I want to post a brief report about the MEFES meeting I attended in Ohio this weekend.
This meeting was originally scheduled in Ohio primarily out of a desire to see if there was any interest among owners of exotic animals other than felines in working together against legislative efforts to get rid of animals. Unfortunately, while there was a good roundtable discussion about the efforts within the cat community in Ohio, nobody attended whose primary interest was other kinds of exotics.
Since the meeting was scheduled, it has come to light that the new FCF board of directors has decided that they want to get rid of branch organizations. (Since MEFES is the only currently existing branch, this is in effect specifically getting rid of MEFES, even though it is presented as a general policy.) The stated reason for the change in policy is that there is some kind of a conflict between the notion of the old style branch organizations and the new program of having regional and state directors. As a member of both FCF and MEFES, I don't understand what the problem is, but the politics of the FCF board are such that the members of MEFES who are also on the FCF board all believed that FCF would dissociate itself from MEFES soon. The MEFES membership present unanimously agreed with the idea of telling FCF "you can't fire us, we quit".
It continues to frustrate me that the exotic cat people (in all the various organizations) continue to be more interested in fighting each other than in fighting against the people who want to see the animals we love extinct.
For anyone reading my journal who's confused: FCF is the Feline Conservation Federation", a national organization dedicated to preserving the wild feline species by any method that works, particularly including responsible private ownership and propagation. I have been a member of FCF for about 5 years now and have had the opportunity to meet many knowledgeable, passionate, and dedicated people, learn a lot, and have a lot of fun through them. MEFES is the Midwest Exotic Feline Educational Society, an organization of mainly Indiana, some Ohio, and a few outside, owners of small exotics and people interested in them. Where FCF concentrates on education and nationwide legislative efforts, MEFES has mainly concentrated on being a support network for local people; the best thing MEFES does is to provide help to people who actually have cats such as getting together for work days to help build cages. Because MEFES is more local (and relatively close to me) and meets four times a year, I have much more social connection with it than with FCF which only meets in real life once a year at the annual convention. And the "legislative efforts to get rid of animals" is the national campaign, spearheaded by the so-called Animal Protection Institute, to start in on the radical agenda of not allowing any human to ever "control" or "exploit" any animal by targeting private citizens who want to own non-domesticated animals. (They can't, at this point, get much traction on legislation that bans pet dogs and cats or makes it illegal to eat animal products, but the people who own exotic cats, reptiles, and non-human primates are a much easier target.) More and more states are legally closed, if you want to own a tiger, or even a serval, bobcat, or one of several popular hybrids of domestic and wild cats such as the Bengal Cat), you can't live in these states. Obviously, the people who want to own these animals are extremely upset about this trend, as are people who don't personally want to own them but understand what's at stake. I'm thinking of posting specifically about this when I'm less tired.