, but as the UK diversifies in it’s love of rabbits the BRC needs to explore how to build and attract from the pet world, house rabbits and even how do we build links with and engage with the commercial sector as is commonly seen in USA and Europe.   We are also exploring how we engage, educate and evaluate feedback with existing membership and societies.  This is no small piece of work, but we’re sure it will deliver a sound plan for the BRC for the future, taking on board new future ideas whilst also trying to maintain and preserve the history of what has built the rabbit fancy so far.

Publicity and Marketing. Chaired by Chris Baker, are busy working away building our online footprint, looking at other countries & how they market their Fancy  and looking at ways to  making us more attractive attractive, and our affiliated organisations, to the public.  Showing the positive side of the BRC and the showing world.  It’s really crucial that we maximise the online world in the future in order that we can make greater gains in that world in the future for the benefit of our hobby.  There is some great work being undertaken by the P&M committee as well looking at what is the offer to the pet market from the BRC and how can we attract future fanciers & tap in to that world.

Breed Standards Committee Chaired by Derek Medlock, have been very busy throughout most of 2020 preparing the new 2021 breed standards book, and also the new 2021-2025 colour breed standards book.  Whilst they haven’t been able to physically meet there are a number of breed in developments that they will be progressing once we resume shows etc.  The tireless work that Derek and his team do is fantastic in the advancement of the breed custodianship.

Judging Sub-committee, Policy and Planning’s judges subcommittee is nearing the finalisation of its proposal for the new judges scheme which has been in development for about two years now following a proposal a few years ago from Policy and Planning to the GB on how we could deliver and run a more structured and educational based judging programme for accrediting judges.  The judges system has been an ongoing piece of work for the BRC and one that we have to get right and bring more structure to for the future. We will work with breed clubs once we have a more finalised system.

Animal Health and Welfare Chaired by Hazel Elliott are still working on monitoring and helping us understand the development of RHD.  They are also working with other organisations to help develop and have the right input into legislation and proposals for legislation on the keeping of rabbits as pets or domestic exhibition animals.  The GB are hoping to commence a relationship with DEFRA which will help us get influence and set some clearer guidance on housing requirements for rabbits that are for exhibition purposes.

So as you can see there is a lot going on in the BRC at the moment, and behind the doors or Purefoy House, although mainly virtually at the moment we are working continuously to try and revive the fancy ready for when restrictions start to lift and we return to the new normal post COVID19.

If you require further information or feel you could contribute to any of the above please get in touch.

The Governing Body of the BRC

GB Update 11 February 2021

We are very much aware that many fanciers are unsure of the future of shows & indeed our fancy. The BRC recently met on 6th February in the routine governing body meeting, the discussion regarding the resumption of shows was a significant point. The BRC GB will reconvene in an extraordinary meeting shortly after the Prime Minister and devolved governments have announced on the 22nd February their intended roadmap to easing restrictions. From this extraordinary meeting we will seek to set out the latest position on the resumption of shows and the guidance that is required for societies to begin operating. Our guidance will be very much led by the governments advice. We recognise that for some societies this guidance will have came to late as a lot of agricultural shows have decided not to hold shows in the first half of this year & for a lot of clubs it could mean limited to no shows in 2021, but as far as possible we remain optimistic that we may be able to achieve some events in 2021. We are conscious however of the risks that may still exist to some vulnerable groups despite the vaccine programme and the impact that may have on people's willingness to attend events. Please be assured the BRC is working round the clock to try and build a recovery plan for the fancy as a result of the COVID19 pandemic and more detail will follow in the near future. We are also working with our 4* and 5* shows due to the unique nature of the requirements of show support for such events to try and build a working guidance that will see them return in some form.

The Governing Body

09 December 2020

Notice Regarding the Office during the Governments Lock Down

The BRC office will be closed until further notice dependant on Government Guidelines.

Jackie will be working from home during this time. Normal procedures apply.

If you require rings, membership or assistance with another matter please email or call 01636 676042 or mobile: 07484 093707 between 9-5 Monday to Friday. The Website shop is open as normal.

We thank you all for your cooperation at this time.

Denise Laidlow
Chair to the GB

05 November 2020

The BRC office will be closed for the next Four weeks following Government Guidelines.

If you require rings, membership or anything else during this time please email or call 07484 093707 between 9-5 Monday to Friday.

We thank you all for your cooperation at this time.

Denise Laidlow
Chair to the GB

27 August 2020

Response To Criticism Statement Regarding COVID-19

The BRC Governing Body has been under constant criticism from the fancy during the current pandemic & we would like to clarify the following:

During the Pandemic, the GB has followed world new & specialist’s predictions & tried to use this & government information to base the operations of the society on this in these unprecedented times. We have issued a statement in Fur & Feather every Month.

We could have been like the Cavy Club and had stopped shows for the year, but we took into consideration the fanciers, with probably an even split on those who wanted shows this year & those who did not. The GB felt we were not a dictatorship & when safe, it was up to the fanciers & secretaries as to if & when they wanted to attend/run shows.

In the June issue of Fur & Feather we published guidelines for any secretary wanting to hold a show although we have always maintained as long as social distancing was in place no BRC show support would be given, which would mean no insurance.  The biggest hurdle in the beginning was getting rabbits into the  hall & stewarding them.

Each individual hall has its own guidance & rules for events in its venue & these rules could be restricting clubs for future shows. A large amount of venues are not allowing the hire of the kitchen facilities. The Government guidelines on gatherings up to 30 people most certainly will. Clubs rely on the revenue from kitchens & raffles to make a show viable, cover rental & some shows rely on stock shows. The biggest hurdle for most clubs pre COVID was help & post COVID more volunteers will be required to assist with regulations within venues. Venue sizes along with regulations may restrict the amount of stock shows. No Committee is going to run a show if they cannot make it financially viable or if  they cannot get the help they need to run a show. Have you contacted your local secretary to offer your services or perhaps have a skill that could be beneficial to the cub ie: Health & Safety or cooking/baking or just a bit of time to assist in putting up pens or cleaning up at the end of a show.

Horse shows are now going ahead but they are outside. No dog, cat or poultry shows are currently taking place.

We believe by the end of October beginning of November social distancing will,  according to government guidelines be abolished & we will be taking show supports for November, dependant on guidelines given by the Four governing bodies for the UK. We will also be relaxing the 3 month rule on show supports & cancelling if the governments guidelines do not change.  There is a generic method statement & risk assessment which clubs can use if they require or if an exhibitor wants to know what to expect at shows that will be available in the members area as a PDF in the next few days.

There are a lot of members out there & some with some excellent ideas. Have you thought about getting involved & joining a sub committee, such as Policy & Planning and Publicity & marketing? You can contact either the Chair or the Office for details? You could contribute towards  and develop a specific area or topic under development. Once complete, step away this does not need to be a permanent co-opt  

Denise Laidlow
Chair to The Governing Body of The British Rabbit Council
Secretary to:
National Miniature Lop Rabbit Club
Scottish Rabbit Club
Northumberland County Show - Rabbit Section
Border Union Agricultural Show - Rabbit Section

24 August 2020

Statement from the Governing Body of the British Rabbit Council

The office has now been open since the middle of July & are caught up now with all ring & new memberships.

Rings may be ordered by PayPal or website Or phone. The office is open Wednesday to Friday with rings being sent out on a Wednesday.

We thank you all for your patience & support during these unprecedented times.

An update on shows will be issued in due course.

D Laidlow
Chair to The British Rabbit Council

Welcome to the Official website of The British Rabbit Council

Our Mission Statement

"To protect, further and co-ordinate the interests of all British rabbit breeders; to assist and extend the exhibition rabbits, to influence, advise and co-operate with central and local authorities, departments, education and other committees and schools in promoting the extension of the breeding of rabbits, and to promote and encourage education and research of a scientific and/or practical nature for the welfare and benefit of the rabbit."

Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease

The BRC strongly recommend that members vaccinate against the RHD2 virus.There are new outbreaks being reported both in exhibition studs and pets, vaccination will help to prevent the spread and contain this deadly virus. The most economic way to acquire vaccine is to ask your vet to import multi dose vials directly from France or Spain. This can be done using the same license they need for the single dose vials from the wholesaler. We are happy to provide information directly to any practice.

Read more...What should I do if I suspect a possible VHD outbreak 🔗 and Advice for Pet Owners.and RHD Update 🔗

Letter from...Veterinary Medicines Directorate Enforcement Team regarding Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2013 🔗

Interested in joining The British Rabbit Council

As a member of the BRC you will receive the following:

Articles of Constitution & Rules Book; Breed Standards Book and the BRC Year Book.

The membership also enables you to exhibit rabbits at a BRC Star Show and Join National/Area/Local BRC Clubs.

How to Join 🔗

Breed Standards Book Fur & Feather Magazine The BRC Calendar

The Beginning

Rabbits have been around for a very long time - they were introduced by the Normans! The showing and exhibition of rabbits - known as "The Fancy" - started more than 200 years ago! By the middle of the nineteenth century there were many Local Clubs which had formed with the objective of holding regular shows for their Fanciers to enjoy. By the end of the 1800's Specialist Clubs had formed who were devoted to the improvement of individual breeds of rabbit. This structure still exists today with The Fancy still going strong, the number of recognised breeds steadily increased up to the beginning of the 1914-18 war but all of them were 'Fancy Breeds' with just two 'Fur Breeds'. During war time rabbit keeping was enjoying popularity and, coupled with the improved travel available, it meant that many Fanciers went overseas and saw many new breeds - not known in Great Britain - which had been developed.

Today there are over 50 recognised breeds and over 500 varieties! By the end of the 1914-18 war the most important Fur rabbit was the Beveren. This inevitably led a group of Beveren breeders in May 1918 to set up, in Birmingham, a new National Club called The Beveren Club. In the words of its seventeen founders, it was established "in an endeavour to raise the dignity and status of rabbit breeding with the best fur breeds."

Today, The British Rabbit Council continues to raise the profile and status of rabbit breeding. As new breeds were developed during the 1920's, they were standardised and adopted by The Beveren Club until the society had become a general fur breed club. To recognise its new status, it had two name changes, first to the British Fur Rabbit Society and then later to the to The British Rabbit Society. By 1928 the Society had 13 different fur breeds under its jurisdiction. It also managed its individual members, a number of Clubs and Agricultural Societies. However, things were happening in the rabbit world! There was at this time great deal of interest in Angora wool production and attempts were made to found an Angora wool testing centre. Although this idea was backed by a number of influential people, not only in the rabbit world but in the agricultural and scientific worlds, the idea was eventually abandoned. However, the meetings held did give rise to a new national organisation for rabbit breeders with the resounding title of......
The National Rabbit Council of Great Britain and her Dominions. Like The British Rabbit Society already in existence, this organisation became a forerunner to today's British Rabbit Council. The new organisation grew very rapidly but strife developed between the two national bodies. This eventually led, in 1934, to the two organisations merging with approval from all sections of the rabbit world and the affiliated societies.

The British Rabbit Council was born!

There had always been a need for the permanent identification of rabbits with the numbers being registered with a central organisation. A scheme was started in the late 1920's when the British Rabbit Society arranged for the formation of a National Rabbit Marking Council. This Council carried out a ringing scheme for a number of years but in 1938 The British Rabbit Council took over the ringing scheme with Fur & Feather handling the distribution of the rings. This arrangement was not entirely satisfactory and in 1946 the British Rabbit Council took over the whole matter - an arrangement which continues today. Until 1960, the British Rabbit Council was concerned not only with the showing of rabbits but also with the commercial farming of rabbits. The Commercial Rabbit Association was formed for commercial rabbit keepers and this organisation took over responsibility for the rabbit farmers. Today, The British Rabbit Council recognises that the rabbit is an enormously popular domestic animal and Britain's third most popular pet. It is a much loved part of many children's childhood as parents chose a rabbit to help teach their children about responsibility and commitment. The British Rabbit Council has made the decision to encourage the pet owner to join them so they also have access to good advice and that the Council can aid the welfare of the rabbit. The British Rabbit Council's objectives today do not differ too much from the original Beveren Club as the Council "promotes the breeding and showing of rabbits and helps pet owners with the welfare of their rabbits." Throughout its history, The British Rabbit Council has used its influence to help on a number of issues. For example, during the war regulations prevented landlords from prohibiting the keeping of rabbits. After the war, the association was largely responsible for having this particular wartime regulation put into permanent legislation thus insuring that rabbit keeping was not prohibited. Also, when there was considerable transit of rabbits by rail to and from shows, The British Rabbit Council played a large part in getting compensation from the Railways for delayed transit and hence loss of entry fees and rail fares. Other examples include a stock transfer scheme if rabbit breeders lost their entire stud in terrible flooding as they did once on the East Coast; the administration of the bran rationing scheme for the Government after the war; the provision of lecturers for Local Club meetings, and so on.

Today, The British Rabbit Council encourages research into diseases etc. amongst other topical issues. As the role of the rabbit has developed into a popular pet, the British Rabbit Council actively encourages good rabbit keeping amongst pet owners. The Newark Head Office receives many hundreds of letters or calls each month asking for advice or information on an extremely wide variety of topics concerned with the rabbit. These are not confined to individual people but are sometimes from official bodies, Governments or overseas.

In the late 1990's representatives from The British Rabbit Council have attended international conventions to secure the British Rabbit Council's place as a leading European rabbit organisation. Alongside all this extra work, the Council is still the governing body for The Fancy and has established over the years a comprehensive set of Show Rules. Each year approximately 1000 shows take place throughout Great Britain! Today sees a structure of District Advisors who give their time to help people in their regions. These are well respected members of great experience appointed by the Council to give advice locally. At shows, awards are available from the Council. The basis of these is the Challenge Certificate which is awarded to the best rabbit of its particular group.

The 'bible' of rabbit showing is the Breeds Standard Booklet. There is also a library consisting of a considerable number of books relating to the rabbit. It is difficult to sum up an organisation with such a long and interesting history - and bright future -as The British Rabbit Council. One thing, however, is very certain. The British Rabbit Council is made up of its members and exists to help all rabbit breeders and keepers. Most members consider that it is not only a pleasure to be a member but perhaps also a duty which allows him or her to give back a small part of the happiness he or she has gained from the Fancy.

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The British Rabbit Council, Purefoy House, 7 Kirkgate, Newark, Notts. NG24 1AD
01636 676042
Office opening hours Wednesday - Friday 9am - 5pm