The negotiations with The Kennel Club who make the final decision about the re-designation of the breed name (hence the petition is addressed to the KC) and The Deerhound Club who have to bring the request to the KC are ongoing. There are rules and regulations that limit how this can be facilitated.

The petition is attempting to come up with a democratic and legally binding solution within the limitations set by both these interested parties. However it should be noted the club rules as presently constituted do not appear to allow paid up overseas members any voting rights, presumably postal or otherwise.

The choice seems to be between an inclusive postal ballot which apparently is not within the club rules at present or an AGM / EGM show of hands vote which could be for a allowing a ballot, or a ballot vote or name change vote. The club have the choice of location for the vote and an obvious place for an AGM vote would be at the annual breed show.

The club only allows breed shows in Scotland every five years and have recently decided that no breed show can be located north of Edinburgh or if memory serves us correctly south of London. It is difficult therefore to find a location which would allow for a vote to be representative of all the membership which is what is required. However taken the nature of the petition a location in Scotland or within reasonable reach of Scotland would not be an unreasonable request in the future. The same problem exists with committee representation as the location for all meetings is the Oxford area. Of course there are more members in the south so some imbalance is inevitable.

There are then many issues up for discussion and it will take time to move forward. The Support Group may consider putting forward an item for the forthcoming Breed Show AGM simply to clarify some routes for progression - if this is thought necessary, taken that discussions with The Kennel Club are ongoing. It is essential to have clear guidelines before any motion on the way forward would be a possibility.

We take the petition very seriously but we don’t take ourselves so seriously that we didn’t have a good laugh at The Sunday Post article last year on the petition which took the micky out of both the petition and the Scottish Independence Referendum Campaign. After all this paper was a staunch supporter of the NO campaign! However it is important to make clear that while we live in a political world, as did the men behind the formation of the club and the registration of the breed in the late nineteenth century, it does not follow that decisions to be made now or that were made then are or were politically motivated. It is important to state that the current campaign for the re-designation of the breed is not politically motivated.

The decision to register the breed without its historical ties was taken in a world where the name Great Britain reflected the world view of Britain as a colonial power. The breed could have been ‘The Scottish Deerhound’ and the club ‘The Scottish Deerhound Club of Great Britain’ though this name was really superseded in the later twentieth century by the nomenclature United Kingdom. ‘Ireland’ was sometimes added on to ‘Great Britain’ but this was not necessary as both Scotland and Ireland had lost their parliaments in 1707 and 1800 respectively. It wasn’t till the twentieth century that Eire was created as an independent Ireland, separate from Northern Ireland, which remained part of The United Kingdom. The reasons behind the decision to designate the breed as simply Deerhound and the club as The Deerhound Club are complex and need to be understood as far as is possible at this distance in time.

In our opinion, the members have not on the whole been given a balanced view of the petition in the club newsletter as yet. Our petition notice for the Christmas newsletter was undemocratically side-lined. However an interesting article is being republished in the club newsletter from the Sighthound which we had put on our web. It’s for the members to make the decision whether or not they want to take the name change to the KC for approval and they should have relevant information made available to them.

Strategies Summary

  1. To be clear on the rules and regulations so that we know the parameters within which we can successfully operate
  2. To encourage balanced debate for club members and supporters and to ensure their views on the way forward are presented and considered
  3. To have a representative voice on the committee
  4. To win the backing of club members and supporters in the promotion of any proposals to advance the re-designation of the name
  5. To explore all other avenues for the promotion of the re-designation of the name

The Scottish Deerhound Support Group, February 2016