In the cold light of the economic dawn of 2003, with fears of recession, further falls in world stockmarkets and of war in the Middle East, many of us reflect on the "good old days" of the 1980's and 1990's and wonder how we can retain any control over the future of our own financial affairs. Investments have recently proved to be something of a lottery with property prices soaring while shares, interest rates, pensions and other investments plummet. For many, static incomes have to be spread over ever-increasing costs while surpluses dwindle. What is true of any household is equally true of any business or association, not least WPSA.
Shrewd investments by previous officeholders of this Branch have ensured that we remain in a strong financial position. It is remarkable that, with an Individual Membership fee of only £20 per year, we are able to spend around £50 per member on running the Branch, servicing the membership and on student support, and still have an annual surplus to invest. But we must now ask ourselves how long this situation can be maintained and what we all, as custodians of the charitable status of the Branch, should do now in order to secure its future? Three options immediately present themselves: cutting costs, raising membership fees or increasing membership numbers. Of the three, the last is obviously the softest option and the one which many would support. 30 years ago, the UK Branch had 550 members, reducing to 400 over the next ten years and to something over 300 ten years ago, still remaining at about this level. We all know that the poultry industry, along with its scientific, technical and educational base, continues to decline, but I am equally sure that we all know of many individuals out there who are not members of WPSA......... and who should be! Membership is cheap, joining is easy and the benefits are significant, so let's make it our business in 2003 to get new members. Application forms are on the website or available from the Secretary email@example.com. Why not do it now?
Seeking unilaterally to pre-empt the Review of EU Council Directive 99/74/EC due in 2005, DEFRA is seeking views from all interested parties on a possible ban on the use of enriched cages for laying hens in England (but not in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland to whom such powers have been devolved!) The effect of such a ban, taken together with the existing measures in the Directive, would have the effect of abolishing cages altogether by 2012, English egg production remaining only in barn/perchery and free range systems.