Does the RSPCA think it’s the FBI?

The once-cuddly animal charity seems to have become another species altogether

2 February 2013

Imagine what would happen if J. Edgar Hoover, founder of the FBI, were running the RSPCA. It sounds ridiculous, I know. But suspend your disbelief for a second, and suppose that a crusading individual convinced of his destiny to conduct a campaign against wrong-doing had turned the nation’s favourite animal charity into a quasi-official investigations unit, targeting those people and institutions he personally disapproved of.

He might then seek to publicise the most dramatic or controversial cases of animal neglect and cruelty in order to generate headlines. He might, for example, use intelligence gleaned from investigators tracking fox hunters in a particularly genteel part of the country in order to make an example of them, perhaps to revel in the opportunity to describe them as ‘common criminals’.

Such class-oriented campaigns, along with shocking and bloody exposés of the farming and meat industry, would earn popular support for a time because, as we know, Britain is a nation of animal-lovers. We cannot bear cruelty. Politicians, public figures and entire industries would be frightened of this organisation and so would every pensioner who owned a slightly feeble dog or cat. As the tentacles of a moral crusade on behalf of animals spread out, a knock on the door from Hoover’s RSPCA inspectors would become a terrifying thing.

A culture of obedience inside such an organisation could discourage any challenge to this vehement mission. There would be no knowing who would get picked on next. After hunting, these anthropomorphist G-men might come for horse racing. The Grand National could disappear.

Unthinkable? Let’s hope so. Nevertheless, something is going on at the RSPCA, and every insider to whom I have spoken to points to the chief executive, Gavin Grant. A lifelong Liberal Democrat and former PR guru who has worked for the Body Shop, Mr Grant took over a year ago, pledging to make RSPCA finances his main priority. Insiders say he has opted for ‘in your face’ campaigns, generating some of the most lurid headlines seen about the RSPCA in its nearly 200-year history.

Indeed, so lurid are some of these headlines, involving claims which the RSPCA bitterly disputes, one has the feeling that the charity’s philanthropic founder William Wilberforce would turn in his grave.

From accusations of involvement in the shooting of a lorry load of ‘lame’ sheep bound for export, to spending £326,000 of their supporters’ money on prosecuting David Cameron’s local hunt, the RSPCA has been involved in so many controversial cases lately that it stands accused of being an animal rights rather than an animal welfare organisation.

The Charity Commission has intervened and a Commons debate was held this week, with MPs questioning the RSPCA’s prosecution policies. There is anxiety about whether its officers should wear uniforms designed to make them look like police, when in truth they have no more power than I have to knock on your door and demand to see whether your pet cat is being treated for its arthritis. Nor does the charity have any special prosecuting powers, though its attitude would lead you to believe it does.


Dozens of ordinary householders have been convicted, fined and even tagged for offences such as killing squirrels in their gardens, or not arranging adequate veterinary care for a sick pet. Those animal owners who fall foul of the RSPCA include the elderly, sick, bewildered or poor. Some of the prosecutions have been little short of farcical. Householders who kill garden pests have been convicted on the basis that the only humane way to dispatch a squirrel is to take it to the vets for a £70 lethal injection. Worse, there is a growing suspicion that not all RSPCA evidence of cruelty is what it seems. The grisly pictures of dead sheep allegedly put out of their misery at the port of Ramsgate last September have led some veterinary experts to question how the RSPCA and Defra agents managed to get blood spattered up walls when destroying the animals by captive bolt gun which should not have produced much blood at all. Perhaps this is paranoia, but it shows how deeply suspicious some animal experts have become of this once-respected body. Suspicion is rife about its motives in the countryside.

A strong bias against farming and country sports runs through many campaigns, according to the Countryside Alliance. But Mr Grant, a seasoned media operator who was director of campaigns and communication at the RSPCA in the 1980s, may not be put off by the furore.

Buoyed by the success of his prosecution of the Heythrop hunt, I am reliably informed, he has set his sights on the racing industry next. ‘His modus operandi for these big campaigns is to target high-profile events and people,’ a well-placed veterinary expert told me. ‘So you won’t see him having a go at Badminton, where horses also get injured, because it’s not a household event. He will go for the Grand National because the entire country watches it.’

He added: ‘No one dare speak out against him. There is a culture of fear at their headquarters. He’s very evasive on TV and people who know him say he’s convinced he’s right.’

After last year’s National, in which two horses died, Mr Grant was incandescent. He blogged: ‘As the winning owner whooped, a cold fury welled-up [sic] in me. The National has to change or die.’

Racing officials are so worried about being targeted by the RSPCA that they have rebuilt three fences ahead of this year’s event, with plastic rather than timber interiors, which will be more forgiving on the horses’ legs. They are in negotiations with the RSPCA over further possible changes, including making the fences smaller and getting rid of the famous drops and ditches. The unrealistic goal of Mr Grant seems to be that no racehorse should ever be injured. He wants fewer runners and no Becher’s, which would effectively end the race’s distinct character because, of course, the element of danger and courage is what it is all about. It won’t make the race safe anyway, because, as every horse-owner knows, you could not guarantee a thoroughbred would remain uninjured even if you confined it to a paddock, wrapped in cotton wool.

But senior figures in the racing industry say they are so nervous of Mr Grant’s organisation that they will not speak out about what is happening. They hope that if they keep the issue quiet, he will leave them alone. One racing industry insider told me: ‘Gavin Grant is driving all of this, he’s very powerful and nobody dare question him.’ He felt that ‘the comparison to Hoover has some truth in it’.

‘Everyone in the racing industry is just hoping we can work with the RSPCA and preserve racing. It sounds cowardly, but what choice do we have? If we fight them, it looks like the rich boys of racing are picking a fight with the angels.’

This, of course, is the problem. The public have traditionally wholeheartedly supported the RSPCA, regarding them as the good guys. Many people believe they have official powers of arrest and prosecution, not least because they put their officers in uniform with rank names and insignia similar to those of the police. Many people also mistakenly believe the RSPCA can search property. And while they can bring private prosecutions, so can any member of the public.

But if the RSPCA regards itself as a kind of countryside FBI, it is perhaps not surprising that people might believe it. In 2011, it secured convictions in more than 3,000 ‘cruelty’ cases, at a cost of £8.7 million. Barrister Jonathan Rich, who defended some of those accused, reportedly described the charity as ‘an officious, sub-standard, pretend police force’. Unlike the actual police, this is a force over which no elected representative has any control, making it largely unaccountable. It is not entirely uncontrollable, however.

The Charity Commission has now intervened and told Mr Grant in a letter this week that his trustees must review the charity’s prosecution policies, ‘given the amount of adverse publicity and the allegations of political bias’ that resulted from the Heythrop case. There are signs, too, that public opinion is souring, especially after recent reports that the RSPCA now destroys 44 per cent of the animals it rescues, totalling 53,000 a year, and rehouses 10,000 fewer animals a year than it used to. This month, a YouGov ‘buzz’ poll, tracing how well organisations are regarded, found that after the Heythrop prosecution, the charity went from a positive score of 8.7 down to minus 0.1 amid concerns that they are using donors’ money for political campaigns.

People are waking up to the fact that the once-cuddly RSPCA is becoming quite militant. Take RSPCA council member Dr Richard Ryder, for example. He was director of the Political Animal Lobby, which donated £1 million to the Labour party before the 1997 general election in support of a ban on hunting. Dr Ryder has suggested that animals are morally identical to human beings and should never be used for food or clothing, let alone sport. He thinks people who disagree are guilty of ‘speciesism’, which he compares to racism and -sexism.

The real shame of it is that many RSPCA employees on the ground, in rescue centres and horse sanctuaries, do excellent work. Local branches, however, are increasingly cash-strapped and struggling to answer emergency call-outs to cases of real neglect and suffering, which are on the increase in this recession. It is striking that in 2010 the charity had reserves of £48 million, but has since complained its reserves have been eroded.

MPs say if the RSPCA wants to become a radical, campaigning animal rights group, it should go ahead, but it cannot also be the official guardian of animal welfare. Such a group must be impartial and cannot take a position on either side of, for example, the hunting or badger-culling debate. Simon Hart MP, who led a Commons debate this week urging the Attorney General to look at the matter, said: ‘The RSPCA are acting as judge and jury and need to review their prosecution policy. The good animal welfare work they do is being compromised by the animal rights agenda of Gavin Grant and the leadership.’

In a statement, the RSPCA said: ‘Trust in the RSPCA is not low. Indeed we have been overwhelmed with support during the past few weeks when malicious and factually incorrect statements have been made about the Society by those seeking to undermine our work.’

Maybe so. But if Mr Grant does not want to lead a controversial secret police force, perhaps he should get back to re-homing stray cats and dogs.

Gavin Grant in his own words

The Heythrop

— ‘These people are wildlife criminals… The penalties for these offences are too light. I want to see people who organise themselves to go out and abuse animals for pleasure or for profit go to jail… two years? Five years?’

— ‘No different to badger baiters – apart from their accents.’

Hunting in general

— ‘Rightly, those that abuse animals for pleasure and/or for profit will be seen for the common criminals they are.’

The Grand National

— ‘As the winning owner whooped, a cold fury welled- up in me. The National has to change or die. The nation knows and demands it.’

—  ‘Despite safety improvement the Grand National is still too risky for the horses. It’s the unacceptable face of racing.’

The RSPCA — and himself

— ‘We take a zero-tolerance approach to animal cruelty:  mice, hedgehogs, dogs, cats, badgers, cows, sheep, foxes, snakes — we are here to protect all animals.’

— ‘People may seek to intimidate me, and some have… I respect other people’s opinions, but the RSPCA is never going to be intimidated.’

— ‘Anybody who is going out there quite deliberately either for fun or for profit, to break the law and to abuse animals, is clearly an enemy of the animals, and an enemy of the RSPCA, but above all, they’re an enemy of the civilised people of this country.’

For the full RSPCA response, go to new.spectator.co.uk/rspca

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  • chris_xxxx

    Don’t give them money and they change or go out of business.

    • luci_fer

      ..they’re a charity.

      • somecommonsense

        sorry but they are actually a business – in the business of getting donations & spending the money on prosecutions, not looking after animals. The same thing is happening in Australia,Canada, New Zealand & USA

        • Auntiecon

          What the hell do you think prosecutions are all about

        • PattieB123

          The RSPCA spends less than 5p in every £1 donated on the legal costs related to prosecutions. It has a separate fighting fund which has swelled considerably through an increase in donations since the Heythrop prosecution The charity spent £4.7m – about 4 per cent of its income – on 2,000 private prosecutions in 2012 Why dont you do your homework before talking rubbish that will be on the Internet for as long as the World Wide Web is in existence

          • Shy Talk

            Your quoting straight from the Gavin Grant book of spin, using words like considerably doesn’t change facts, considerable support doesn’t equate to something like 50% drop in membership in recent years, and 160k in the fighting fund isn’t a considerable amount when you’ve just spent 320 + K on a prosecution that’s knocked public confidence through the floor, that’s not a Tory, pro hunting newspaper saying that, that’s a bone fide marketing company, Gavin Grant is using political statistics and spin and it doesn’t work any more, we all had enough of that with Labour, statistics, we’ll all know about lies and damn lies.

            As I said before, you know a lot about the RSPCA considering you claim not to work for them, if that’s true, you are just spinning the party line and telling every one they haven’t read the right newspapers so how could they possibly know the truth, the right newspapers being the ones who don’t ask awkward questions of a charity.

            People have done their homework, that’s why they are now asking awkward questions, for a long time questions weren’t raised because RSPCA were a charity, now a line has crossed that people feel isn’t in a charities remit, so rightly so, they are asking the questions, so instead of acting like bullet dodging politicians they should be answering those questions, problem is they have a wannabe politician and media man at the helm who doesn’t do awkward questions, he prefers ignore and spin.

          • PattieB123

            What is it you actually want? Lets say the RSPCA is disbanded and is no more. How will that benefit you? Do you hunt or support the hunt btw?

          • Shy Talk

            If you’d bothered to read previous comments then you wouldn’t have wasted time writing that comment.

          • PattieB123

            I am using words like considerably because they define what I mean. The Charity Commission said the RSPCA had NO CASE to answer. The Tory press are pro hunting, and they have set out to deliberately mislead people by printing smears and lies because the Heythrop hunt was prosecuted. Could you please explain why prosecuting animal abusers has knocked public confidence? The public confidence has been knocked by the Tory press because they have printed lies and smears like this stupid article by Melissa Kite who is herself a hunter. The CPS and the police have said if the RSPCA does not prosecute animal abusers there is no other body in the country who could provide this level of commitment to abused animals. You obviously wish to see the RSPCA destroyed, so I can only assume that you are in favour of animal abuse going unpunished

          • Shy Talk

            The Charity Commission didn’t say No Case to answer, that’s what Gavin Grant said do your home work, and I don’t mean read RSPCA publications.

            Prosecuting abusers hasn’t knocked public confidence, prosecuting the vulnerable, none disclosure of evidence, perjury, turning increasingly to animal rights at the expense of human rights rather than animal welfare is what knocks public confidence, all that is out in there in the public domain if you’d care to look for it.

            Assumption generally reveals a lazy approach to debate, as I said before read the comments, resorting to the standard reply of “You want RSPCA destroyed, you’re a hunter, you’re a Tory” just undermines any points you may have.

          • PattieB123

            I listened to Simon Harts debate in real time and the CC said there is no case to answer. Why don’t you follow your own advice and look up what the CC did actually say, and I don’t mean read it in the Tory rags like this one that attempt to pass for journalism. You are insane,eaten up with hatred for the RSPCA. You say you don’t hunt, well you don’t care about cruelty to animals either. You are one dangerous person because you are ignorant of the facts and yet you spew your bile and perpetuate the smears and the lies. What good do you think this is doing to help suffering animals.? I’m out of this, so knock yourself out having the last word

          • Shy Talk

            Shame you had to resort to insults, but that is what those who dare to question the RSPCA have come to expect, when logic and reason is used, assumptions, insults and accusations are returned.

          • http://www.facebook.com/gill.lucraft Gill Lucraft

            Yes they did. They advised the RSPCA to look into their methods due to the outcry generated by Hart and co but they didn’t say you can’t do this. Try reading the actual letter from the CC to the RSPCA.

          • brainyouwantityoudonthave

            as I said before read the comments, resorting to the standard reply of “You want RSPCA destroyed, you’re a hunter, you’re a Tory” bit like calling people liberals or lefties all the time isn’t it only in the case of quotation above it’s a bit closer to home.

        • brainyouwantityoudonthave

          that’s how they get the job done @somecommondork

    • PattieB123

      Keep prosecuting hunters and taking their money, until they change or cant afford to savage widlife with dogs

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rose-Jay/1511134139 Rose Jay

        It is not just their money it is the Tax Payers who have to fill the public purse, for the RSPCA to spend. They do plead poverty to the Judge or Magistrates and their costs go down as paid by the state. A good account might be able to sort these payments and this is a front page story in itself

  • http://twitter.com/Harry_ca_Nab The Elderking

    No mention of going after the vile halal slaughterhouses though.

    • mrordinary

      How can they go after halal slaughterhouses when the law exempts them from having to stun an animal prior to slaughter? Unfortunately they aren’t breaking the law. As you feel so strongly about the welfare of livestock at slaughter, have you signed the RSPCA’s petition to have CCTV cameras installed in all slaughterhouses?

      • Rose Jay

        And what law is that then the one that Ben Bradshaw passed while at DEFRA. I failed to find the Hansard where it passed through Parliament

      • http://twitter.com/Harry_ca_Nab The Elderking

        Oh, so if it’s legal it shouldn’t be challenged? By that logic hunting shouldn’t have been banned. RSPCA “officers” have no more rights than you or me and certainly no right of entry.

        Halal slaughter is awful. To add to that it is introduced into the food chain without labelling so that people who have ethical, welfare, secular or religious objections are being fed it by stealth. The Government refuses to pass a law on labelling or banning.

        The whole point of campaigning is to change things and sometimes make what is now legal illegal. The RSPCA is silent.

        Just contrast the tiny number of foxes killed before the ban compared with the MILLIONS of animals being tortured to death in Halal slaughterhouses every year.

        • PattieB123

          lol The tiny number of foxes being killed before the ban?? Now someone on this thread has just been shot in the foot. I thought the hunting argument was that they are a vital part of the humane culling of foxes so as to prevent them over running Britain raping women. eating babies and stealing OAPs pension money

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fenris-Wolf/632146939 Fenris Wolf

            The number of foxes in the country is small compared to the number of animals facing religious slaughter.

            The fact is that the majority of those animals would not need to be slaughtered without pre-stunning if the law prohibiting meat that has been slaughtered under the religious exemption from passing into the general food chain.

            If the RSPCA had spent the money they spent on the Heythop prosecution on challenging the government’s failure to enforce the rules governing the religious exemption they would have changed the lives(or rather deaths) of many thousands more animals than the small number that might be affected as a result of the Heythrop case.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rose-Jay/1511134139 Rose Jay

            The timing of your comment was priceless

      • Bernadette Matthews

        Thanks for telling me about the RSPCA petition to have CCTV cameras installed in all slaughterhouses- I have just signed!

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fenris-Wolf/632146939 Fenris Wolf

      The RSPCA could have drastically reduced the number of Halal slaughters if it had used the money it spent on the Heythopr case to force the goverment to obey the law that prevents meat slaughtered under the relitious exemption from passing into the general food chain. See


      • http://twitter.com/Harry_ca_Nab The Elderking

        Thanks for the link. The incompetence and cowardice of government and the RSPCA is amazing. Imagine the uproar if pork or meat stunned and/or blessed by a Christian Priest were being fed unknowingly to Jews and Muslims.

        Something would be done then.

        It only goes to show that the majority British population is held in contempt by the Parliament.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fenris-Wolf/632146939 Fenris Wolf

          Since we discussed this of course exactly that has happened. Muslims have been fed pork in our prisons and non-Muslim shoppers have been fed horse masqerading as beef. All excused under the same cry – it is impossible to track the meat from slaughterhouse to consumer. If that is so then let’s abandon the ludicrous tracking of animals with tags, chips and passports because without combined tracking of meat it is simply an expensive waste of time and money.

      • http://twitter.com/Mayonia Mayonia

        Ferris Wolf, you are living in a dream world.

        • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fenris-Wolf/632146939 Fenris Wolf

          For asking why our food shouldn’t be what it says on the packets? For thinking that people have a right to receive whatever special diet they require? Without contamination?

    • http://twitter.com/Mayonia Mayonia

      I believe the RSPCA does have a view on halal – check it out!

    • NSXGTa nsxgta

      But it’s fine when it’s a Kosher slaughter house?

    • garryq

      Halal slaughter was accepted in German after the Constitutional Court read evidence of EEG scans that showed the animals concerned suffered less pain than those stunned first. Also, read above – so called bolt guns resulted in blood being thrown up the walls, yet this is a supposedly blood and pain free mode of slaughter.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fenris-Wolf/632146939 Fenris Wolf

        The splattered blood was either the result of a staged photoshoot or the RSPCA slaughterer getting it wrong.

  • http://twitter.com/TheRedBladder The Red Bladder

    “Imagine what would happen if J. Edgar Hoover, founder of the FBI, were running the RSPCA” or indeed if Stalin had got his hands on the Woodland Trust, come to that I don’t suppose that Hitler would have been any great shakes at running the Tufty Club. Aren’t there enough daft “what ifs” in the world already without adding to them?

  • Flintshire Ian

    I will no longer give my money to RSPCA tin rattlers but prefer to support local animal rescues who use all of the money to keep animals alive and healthy until they can be found new homes, not spending on executive salaries, pseudo-police and politically driven campaigning. The RSPCA leadership is the worst enemy of those staff on the ground who still do good work.

    • PattieB123

      And will you still be paying your hunt membership fees while you are at it?

      • Flintshire Ian

        I can’t ride, never mind hunt. I am against cruelty to animals in the name of sport. I live in a country village and I have seen the destruction that rural foxes cause to lambs and poultry first hand, but I have also seen from close up just how graceful they are.
        I would support a hunt that chased after urban sabs or Labour Party members instead of foxes though. Even though they would have to be given a massive head start.

        • brainyouwantityoudonthave

          Many more lambs die of exposure etc. Foxes are not and never have been a significant threat to farming. The only people to gain from culling foxes is landowners to keep numbers of game birds up. Chickens are not hard to keep safe. If you cant afford to house them let them run free. Thay have a better chance of escaping foxes if they are not penned in with them.

  • http://twitter.com/RichardCowley1 Richard Cowley

    Wonder what his own track record has been with animals ???

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jonathan-Rich/100000499712185 Jonathan Rich

    There are some even more curious remarks from Gavin Grant on his Twitter feed at @GGrant_RSPCA. My personal favourite, timed at 8.28pm on 12 November 2012 to date (and it was directed at me as many of his Tweets have been) is:
    ‘@joerichlaw As a lawyer you use “innocent” very curiously. I thought that was til “found guilty” as those prosecuted by RSPCA invariably are’
    Perhaps Gavin believes that the “power” of the RSPCA’s very well-remunerated lawyers is now so substantial that no defendant is ever acquitted? If so, he is wrong – even if the RSPCA does claim a “98% success rate” (whatever that may mean).

    • PattieB123

      Sounds like sour grapes to me JR. Dont your cases pay enough then? You could always do what Jim Barrington did and defect to the other camp. One question, Are you in favour of people breaking the law and getting away with it ?

  • granny

    No One in their right mind should be bashing the RSPCA.So that says a lot for those making comments here.RSPCA get laws put in place for good animal welfare,and then have the guts to go after those who break them.Dont abuse animals,you wont get taken to court.There is NO excuse for not looking after animals properly,no matter HOW OLD,help is avaiable. RSPCA are NOT social services, and thats where JOE RICH should direct his anger.THEY should be doing more to help the old and vulnerable.RSPCA will continue to prosecute those who break the law,END OF!!!

    • animalnut

      I beg to differ, look at the case of the elderly lady who couldn’t bear the thought of having her dog put to sleep. Instead of gently explaining and helping her, the RSPCA took her to court and she even got tagged for heavens sake. Where is the compassion in that.? Why was it necessary to drag this lady through court and have her splashed all over the Press just for a cheap publicity shot.?

      • Rose Jay

        Oh Granny no response, back at work in your white van??

        • granny

          I assume you think i work for the RSPCA?,Well do they imploy 70year olds!I Public support is HUGE for them and thats what gets your goat,GET A LIFE and stop whinging.

          • Rose Jay

            I don’t have a life always trying to find homes for strays that the RSPCA stopped taking in during 2010, they said they could not afford to anymore. Thus leaving it to the unfunded rescues that spend their own had earned cash on saving animal lives.

          • granny

            and a very good job you are doing,thank you.RSPCA and others fund programes for owners to get their pets spayed /neutered,as well as educating and trying to put an end to indescriminate breeding of animals when so many are on the streets and unwanted.

          • Rose Jay

            You missed and their pension pound

          • PattieB123

            Why does NO ONE mention the feckless b******s who abandon animals in the first place? Animal cruelty is on the rise, what would you have the RSPCA do with the millons of animals that are cast aside like so much trash. You cannot have it both ways, if they kill the animals they are wrong, and they dont have the space to accomodate every stray

          • Fergus Pickering

            But I gather that public support is dwindling. Or are those just Tory foxhunters’ lies?.

      • granny

        Noresponse, because i find it unbelievable that anyone has the time for this garbidge.Little old ladies in my mind (as i am one, and do not have a white van)are no different to anyone else,if they dont look after their animals they deserve no special treatment.I have just come back from the vet actaully with my own dog who has just cost me £500 in vets fees,which i will gladly pay so i dont have to see her suffering.No matter what it takes i will be there for her and the RSPCA!!

        • animalnut

          I do hope the RSPCA never storm in and wrench your dog out of your arms when it is old., nor prosecute you nor tag you. Don’t be too complacent, they are not picky on who gets prosecuted as long as there is publicity in it. You really have no compassion at all do you.?

          • granny

            Im sure they will not thank you.i look after my pets and when i am no longer able to do that i will rehome them thank you.As for compasion NO!! I have NO compassion for those who abuse animals!!

          • somecommonsense

            I just hope you are not put in the position , through ill health , accident,or financial distress, of not being able to adequately care for your pets- because you just might find RSPCA on your door thanks to a well meaning, but very nosy, neighbour – especially if they have experienced your vitriolic diatribe.There is an old saying that my old Gran used to use – “there but for the grace of God go I”.
            I find it interesting that so many so called”Pro RSPCA” people are very aggressive & intolerant of others.

          • PattieB123

            The clue is in the wording, the PCA part stands for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. This is not the preservation society for people who cannot adequately care for their pets. Its about preventing suffering, and if animals are suffering because the owner is ill or debilitated, then it is right that the animals are not left to suffer. That an old lady is sweet and loves her dog is not a reason for that dog to left with her if she can no longer adequately care for him. I think truly sweet old ladies would be the first people to realise this and make other arrangements. You over simplify and you seek to sensationalise when you talk about RSPCA wresting animals from the arms of benign old ladies. You know nothing of the cases other than the spin and smears in the pro hunting press.

    • Shy Talk

      Like Gavin Grant, his supporters are dodging the real issue of the debate, that of RSPCA prosecutions and lack of real safe guards in their behaviour
      whilst doing so, for example, prosecuting a pensioner for not putting
      her elderly dog down soon enough, turning
      up at some ones door, telling them they had a warrant which was issued
      the day after the visit, coaching a vet in a cruelty case which was
      later thrown out, because it was shown the vet had admitted he hadn’t
      examined the dog.

      The other issue is that any one who questions the RSPCA are immediately
      branded a vile, fox hunting, posh Tory, or a supporter of animal abuse
      in general, it’s not black and white, many with in the RSPCA do
      fantastic work, the real problem is the increasingly militant road Grant
      and the others with at the top are taking the charity, so if people who
      in the past or present have been RSPCA supporters question them, is it
      right they should be turned on in the same manner defendants are turned
      on by the RSPCA, names given out before trials, presumed guilty before

      The RSPCA’s reputation has taken in a tumble months in recent months as measured by independent auditors, it’s membership is a fraction of what it once was, donations are falling too, it’s no good spouting how much support the RSPCA enjoy, the reality is it doesn’t, and those core problems should be addressed.

      Gavin Grant seems set on alienating even more sections of society, I believe his next target is horse racing, and why not, I don’t disagree with any one who wants to improve animal welfare, but there are measured ways to do this.

      Incidentally before any one wants to call me a vile a Tory hunter, I’ve never hunted, I’m not a Tory, and I say prosecute the law breakers sensibly.

      • granny

        some good points, i have no argument with you.

      • Fattybumbum21

        I do hope the RSPCA targets the Grand National and greyhound racing (in particular their dreadful indiscriminately killing large numbers of greyhounds when lost usefulness including use of bolt guns) but you are right there are ways of pursuing action without alienating not just sections of society but with existing supporters.

        I too have been branded a Tory and fox hunter, or the other one batted about member of CA even though never followed, supported or taken part in any of them, against fox hunting, badger cull (vaccination please) and want tougher animal cruelty sentences. The reason for this branding, as I was upset to learn that a charity I have supported for many years & continue to support (financially, helping campaigns & volunteering) PTS healthy animals sometimes with a bolt gun, expressed my upset over their rather slow response to those poor horses suffering in Gloucestershire, & their HQs failing to support the financially stricken Preston rehoming centre. I asked these question to RSPCA_OFFICIAL & to inspectors to gather more facts rather than make rash decisions over continued support through just media reported info and emotive tweets from both sides of argument so I could make informed decisions (still continue to support even though are problems). I should be allowed to ask RSPCA these questions without suffering abuse by its more radical supporter who seem to accept PTS healthy animals is ok (personally I abhor this equally to fox hunting)

        I want the RSPCA to continue its great work & animals would be even more dire situation than they are in now if the RSPCA woud ever fold. but all I want is for some of the problems within the charity (you have to admit they are not without faults) that me & some supporters, former supporters are wanting either be given due consideration & maybe a shift in policy. I.e I do like the fact one of the five pledges RSPCA have made is reduce numbers of healthy animals PTS – this is area is what upsets me about the RSPCA but if they do improve then I would be happier.

      • http://twitter.com/Mayonia Mayonia

        So, how would you bring attention to animal cruelty and to people who break the animal cruelty laws?

        • Shy Talk

          Not by releasing names and alleged offences of people before they got to court, this invites trial by the masses who invariably do not have the full details or circumstances of the alleged offences, it’s well documented that the RSPCA in doing so invite the attention and ire of animal activists at people who, in the view of English law, are innocent until proven guilty.

          Gavin Grants comment, posted below by Jonathan Rich and pasted here by me is very revealing.

          ‘@joerichlaw As a lawyer you use “innocent” very curiously. I thought that was til “found guilty” as those prosecuted by RSPCA invariably are’

          I believe this demonstrates the way the RSPCA works, if some one is accused of an animal welfare offence, then they are guilty in their view until proven innocent, and there are documented cases of the RSPCA cases being thrown out because the evidence has been made to fit the offence, and one case I’m aware of, where the case was thrown out simply because the evidence did not exist.

          That is dangerous ground to be on in terms of human rights, and could be said to show that the RSPCA are in fact an animal rights organisation rather than an animal welfare organisation, indeed in the past an RSPCA official has said on record that they will ignore human rights over animal rights, not too hard to find if you want to Google it.

          The RSPCA proudly tell us they follow CPS guidelines during prosecutions, unfortunately that statement is not borne out by the cases in the headlines where there would seem to be no public interest in prosecuting vulnerable or misguided people.

          • PattieB123

            You must be discerning when reading ‘headlines’. Haven’t you
            realised yet that all you read, especially in the Tory press, is usually
            subjected to spin? The recent successful prosecution of the Heythrop hunt has been accompanied by a flurry of dirty tricks from Countryside Alliance supporters. These tricks have ranged from downright lies about the CC admonishing the RSPCA for spending a large sum in the prosecution, to setting up bogus FaceBook pages
            claiming all sorts of dirty doings by the RSPCA. The Charity Commission has stated several times that the RSPCA have no case to answer. When Simon Hart MP and hunting enthusiast, found that the CC were not in for bashing the RSPCA, he then went after them, and called for a debate in Parliament. I strongly suggest if you haven’t seen it already, that you watch the footage of that debate, and take note of the comments from anti-hunting supporters. Especially Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton Pavilion, who explained clearly what the RSPCA does, and the valuable role they have to play in preventing domestic and wildlife abuse. Pro hunt
            supporters have been pouring out of the woodwork to discredit the RSPCA since the Heythrop prosecution. Have you noticed the spate of foxy stories in the Tory press? If you didn’t know any better you could be forgiven for believing foxes were taking over the world. They are coming out in broad daylight and taking babies out of prams. They are attacking women in the streets and robbing old people of their pensions. Fox numbers have not changed
            since counting them began. They regulate their own numbers. They provide a valuable service by eating rabbits and rats and other smaller rodents. They take birds eggs if they can get at them and they eat insects and earthworms. In winter they are practically vegetarian and they clear up road kill and food waste left lying around by humans. In the wild foxes regulate their own numbers, if food is scarce they don’t breed, and some foxes never breed at all.
            They live about two years in the wild and more are killed on the road than by hunting and shooting put together. The tales about them slaughtering lambs is a myth. DEFRAs own figures show that lamb predation by foxes is so low as to negligible, and it is disputed that those lambs they do eat were already dead when the fox found
            them. Foxes are not pests and hunters are not pest controllers. They would have us believe they are into ‘animal welfare’ and wildlife management’ but this is a smokescreen for what they really do. They are not bothered about causing suffering of individual animals, any welfare or management is purely so they can keep numbers steady in order to have something to kill.

          • Shy Talk

            And rather than addressing the concerns raised regarding prosecutions, the RSPCA turn the debate on to hunting, and again any one questioning the RSPCA are branded as Tory, hunter, vile, blood thirsty, etc, this isn’t going away, the spotlight is on you RSPCA, rather than evading the questions, stand up and explain your reasoning.

            Simples :-)

          • PattieB123

            The debate IS about hunting, or the lack of it unless you want to be prosecuted. You people are the ones who keep trying to get off the track because you have no defence when you are caught disembowelling foxes as a grand day out. The spotlight is only on the RSPCA because vile bloodthirsty (usually Tory) etc animal abusers cannot get over the fact that they are not above the law.

          • Shy Talk

            I won’t be caught disembowelling a fox, simply because I don’t hunt, if you’d bothered to read previous posts you’d know that, so branding me as a Tory Hunter demonstrates your ignorance if not the fact you’re reading from the RSPCA script ;-), the spotlight is on the RSPCA because for too long it’s been out of the spotlight, carry on prosecuting by all means, but under the same constraints as the CPS, don’t tell us you do, prove it by allowing unlimited access to your prosecutions by independent scrutineers.

    • http://twitter.com/77nelly neil coulson

      so are they in the process of an internal investigation after the port of ramsgate fiasco then??? i think not

    • Fergus Pickering

      I think, Mr Guest, that what you are doing is begging the question. Is the only duty of the RSPCA to prosecute those who break the law or does it have other duties? If it does then we can question the amount of money the RSPCA spend on prosecutions which could have been spent in other ways. Can’t we? Or des that show we are not in our right mind?

      • Rose Jay

        It is not the RSPCA duty to prosecute these cases it is about time read the Hansard from beginning to end No one and I quote both houses wanted the RSPCA involved with the policing of the AWA 2006. DEFRA spent 4 years promising they would not. The only reason that they have been left to to do it as in the final week before the Queens speech is that DEFRA minister Lord Rooker stood up and said they had run out of money. To late to debate it again so on the part of Lord Rooker dutifully swept under the carpet.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=660161444 Ann Adley

    As clearly stated in the ill conceived debate in HOC introduced by Simon Hart MP,the role of the RSPCA is invalueable, they have the support of the majority of the country and MPs from all parties.
    None of their prosecutions are politically motivated but are entered into with the sole purpose of protecting animals from those in society who would do them harm.The recent attacks on them have very little do do with a concern for animal welfare but the fact that they had the audacity to prosecute a high profile hunt who pleaded guilty to breaking the law.
    This is no different to the prosecution of dog fighting rings,cock fighting rings and every other sort of animal abuse that they encounter on a daily basis.
    I would add that anyone who attacks or abuses an animal should be the enemy of any decent person and they will always have my full support.

    • Rose Jay

      What Prosecutions for Dog Fighting if they encounter on a daily basis Quoting their own Figures they have prosecuted 42 people in approx 15 cases in Dog Fighting in the last 5 years.

      • http://www.facebook.com/gill.lucraft Gill Lucraft

        If they take things to court without solid evidence it gets thrown out. They have to have proof and proof of dog fighting is not easy to come by. The Heythrop case succeeded because they had hours of footage of repeat offences.

  • Gail

    • sammited

      all the rspca ar good for is persecuting the elderly, disabled and even children strutting around in their pretend police uniform, with pretend titles with their bolt gun at the ready

      • sammited

        also well done spectator for printing this

      • Nit Pick

        You do realise they had uniforms and titles before the Police right? Please tell me you did? You guessed it – Police interpreting the RSPCA.

        • animalnut

          The police are an official body, the RSPCA no more than a charity, there is a world of difference

          • Rose Jay

            They try to enforce the AWA 2006 that was their aim but when the Lords or the Commons wanted special inspectors, and NOT the RSPCA to enforce it.
            Reading the Hansard of the time of it passage, there were some very different views of the over zealous charity then.
            Ben Bradshaw and Lord Rooker promised for a couple of years of these inspectors. Then in the final sitting, two days before it was to be made law. Rooker ‘s drops his little bombshell with “It will have to be them as we have run out of money”. Unfortunately Simon Hart went in to Parliament last week with no evidence, something that he should have know better.
            I know at least 3 of the blogers on here and we are not pro hunting.

  • mrordinary

    Quite evidently we have a nasty smear campaign going on here by the pro hunt lobby & their supporters in the shamelessly bias tory press. They are livid that the RSPCA dared to prosecute the Heythrop Hunt, caught breaking the law illegally hunting foxes!. The Rspca must continue to do the fantastic work that it does, bringing these cruel sadists to justice, along with anyone else who treats animals inhumanely. The pro hunt fraternity like to think there’s one law for them & another for the rest of us plebs…well there isn’t.

    • chris_xxxx

      Yes. Those lovely foxes. Such kind animals who if they gain access to a chicken coop, will kill all of them. The RSPCA has better things to do that go after political motivated events such as the Heythrop Hunt. And expecting a home owner to take a squirrel to a vet for termination, shows what idiots are running the organisation. I for one won’t be donating any money.

      • http://twitter.com/Mayonia Mayonia

        The clue is in the name, Chris_xxxx. ‘…Prevention…Cruelty…’ – as in illegal hunting with dogs.

      • PattieB123

        Is this your studied reply? Your informed intelligent response? You obviously know NOTHING about the animals you abuse. Foxes are beautiful animals, they are not pests and most farmers dont mind them at all. They are demonised by the hunting fraternity because it is easier to disembowel something if you can convince yourself it is the devil incarnate. Don’t talk about what a fox will do in a chicken coop before you tell us what humans have in store for those poor chickens. If a farmer has free range hens he should make sure he has a fox proof shed and fence. The RSPCA prosecutes animal abusers and the only people who have a political motivation in all of this are the recidivist criminals who want to see a repeal of the Act. Lies, smears and dirty tricks, this is the only think you lot seem to be capable of producing. Oh,… let me add hot air to that list too.

  • animalnut

    The RSPCA were becoming unpopular before Grant took over, but he has made the Society the shambles that it currently is. The RSPCA have recently opened a 10 million centre in Birmingham with room for sixty dogs, yet they have just 14 in there, and only THREE of those are for rehoming, the rest are pending ‘cruelty cases’. They have refused to accept strays for three years and will only shelter court-case-dogs. Moreover, the individual RSPCA shelters have to raise their own funding to keep going, receiving not a penny from Head Office, (which is where all the donations go of course), so they must spend a vast amount of their 115 million per annum on prosecuting and advertising. Where does Prevention come into this.? Why do they kill half of all dogs and a third of all cats they ‘rescue’ ? They are far too close to AR and PETA in their thinking, and that will be their downfall.

    • http://twitter.com/cambstreasurer RSPCA Cambridge

      Why do you object to rehabilitating dogs who have been cruelly treated?

      • animalnut

        I don’t, in fact I have two dogs who were subjected to extreme cruelty themselves and rescued by the Blue Cross. All my dogs have been rescues and most were either treated badly or abandoned and they’ve proved to be wonderful companions with proper care.

        • http://twitter.com/cambstreasurer RSPCA Cambridge

          So why are you complaining about the RSPCA providing shelter space to do this? The Birmingham centre has only just opened – it would be the height of irresponsibility to fill it up with dogs who are the responsibility of the local authority and then end up keeping the cruelty case animals in private boarding kennels which are not normally designed to house dogs long term.

          • animalnut

            My point is that all other rescues have waiting lists and the RSPCA have many empty kennels while other rescues are having to turn dogs away. I agree that cruelty cases shouldn’t be kept in boarding kennels, but it seems ridiculous to have so many kennels empty when people are trying to be responsible and hand their dogs in, rather than dumping them in the streets.

          • Rose Jay

            I was looking at the accounts and they say the give 8 million to other kennels. but this would be the ones they control, could not be the other 171 as they never receive a penny from them. Reading your comments I would bet your’s is one of those under their umbrella, sharing the millions on offer

          • animalnut

            Is that addressed to me Rose Jay.? I don’t run a kennel, I’m a private citizen.

          • Rose Jay

            You see above you Victoria RSPCA Cambridge, and that is to who it was directed.

          • animalnut

            By the way, weren’t you posting as ‘Granny’ yesterday.? Rather sneaky of you RSPCA !

  • http://twitter.com/EJANDODIN ALAN PETRIE

    Now the Tories and the Countryside Alliance are throwing their toys out of the pram because they did not get their way in the parliamentary debate. Why should people get away with breaking the law just because they are Tories or rich landowners. Caroline Lucas was brilliant and wiped the floor with the Tory dullards.

  • http://twitter.com/EJANDODIN ALAN PETRIE

    RSPCA have my full support in going after illegal foxhunting. I have been very impressed by Gavin Grant since he took over and have made a donation towards their prosecutions fund.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Well god for you, old fruit. I think he is an overpaid loudmouth. How much IS he paid, by the way? Can we find out? Why is fox-hunting illegal and angling not? Are fish not animals?.

      • PattieB123

        How can you say G Grant is over-paid, then ask how much IS he paid in the next sentence? lol How much is Barney Spunner paid? In fact how much are you paid? Fox hunting is illegal because it is viscious sustained cruelty to foxes. I would have thought that would have been obvious. Hunter are you?

  • Fattybumbum21

    Animals in this country would be worse off if RSPCA didnt exist. Donated to the charity for over 10 yrs (continue to do so) and appreciate those at the frontline who investigate animal cruelty and educate. However, this is where I want my money going animal welfare, not millions spent on HQs, nights out at the Hilton for management,millions on advertising campaigns (I lost count how many will leaflet & other letters I received in 2012). In addition, I want law breakers such as the vicious fox hunters killing for kicks prosecuted & for example, in my part of UK the scum who let his dog starve to death & I commend the RSPCA for doing this. However, some prosecutions of old, disabled & mentally disabled should not have been taken to court, education should always be used, with prosecution last resort as RSPCA maintains is their way – the case of Pauline Spoor would not uphold this fact & she was proven to not have been cruel to animals. I think the trustees and prosecution department needs to look at their policy for prosecuting is more robust & fit for purpose – so people are not wrongly prosecuted, subjected to unnecessary suffering & ultimately prevents animal suffering i.e when they wrongly put Mrs pet PTS. Although I suppose anyone gets it wrong & probably only a small percentage of the cases. There are those that say that being old & mental ill is not an excuse, then I say to you you need to gain more compassion especially when in the end they were proven not to be animal abusers when the RSPCA gets it wrong.

    Their use of captive bolt guns on wild animals & pets still bothers me, especially them considered healthy, although having spoken to an inspector they have assured me that use mainly with ill or injured wildlife rarely used on pets. Also the RSPCA should not be blamed for the sheer numbers of pet abandoned in this nation of animals lovers, something the government needs to sort out fast. But as a supporter of the RSPCA for me zero use of bolt gun of healthy pets should be a priority for the RSPCA & note in their 5 pledges that are their priority will be to reduce no of healthy pets PTS which I gratefully appreciate.

    As a donator I would like to see the RSPCA introduce a campaign to increase animal cruelty sentencing, it makes my blood boil when heinous animal abusers are released without charge and/or a paltry sentence – even the max sentence under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 is not a deterrent or just outcome.

    It wouldnt hurt for the RSPCA to maybe let donors decide where their greatest percentage of monthly donations go i.e animal welfare rather than prosecution or percentage spent on entertaining staff, then some of the supporters who did stop giving after the hunt court case may not have been lost as they could have opted not to prosecution and those who wanted could do so.

    Every animal lover wants RSPCA to continue its good work, but like every company & charity they have their bad faults which need addressing to stop me & other supporters losing faith :(

    You may see my post as a bash but please note saying good & bad things Im just RSPCA supporter seeing the brilliant stuff they do, but sadly seeing some stuff they dont do so great

    • http://www.facebook.com/gill.lucraft Gill Lucraft

      Well said. They do have their problems, it’s a huge organisation and will take time to clear out the bad apples but without them animals would suffer.

      • PattieB123

        Speaking of bad apples, did you know the hunting fraternity tried to infiltrate the RSPCA In 2001 The RSPCA expelled the Olympic showjumper Richard Meade for orchestrating a campaign to infiltrate the society and overturn its longstanding opposition to hunting. Meade started five years previously to encourage hunting supporters to join the RSPCA specifically to overturn its strong policy against bloodsports which dates from 1976. And they have been up to all kinds of dirt tricks since, including poll rigging and thuggery

        • Shy Talk

          And why is that a bad thing when the animal rights brigade have done the same thing?

          • PattieB123

            What is your definition of ‘animal rights brigade’?

          • http://www.facebook.com/gill.lucraft Gill Lucraft

            The definition of ‘animal rights brigade’, also known as ‘bunny huggers’ and various other rude names is applied to anyone that actually likes and respects all animals regardless of whether they are pets or a special interest. You know, the people that actually keep and look after an animal when it’s old and no longer useful rather than shooting them and replacing them with a newer model.

  • terence patrick hewett

    The RSPCA have been run by the worst sort of scum for 20 years. Give to the PDSA: The People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals.

    • http://twitter.com/Mayonia Mayonia

      ‘The worst sort of scum’ now includes Brian May – he’ll be happy to hear your views!

      • Rose Jay

        Brian May is not running the RSPCA he is being used as a cash cow.

        • http://www.facebook.com/gill.lucraft Gill Lucraft

          Brian May is Vice President, he has a lot of say in what goes on from a wildlife perspective.

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rose-Jay/1511134139 Rose Jay

            As are the 20 other Vice Presidents that have done the RSPCA well MP’s etc. The Term is offered like an MBE, there have been many over the year Miss Widdecomb has been one in earlier days, but she has changed her allegiance just recently by her article in the Express

    • http://www.facebook.com/gill.lucraft Gill Lucraft

      The PDSA are very particular about who and what they help and wild animals are not among them, nor will they go out on rescues, nor do they prosecute cruelty cases. If the only animals you are bothered about are Auntie Mabel’s gerbils then fine, donate to the PDSA.

    • PattieB123

      The worst sort of scum are those vile killers who allow their dogs to terrorise and rip apart innocent wildlife

      • animalnut

        And yet the RSPCA feel it’s perfectly ok to use bolt guns on cats and dogs, followed by pithing.? Is that any more ‘humane’ than dogs being set on foxes.? I abhor fox hunting but the RSPCA is in no position to condemn anyone for ‘cruelty’ when it practises such barbarity behind closed doors. And didn’t Richard Martin hunt foxes himself.? At what point did the rspca decide to jump sides.?

  • luci_fer

    That seemed a bit slanted…

    “He might, for example, use intelligence gleaned from investigators tracking fox hunters in a particularly genteel part of the country in order to make an example of them, perhaps to revel in the opportunity to describe them as ‘common criminals’.”

    They are, objectively, common criminals. Whether they’re in a particularly genteel part of the country or not should make no difference whatsoever in regards to the law. (which, if you break, regardless if you agree with said law, are rich or poor, urban or rural, makes you a criminal)

    ” After hunting, these anthropomorphist G-men might come for horse racing. The Grand National could disappear.”

    Anthropomorphist G-men? Really? Ok…

    Hunting is not really comparable to the Grand National. Fox hunting is against the law, the Grand National is not. Having welfare concerns about jumps is not the same as the Grand National being banned or illegal. While it may be impossible to eliminate risk of injury to horses, certainly all should be done to minimise it wherever possible. That’s all the RSPCA seem to be saying there.

    “Insiders say he has opted for ‘in your face’ campaigns, generating some of the most lurid headlines seen about the RSPCA in its nearly 200-year history.”

    Possibly, but frankly that’s no different from any other charity you see advertising on tv at the moment. In a recession, all charities have to try a little harder to raise awareness and get support. It’s cynical, but there it is.

    “Dozens of ordinary householders have been convicted, fined and even tagged for offences such as killing squirrels in their gardens, or not arranging adequate veterinary care for a sick pet.”

    If dozens of ordinary householders have been convicted, fined or tagged (or banned from owning animals in the future) for animal cruelty then good – the RSPCA are doing their job in safeguarding animal welfare. Regarding “not arranging adequate veterinary care for a sick pet” I’d like to point out that local RSPCA charity shops have been known to offer poorer people help with their vet bills.

    Simply neglecting a sick pet and leaving it to slowly suffer and die is another matter entirely.

    “Suspicion is rife about its motives in the countryside.”

    Suspicion mainly fostered by the Countryside Alliance.

    “A strong bias against farming and country sports runs through many campaigns, according to the Countryside Alliance.”

    …according to the Countryside Alliance, who aren’t at all biased…

    “Racing officials are so worried about being targeted by the RSPCA that they have rebuilt three fences ahead of this year’s event, with plastic rather than timber interiors, which will be more forgiving on the horses’ legs.”

    Racing officials are so worried about being targeted by the RSPCA they’ve rebuilt fences to be more forgiving on the horses legs? Brilliant! That seems to be a result then. Again, the RSPCA are doing their job if they’re encouraging other organisations to abide by animal welfare standards.

    “But if the RSPCA regards itself as a kind of countryside FBI”

    Which is a big ‘if’ – the answer you’ve clearly already decided by your unbiased illustration of a dog walker being spied on by po-faced RSPCA officers…

    What do you think the RSPCA are doing in urban areas, by the way?

    “it secured convictions in more than 3,000 ‘cruelty’ cases”

    Why is cruelty in inverted commas?

    “The real shame of it is that many RSPCA employees on the ground, in rescue centres and horse sanctuaries, do excellent work.
    But if Mr Grant does not want to lead a controversial secret police force, perhaps he should get back to re-homing stray cats and dogs.”

    Again, there’s that ‘if’. You’ve clearly decided what the extent of the RSPCA remit should be yourself, contrary to what supporters or anyone else may think. The thrust of the argument seems to be “stick to rehoming stray cats and dogs, rescue centres and horse sanctuaries and stay out of what doesn’t concern you” and yes, that is valuable work – it’s ALL valuable work. And anything that concerns animal welfare should rightfully concern an animal welfare charity.

    In a sense, I do agree with you. The RSPCA do too much and are stretched too thinly. But who else is going to pick up the slack?

    Regarding ensuring animal welfare is upheld and bringing wildlife criminals to justice – the police? Yes, in theory, absolutely – I agree. But they’re stretched too thin as it is. Recently there was a petition to keep the wildlife crime unit of the police going as they may have had to scrap it due to budget cuts. The police don’t have the time to safeguard animal welfare entirely – another body has to do it. (I’d be happy for all prosecutions concerning wildlife crime and animal welfare to be government funded to be honest, but it seems unlikely!)

    Regarding animal shelters…I don’t know. Shelters are at capacity. Maybe it would be better to have one charity formed out of the RSPCA, cats protection league, the dogs trust and other animal charities to band together and build more shelters. I’m not sure what the answer is there, or where there’s space to build them. Everyone does what they can. The real problem seems to be people not neutering and spaying and/or abandoning pets – particularly with cats, who breed rapidly, resulting in far more animals than there are homes.

    Inspectors are certainly stretched thinly – one inspector might have to be covering several counties, for example, so they have to prioritise calls. Who should be answering calls when an injured animal is found? I don’t imagine there’s enough vets free who’re able to go off and sort it out. There’s dog wardens to call if a dog is found without an owner, but otherwise I can’t really think of another group/body/organisation who can do it.

    Instead of minimising the RSPCAs remit, which I agree is a lot of work, perhaps the solution is to give the RSPCA more help?

    • Fergus Pickering

      If somebody breaks a law, that person is indeed a criminal. But sometimes a law should be broken. Do you not think so? Do you think all laws are just? I have no idea what a common criminal is, unless it is one who is not well-spoken.

      • PattieB123

        Do you think it’s just that people should be allowed to chase terrify and disembowel foxes as a fun day out? A common criminal is someone who breaks the law. In all of the footage I’ve seen none of the hunters or their followers were well spoken, they were a just a bunch of foul mouthed bullies and that included the women

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1323763523 Marcella Covault

    Terrifying article on what happens when an *animal rights*-led, domestic terrorist organization gets too much power over animal owners/users. In time, this will probably be resolved with the R$PCA being taken to task and curtailed in power and activities, but accountability still doesn’t look very promising. The “animal rights” organizations (A$PCA, H$U$, et al) would LOVE this kind of power in U.S., and they are trying to get it through lobbying, “propaganda mill” BIG LIES, and through any other influence-peddling they can get away with. However, they are not sticking to “low hanging fruit” (elderly, poor, disabled), but arrogantly going after animal enterprises that also have deep pockets and who are fighting them AND WINNING. The A$PCA $9.3 million settlement of their part in RICO-covered actions is a good example of how U.S. laws can be used to prevent these mega-wealthy “nonprofit” corporations (evading tax responsibilities and costing American taxpayers millions in defense and legal costs) from gaining the power that the R$PCA has garnered in the U.K.

    • PattieB123

      None of this is relevant. I think you have stumbled into the wrong thread by mistake. This isnt America and the RSPCA did what those who give them money expect them to do. The Heythrop was a test case and I hope more prosecutions will follow. Eventualy the Law will be strenghthened and hopefully in the future all hunts will be disbanded

    • PattieB123

      Its terrifying when a minority group think they can flout a law and attempt to bully those who prosecute the criminals. When you donate to the RSPCA then feel free to have a comment, until then shut up. Out of interest why did no one comment on the amount of money spent prosecuting the animal abusers on Spindles Farm. It was almost three times the amount spent on the Heythrop case, oh wait, I forgot nobody cared because it wasnt about stopping hunting

  • http://twitter.com/77nelly neil coulson

    i wonder what hrh thinks of all this maybe if the royal was stripped away they might just become a little more humbled. i think that they hold alot of esteem with legacies and such like with that royal stamp of approval

  • paulus

    A fox is vermin, it cannot be domesticated, it is not foodstuff, and it is at the top of its food chain with no indigenous hunter to keep the numbers under control. The more widespread the fox population get the more domesticated animals will be eaten. Very soon applications for a shotgun license will be as prevelant amongst urban cat owners as it is with farmers. The control of a predator with dogs is the most efficient and effective method known, simply because the country is divided up into hunts.Tens of thousands of people are willing to tear arse over hill and fen to absolutely no cost to the state.

    • http://twitter.com/Mayonia Mayonia

      The fox population would regulate itself (like all other wildlife!) if left alone. In the 18th century foxes were almost wiped out in Britain until fox hiunters reintroduced them for the purposes of fox hunting. If you kill a fox its territory will be take nuo by another one. It is how the natural world works. Sadly man has concreted over most of the natural habitats in Britain. What is vermin? Does every wild animal need to be ‘domesticayed’? Are you living in a paralle universe from the rest of us?

    • PattieB123

      Foxes are not vermin. The word vermin applies to insect vectors that carry disease. Foxes do not spread disease, some have sarcoptic mange which can be spread to dogs, but it is easily treated Very rarely people may contract mange from their own animals, but again this is easily treated. There is no rabies in this country. Foxes are not even pests. They perform a valuable service in keeping the rabbit population under control. They also eat rats and other rodents. They are true omnivores so they have predator instincts, but they don’t take enough livestock to be termed pests, and hunters do not kill enough to be termed pest contollers. They are shot around game bird farms because blasting birds out of the sky is another bloodthirsty abberation of the hunting set. As for killing free range chickens, the fox is only looking for a meal and it is up to farmers to use fox proof fencing and provide proper safe sheds for the birds at night. DEFRAs own figures show that lamb predation by foxes is negligible and the number of new born lambs killed by them is debatable because many are scavanged rather than killed. As for foxes taking over the country that is complete rubbish. Foxes regulate their own numbers and do not require to be culled. There are about a quarter of a million foxes in Britain and that number has remained the same since records of their numbers were first kept. With 60 plus million people in the country, I think you have no right to complain about .a quarter of a million foxes. To chase terrifiy and disembowel a beautiful animal with a pack of dogs is not ‘managing wildlife’.. It is cold caculated slaughter for the sake of killing, and it is against the law. More foxes are killed on the road than by hunting and shooting put together. I remember a time just before the ban came in to being when hunters argued the complete opposite of what they are saying today. Apparently preban, most foxes got away and therefore there was no reason to go to all the trouble of making a Law when only a tiny minority of those chased were killed.

  • Karen Dawn

    Can we please clone him and bring one of him over to the USA?

  • Nit Pick

    The majority of the stories the RSPCA publish to the masses are skinny dogs and the like. Samples of the more horrific acts can be found in their Prosecutions Reports. Its very interesting if not rather grim reading – just Google them.

    The purpose of their prosecutions is to seek a ban on keeping animals. There is certainly no financial incentive for bringing a prosecution, and as less then 2% of cases result in a prosecution, they clearly are not gung-ho about brining them, even though many people in the press would clearly like you to believe otherwise.

    As for the RSPCA acting like the FBI, the Police sure haven’t the time. There are hundreds of animal charities out there who strangely don’t have the time either. Many of them call themselves ‘rescues’ but when you call them about a ‘rescue’ they have the cheek to refer you to the RSPCA. Its no wonder the RSPCA can not respond to every call they receive if they have to spoon-feed so called ‘rescues’.

    People clearly take the RSPCA for granted. Rather then criticise them, remember they are pretty much the only charity (except their Scottish equivalents) who are there for the [thousands] of animals suffering behind closed doors – other
    shelters/rescues must wait for the lucky few who are either abandoned or handed over before they take action (note the word lucky). Many will not be so lucky.

    People should be asking why, in nearly 200 years, no other animal welfare charity has offered similar services to the RSPCA. By that I mean their Inspectors. Why aren’t they getting their paws dirty? Is it because they take them for granted too?

  • http://www.facebook.com/claudia.hasse.1 Claudia Hasse

    Hopefully the RSPCA evolves into an even better FBI corporation to tackle increasingly more numbers of cases of these psychos pleasuring on animal cruelty whichever the species and reasons.Including any inhumane handling of any species ,from brutal slaughterhouses killing methods to some barbarian intensive farming systems.As long as cruelty on animals is not considered as seriously and legally important to eradicated as any other type of irregularity inflicted on humans would be , this stays a developing country and no more.Shame on those who do not see the importance of corporation like in this case the RSPCA to do the right thing!Animal protection should be an essential part of a morally and culturally soundly integrated civilized society.

  • http://www.facebook.com/rich.voysey Rich Voysey

    I think Rod Liddle has got a far better ‘take’ on public opinion than this ranting incoherent rubbish. (See link below)

    For the record too, the Charity Commission has not ‘intervened'; the Commission has actually stated that it has no concern about the decisions made by the RSPCA.

    … While in the Commons debate (called for by the Countryside Alliance’s ex-Chief Executive Simon Hart MP) a minority of self-interested MPs as well as Hart tried rather unsuccessfully, to tarnish the RSPCA’s reputation and their policy of prosecuting those that inflict cruelty on animals… additionally, the Attorney General reaffirmed that it is an absolute right in this country to bring prosecutions privately.


  • http://www.facebook.com/rich.voysey Rich Voysey

    I think Rod Liddle has got a far better ‘take’ on public opinion than this ranting incoherent rubbish. (See elsewhere on ‘The Spectator’ site)

    For the record too, the Charity Commission has not ‘intervened'; the Commission has actually stated that it has no concern about the decisions made by the RSPCA.

    … While in the Commons debate – called by the Countryside Alliance – a minority of self-interested MPs merely *tried*, rather unsuccessfully, to tarnish the RSPCA’s reputation and their policy of prosecuting those that inflict cruelty on animals… additionally, the Attorney General reaffirmed that it is an absolute right in this country to bring prosecutions privately.

  • Radford_NG

    The explanation,Melissa,is that the RSPCA has it’s policies set by it’s members at the AGM in London.This allowed it to be taken-over years ago by animal-rights activists against hunting.When up-country members became aware of this stance they dropped their membership,thus reinforcing The March Through the Institutions.The answer is to join-up and pack the next AGM against them……..The question is ;on which side would be the founding father: “Hair-trigger”Dick Martin,who ruled the house-less wilds of Connemara.

    • PattieB123

      Dont be so ridiculous, how can you have an organisation against animal cruelty that allows some of the worst abuses of animal cruelty to continue unchecked. Hunting is barbaric and anti-social, and as all you pros keep forgetting to mention, IT IS AGAINST THE LAW

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Daryl-Stafford/1361026536 Daryl Stafford

    Dreadful double standards and a politically motivated
    article from Mellissa above continuing with the campaign to trash the RSPCAs
    reputation just because it had the balls to stand up and do something about
    hunting. Stopping animal cruelty in all
    its forms is what I give money to the RSPCA for. It is hypocrisy to think one species of
    animal deserves compassion whilst another does not. Why is it considered OK to brutally kill a squirrel
    or fox but not a cat? I’m sure the
    experience from the animal’s point of view would be just the same. Halal slaughter is a case in point; the RSCPA
    is on record as being against it. The next hypocrisy will be the fact that the
    government will allocate police resource to ensure its misguided badger cull is
    able to proceed yet it won’t do this to enforce the hunting legislation. I’m
    pleased to support the RSPCA and hope it carries on in the direction it is

  • http://twitter.com/StanRawlinson Stan Rawlinson

    Grant stated

    It is not an approved humane method of killing a squirrel to wring its neck.

    If so perhaps Mr. Grant can explain why ten German Shepherds were taken into a
    garden and shot with a captive bolt gun after their owner died

    It is also illegal to use a captive bolt gun on domestic dogs. And if it is truly an Animal Welfare organisation. Why did it ignore German Shepherd rescues offer to rehome all these healthy and well
    kept shepherds.

    Inspectors apparently shot each dog in turn then finished them off by putting a screwdriver in the hole and stirred the brains. This causes the dogs the thrash around having multiple fits before dying.

    If that is true then that is not animal welfare, it is animal cruelty.

    Perhaps he could answer why the RSPCA feels the need to neuter puppies at 6
    weeks of age.

    These actions could possibly contravene the Animal Welfare Act of 2007. The RSPCA along with other organisations were to some extent instrumental in the
    inclusion of the “duty of care” part of that legislation.

    The bill, possibly the most important legislative move on captive and domestic
    animals since the Protection of Animals Act of 1911, came into effect on 6th
    April 2007.

    It makes owners and keepers responsible for ensuring that the welfare needs of
    their animals are met. These requirements include the following:

    The need:

    1) For a suitable environment (place to live)

    2) For a suitable diet

    3) To exhibit normal behaviour patterns

    4) To be housed with, or apart from, other animals (if applicable)

    5) To be protected from pain, injury, suffering and disease

    How can a dog exhibit normal behaviour patterns if neutered at this age. See my full article. http://www.doglistener.co.uk/neutering/rspca.shtml

    I believe the RSPCA to be unfit for purpose.

    • PattieB123

      Where did you get all this gory information?

      • Rose Jay

        He Wrote the piece himself in 2008 if I remember and over the last 5 years it has gone worldwide. The RSPCA vet has quite openly admitted that they were spaying and castrating puppies and kittens at the age of 6 weeks old. Many other large animals showed their disgust quoting they would never operate on any puppy of kittens before they were 6 months old. (Still on the net)

        Even 2 years before Stan wrote his piece the Ferret forum were showing concern.

        After my research in 2011 I read that they had stopped the practice after the proverbial hit the fan but searching over the weekend, all mention of the whole issue has gone, so unable to say when and if they stopped. GG was with the RSPCA then ask him nicely he may tell you.

        You may also be fully aware that the RSPCA go into the Magistrate Courts to train them how to conduct their cases. It is no wonder they have such high percentage of success.

        I would like to challenge the Spectator as they have been ridiculed for this piece to go through a RSPCA case and print the evidence they provide to secure a winning case. Just to see how they are not conducted in the legal way, that the CPS has stipulated.

        This recommendation has laid down from past legislation, take for example “Disclosures”. Requested on the first of a court appearance for pleadings, arriving after many request on the last day of an appeal, 21 months later.

        None of the Anti RSPCA are interested in Fox Hunting just a legal level playing field. I am in fact annoyed with Simon Hart as it knock back my fight and evidence gathering that I have been doing for 14 years. He went into that debate ill prepared and not having any evidence with him the RSPCA turned it into a for and against of Fox Hunting

        • PattieB123

          Your posts are not easy to understand. Are you telling me that Gavin Grant wrote an article stating that the RSPCA shot animals with bolt guns then inserted screwdrivers into the holes? How on earth did you come by that piece of info, were you there? I agree that it is wrong to kill a squirrel by strangulation but I am at a loss to know why you have included all that information about The Protection of Animals Act. We are discussing the RSPCA and its prosecution of the Heythrop hunt. This after all is what the original article by Mellisa Kite is all about. The spin and the dirty tricks of the Tory press. RSPCA bashing is top priority these days, and we all know why. Stop the only organisation that can effectively prosecute hunting criminals and they can do exactly what they like when they like and stick two fingers up to the law. The Spectator is just one of the sycophantic Telegraph poodles and Melissa, bless her cold heart, is an avid hunter, who is digusted that Mr Cameron has not made it his top priority to repeAl the Act before he deals with any other of the country’s business. She was really upset when she rode down hill on her dapple grey horse etc etc drivel drivel drivel. You are so glaring obviously pro hunting, so why pretend you care about animal suffering. Its all a smokescreen, your real agenda is to bring back disembowelling foxes with dogs as a good day out in the countryside.

      • Shy Talk

        You know all about the RSPCA finances, but didn’t know they use bolt guns to kill companion animals! Cost cutting measure I believe, cheaper to shoot them then inject them.

  • mikewaller

    I am getting old and often fail to spot things in plain sight. I therefore very much hope that it is my shortcomings that have resulted in my not being able to find Rod Liddle’s brilliant refutation of Ms Kite’s piece, on the first page of the website. If it is not there, this seems to me quite disgraceful.

    For those who have not read it his piece it is headed “The law doesn’t change because you’re on horseback”. It’s essence is that as the hunting of foxes with hounds has been made illegal by parliament and it abhorred by the great majority of the UK population, failure to prosecute those who continue to engage in this activity raises fundamental issues about the rule of law. This is all the more important because, rightly or wrongly, hunting with hounds is generally view as a rich persons activity and much of the population holds a view that was put very elegantly by Shakespeare 400 years ago:

    “Plate sin with gold,
    And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
    Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it”.

    Given this back ground, if the the police lack the will or resources to enforce the law, we should be grateful for the RSPCA for doing their job for them. That a judge criticised them for doing so leaves me very concerned about the quality of some of judges.

  • polan

    Once again our Conservative Government are vilifying the RSPCA through the right wing press ie. The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Mail and now the Spectator – no doubt our friend Boris Johnson has a hand in this article. The RSPCA, in case the British public forget, are at the moment trying to save thousands of seabirds dying on the south coast of Britain from an unidentified oil slick. Instead of bashing up the RSPCA why doesn’t Cameron’s lot do something constructive for once and start a marine conservation area around the British Isles?

    • Dickie H

      Aaargh, it’s a vast right-wing conspiracy! Except that it isn’t. People have been criticising the RSPCA’s heavy-handed prosecution tactics for years – try the RSPCA Animadversion website, or read some of the articles that Christopher Booker has written on the subject. All that has changed is that the fallout from the Heythrop prosecution has given these people a chance to make their voices heard. Gavin Grant is supposed to have a background in PR – I’m not sure he has done a terribly good PR job here.

      Yes, Parliament passed the Hunting Act 2005. Parliament also showed exactly how seriously it regards hunting with hounds by making it a summary offence, non-recordable, punishable by a fine. Spending somewhere north of £300,000 to bring a private prosecution (including the hire of a QC to watch 500 hours of shaky hand-held video film) for something Parliament regards as an insubstantial offence is just silly. Perhaps the RSPCA hoped they would be awarded all costs and could close down the hunt by bankrupting it. You don’t worry about racking up disproportionate costs if you think someone else is going to pay…

      • PattieB123

        You were privy to the footage then were you? Your attempts to trivialise the case aren’t working. The hunting Bill was debated for over 700 hours in Parliament before it became an Act. People working to prevent cruelty to British wild animals spent years before it ever reached the House working towards a ban on hunting with dogs. The Burns report commissioned by the Government was a painstaking collection of evidence and scientific reports that took hundreds of hours to compile. So please don’t attempt to rubbish the efforts of compassionate dedicated people by saying “Parliament regards hunting with hounds a summary offence”. Perhaps some of those Tories in Parliament at the moment,would like it to BE a summary offence but the reality is that hunting with dogs is a criminal offence and those recidivist criminals who are caught will be punished.

        • Dickie H

          As I am sure you understand, the passing of the Hunting Act was entirely a result of the political makeup of the Commons in 2004. This is an issue which, for various historical reasons, divides MPs pretty much on party lines with a very few exceptions – Labour for a ban, Tories against and Lib Dems split down the middle. And of course the Lords threw the Bill out and the Govt had to resort to the Parliament Act. So it isn’t even the will of Parliament as it was in 2004, only half of it. The only reason Parliament spent so long on it was that Blair, having accidentally committed himself to introducing a ban, then tried every possible trick to wriggle out of it (including establishing the Burns Enquiry)

          “Summary offence” is a legal term to describe an offence triable only in a magistrates court. “Non-recordable” means that it is not recorded on the Police National Computer (unlike, for example, poaching), and hence does not result in a criminal record. So on the scale of offences, a breach of the Hunting Act is right down at the bottom end, alongside speeding and dropping litter. Big difference in the eyes of the law between that and cruelty to horses, and if you have a problem with that, take it up with your MP. Good luck persuading any government to get itself tangled up in this particular issue again – even Miliband isn’t that stupid.

  • http://twitter.com/SuziebSue Sue Baumgardt

    All this frothing at the mouth about the RSPCA has only really taken off in the media since the successful prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt. The hunt could have saved the RSPCA lots of money by firstly NOT breaking the law and, secondly, pleading guilty from the start when they saw the damning video evidence. The sheep at Ramsgate should never have been passed as fit for travel by Defra Animal Health at Kettering when they were loaded, as they had foot rot and eye infections. It happened ages ago so it’s interesting that it was only dragged up to try and discredit the RSPCA after the hunt conviction. Most people are disappointed that the RSPCA don’t go after more cases of cruelty as the biggest complaint I’ve ever heard is that their hands are tied by the law so they have to give warnings and advice to people before they can seize the animal. What people should be complaining about is that the maximum sentence for horrendous cruelty is only 6 months and that is very rarely given. Check out recent cases of animals microwaved to death or left to starve to death and you’ll see what the RSPCA has to deal with in this so called nation of animal lovers. And as for the Grand National …. how a so called thinking publication can defend a race that kills horses every year is beyond me. But you’re right about the thoroughbred racers – they’re now bred with such light bones that they’re bound to get injured. And all for greedy people to have a so-called “harmless” flutter. Do me a favour.

    • Shy Talk

      I have not argument with the hunt prosecution, beyond the use of a large amount of money to achieve an outcome which has proved damaging to the RSPCA, and has perhaps proved to be the catalyst for questions to be asked about the way the RSPCA operates, and why shouldn’t questions be asked of any charity using publicly donated money and funded in part through the gift aid scheme, are they by virtue of being a charity, beyond reproach?

      I believe all the sheep where passed fit except one, the RSPCA insisted all the sheep were unloaded so that the one could be shot, despite being told by more experienced people that there weren’t suitable holding pens, the RSPCA got their way and a fiasco developed where sheep fell in to water, two drowned and many more, apparently had to be shot. I haven’t read any where that they were unloaded because they had foot and eye infections?

      The photographs of the dead sheep were then used in RSPCA literature to promote their live export campaign, questions were raised by ‘experts’ as to how there there came to be so much blood on the sheep when a method, not known for causing large blood loss was used to kill them, this question has been asked by many people of the RSPCA, who to date have chosen not to answer.

      Perhaps RSPCA should direct it’s efforts in campaigning for harsher sentences and more effective law enforcement by the government, rather than it’s current campaigning tactic of high profile welfare cases.

      • PattieB123

        It was DEFRA who slaughtered the sheep. The RSPCA were only there at the request of the Port Authorities. Are you saying you agree with live exports?

        • Shy Talk

          Doesn’t matter who shot the sheep, it was RSPCA who insisted they were all unloaded against advice.

          The questions is still should RSPCA prosecute with out the same guidelines as CPS? Not what I support or don’t support, typical RSPCA tactic, divert attention form the real issue.

          You seem to know a lot about various incidents, care to out your self as an RSPCA employee, or are you just choosy in what you read, as you accuse every one else of being choosy.

          I spot an RSPCA employee and claim my free £5.00.

          • PattieB123

            Your fee is forfeit I’m afraid because I donate to the RSPCA I do not work for them. The RSPCA DO prosecute within the guidelines, and that is why the Charity Commission have repeatedly said there is no case for the RSPCA to answer. It was DEFRA and DEFRAs own vets who unloaded the sheep. The RSPCA were there at the request of the Port Authority, as I said before. The problem you are having here is because you read and believe the spin in the pro hunting press. The TG and the Mail are attempting to make us believe they care about animals, yet not once did they mention the appalling cruelty involved in the live export trade nor the fate that awaits those poor animals when they reach their destination. The RSPCA have made a formal complaint to the PCC about the deplorable standard of reporting in these rags. The bias and spin is obvious to any one with half a brain, and the motives behind it all are as clear as day. I spot a hunter and I claim my fee of £5.00 The money will go straight into the coffers of the RSPCA next time I am in town

          • Shy Talk

            Why don’t you drop it in while your at work :-)

    • Dickie H

      “The hunt could have saved the RSPCA lots of money by … pleading guilty from the start ”

      I’m hearing that line a lot at the moment. RSPCA supporters are pushing it really hard all over Twitter. There is just one small problem with it. According to Gavin Grant himself, the RSPCA hired a QC to review all the video footage in order to decide whether a prosecution could be brought. As far as I can tell, even a junior QC isn’t going to get out of bed for less than £350 per hour, and there were 500 odd hours of film to watch. So it would appear that the majority of the costs were incurred before any charges were brought. You can’t plead guilty to something you haven’t been charged with, and you would be pretty stupid to do so before your own brief has had a chance to assess the prosecution case.

      The approach that most hunts seem to be taking to the Hunting Act is to try to operate within the letter of the law, while using the various exemptions to drive a coach and horses through the spirit of it. That strikes me as a pragmatic and very British approach to a bad law, but always risks ending up in court, where the arguments for and against are likely to be finely balanced. Parliament did not make it illegal for someone to be in possession of foxhounds while sitting on a horse and wearing a red coat, however much the anti-hunt activists might wish that they had.

      • PattieB123

        Do you recall the case of Spindles Farm? The RSPCA took the Greys to court over gross neglect and cruelty to horses. The prosecution cost almost three times the Heythrop amount, and of that amount, the guilty parties had to pay about half. I don’t remember any bad press then. The thing is we who support the RSPCA in their prosecution of wildlife criminals, know that you know that we know this is all just smears and spin in order to bring back a barbaric pastime that should have been relegated to the history books along with other bloodthirsty traditions.

  • mikewaller

    There is a commonality between this and the gay marriage issue: many Tories really seem to think that democracy is an optional choice for them. Hunting with hounds has been made illegal, but, seemingly, they don’t have to accept it if they don’t want to.

    Gay marriage is at an earlier stage with an almost certain majority for in the H of C and Tories being given a free vote. But for those represented by the current delegation to No 10 of local party chairpersons, that is not good enough. As the likely outcome of the vote does not please them, no vote should take place. What a bloody cheek!!!

    • Dickie H

      The only commonality is that both issues give you the chance to say rude things about Tories (at least as they exist in your own mind). As it happens, one of the most vociferous supporters of gay marriage within the Government used to be Master and huntsman of a pack of beagles: on the other side, the charge is being led by Ann Widdecombe, whose strong opposition to hunting is a matter of record. We Tories really do come in all shapes and sizes.

      • mikewaller

        May I suggest a course in close reading? I did not say all Tories – indeed I usually vote Tory myself – I said “many Tories” and then explicitly referred the crowd of Tufton Buftons who turned up at Downing Street yesterday. A crash course in logic might also help. I in no way suggested that all pro-hunters would be anti-gay marriage. My point was that both controversies have yielded up disturbing numbers of Tories who seem to think that the Law is fine just so long as it produces results with which they are happy. I would not for a moment suggest that such attitudes are unique to Tories; but it just so happens that, at present, it is people from that party who seem to be making the running.

  • http://www.facebook.com/gary.hills1 Gary Hills

    The RSPCA is 100% right to prosecute illegal hunting and the wider public fully support them. They do not back the bloodsport lobby and never will. Illegal hunting is a crime and those who take part are criminals and it is right they should be treated as such. Far from denting the RSPCA the recent attack by the Countryside Alliance and pro hunting MPs has made the RSPCA stronger.

    Bloodsport is not a right, its not a given freedom it is just pathetic cruelty. It has no place in the UK and will never be respected. If the tiny minority who enjoy inflicting deliberate suffering on animals do not like being prosecuted then stop breaking the law.

  • PattieB123

    Melissa Kite you should be ashamed of yourself. This piece
    is blatantly slanted to bash the RSPCA for no other reason than they were
    successful in prosecuting recidivist criminals who claim that disembowelling
    British wild animals with dogs is a birth right. The Charity Commission has repeatedly said the RSPCA acted within their remit. I suspect you don’t donate to the RSPCA. Those of us who do, fully support their actions. When you put your money where your
    mouth is, then perhaps you will have a reason to comment.

  • terence patrick hewett

    Jeongol (boiled dog meat mixed with spices and vegetables)

    Eat while boiling to boil down some of the soup. Add lots of dog meat and ingredients.
    Vegetables such as dropwort, perilla leaves, green onion and other ingredients such as
    garlic, pepper, and red pepper are put in. It can be served for a side dish with Soju (liquor) or for eating boiled rice. After eating, boiled rice can be mixed with the remaining soup.

    The standard amount of ingredients for one portion.

    200g of boiled dog meat, 150g of gravy, 50g of green onion, 50g of leek, 40g of dropwort, 20g of perilla


    3g of salt, 5g of perilla, 10g of mashed garlic, 2g of red pepper, a little amount of pepper.

    Eat while boiling the soup, dog meat, gravy, vegetables and other ingredient in a pan.
    If it is excessively boiled, the color of vegetables can be changed, deteriorating the taste of the soup. So once it is boiled, cooking over a weak fire, begin eating.

  • SW1dweller

    The RSPCA need to reassess their priorities and stop wasting charity money pursuing vanity legal cases such as foxhunting. I find Mr Grant’s fulminations (see for example letter 9 February) quite unconvincing. His various contributions made on Radio 4 are intensely irritating. I am an urban dweller and have never been near a fox hunt in my life. i contribute to a half dozen charities but the RSPCA is not on the list. I cannot see myself contributing anything to the RSPCA while it continues on its present course.

  • Ranirat

    A friend has just had her hounds and young puppies not yet old enough to leave for their new homes snatched by the RSPCA, just because a neighbour complained that the place smelled of wee. Another friend had only seen them all a week previously and said all dogs were fit, healthy and that they and their bedding were spotless and there were no dog poos around the yard etc. The owner is in a thousand pieces – they even took her 15 year old hound. She could well take her own life – I know I would. Don’t ever expect me to think on the RSPCA with kindness. Did you know that they do not have a right to enter your premises without a warrant, and that only the named person on the warrant has the right – you can insist no-one else enters. My friend didn’t know – maybe this bit of info might help someone else who reads this. Don’t start to say that the RSPCA must have had a reason – I know this lady and I know she has always put her dogs first and foremost. Sometimes we just get shitty neighbours…….

  • Bernadette Matthews

    We all know what suffering and neglect looks like. Nobody wants an organisation that becomes insanely militant – but I don’t see any danger of that at present. There is just too much to address and since you or I don’t take up every incident of suffering we see in animals in our daily lives – and we see plenty- how can you knock the RSPCA? Who else will do this work?

    I think yes their work has to be with what is clearly cruelty not the poor woman cited in these posts who had her dogs puppies taken away because the inspectors found the place smelling of wee.

    Every day in London I see dogs mainly, suffering. I know they are miserable and unhappy and living terrible lives and if I stopped every time I see these animals I would stop at least four or five times in every day to phone and say can somebody please come and help this animal?

    I am even more madly inclined to a view that a person who cannot show a decent income and means of support should not have a pet. This precludes myself from keeping one often in my life.
    I am of the definite view that homeless people should not be allowed to keep a pet until their circumstances are more settled.
    And i would like a law introduced that does not allow people under 18 years of age from having a pet too. ( unless they are living at home and others are looking after the animal )

    I think that would clear up all the suffering I see in one go.

    Its good there is a body that can intervene in inhumane treatment. Obviously intelligent judgement is the thing- but if the measures they take to ascertain cruelty and neglect have commonly agreed benchmarks then I cannot see what the problem is. We know it when we see it all of us.

    I have signed the RSPCA petition to have CCTV in slaughterhouses. The terror of the poor beasts, – going to slaughter. I don’t eat meat. I think it is right not to eat anything with a face.

    Its for everybody to decide for themselves. But I do think that now you can buy beautiful shoes beautiful bags from non animal sources the reasons for killing get less and less plausible. Its not necessary to kill, the Hari Krisnas have the best attitude Ive ever seen to their animals, and make delicious food from their milk.

    CCTV in slaughterhouses is essential. If the killing of animals must go on and why must it? – then it needs to be monitored in just this way.

    I would hate the RSPC to become some kind of policing body madly militant on everything- but as long as its remit is to address cruelty by the benchmarks we all commonly recognise I am all for them.

  • Andrew Thomas

    This is a year on, now. I’ve just been trying to get the RSPCA to help with finding a home for two abandoned kittens that some scum have thrown into a river in a bag (I am a keen angler). I have been looking for a way to find out how to bring RSPCA to book for its policy of not looking out for the welfare of animals, but to persecute people it hates. I would like to invite Gavin Grant, the RSPCA’s Chief Executive, to come and manifest his policy by drowning the two kittens I saved. (He may reply here at any time; I will wait.) Although I would warn him that if he does, I’ll punch him in the face with such force that he will to require reconstructive surgery in order to remain recognisable. Mr Grant, I look forward to meeting you very much.

  • Patrick G Cox

    I used to be a supporter of the RSPCA, but since it became an ‘animal rights’ campaigning organisation I won’t give them ice in winter. In fact I’d rather pay for an animals vet bills out of my pension and go hungry than let them anywhere near it. Overwhelmed with support? By who? The unprosecuted, unmolested dog fighting community? The people who go round stealing gun dogs for profit? The ones who report their neighbours because they think a dog or cat isn’t properly cared for?

    As Shakespeare would say – A pox on all their houses!

  • AndrewMelville

    A foul organization. Anyone who donates to them is a fool and evil.

  • Simon_in_London

    They’ve always been obsessed with killing animals – don’t take an animal to the RSPCA if you don’t want it executed. Their obsession with stopping anyone else from killing animals seems new, though.

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