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Monday, June 29, 2015

Veiled Government threats against RSPCA signals zero tolerance approach to opposition groups

You can always tell when the Conservatives are in government, especially when they have no other party to keep them in check, as the threats to the BBC start to escalate. It seems to be a traditional view of Conservative politicians that the BBC is run by a bunch of lefties determined to do them down. The fact that Labour Ministers, when they are in government, take a similar paranoid view of the corporation indicates that perhaps the BBC has got the balance about right.

However, as yesterday's Sunday Telegraph reports, this zero tolerance of opposition by Conservative Ministers is starting to spread into other policy areas. They have been told by an unnamed Environment Department source that the RSPCA must purge radical animal rights activists from its board or face "disaster".

This Government spin-doctor believes that the charity risks “eroding its credibility” by prioritising contentious political campaigns over animal welfare and has also accused the RSPCA of opposing the badger cull just to increase donations. Really?

It could be argued that these campaigns are perfectly legitimate ones for an animal charity to take up and that on the Government's disastrous and unevidenced badger cull, they are protesting too much. It is a matter for the Charity Commission not the government whether an organisation like the RSPCA oversteps the mark or not. Perhaps the Government should stop trying to stifle legitimate dissent and get on with its job instead.
There is a certain class which has still not got over the reversal, about a generation ago, of the RSPCA's institutional support for field sports. This was implicit from the society's founding in Victorian times when "It was not seen as the least bit ironic for an RSPCA supporter to be seen fox hunting. Angling and bird shooting did not raise an eyebrow. " [from http://www.terrierman.com/chapter-one.htm]

The Charity Commission has ALREADY investigated the RSPCA relatively recently (I think at the behest of the Countryside Alliance). The Charity Commission ruled the RSPCA was acting in accordance with its mandate. The complaint against the RSPCA was dismissed as entirely or mainly without merit (sorry can't remember which).

Found more detail on the RSPCA site:

29.08.13 The Charity Commission has today concluded that [the RSPCA is] acting within [its] charitable purposes in conducting such campaigns as opposing the badger cull and the live export of animals for slaughter.

In its conclusion the Commission said:

“We are satisfied that it is reasonable for the RSPCA to decide that campaigning against the badger cull and live animal exports is justified in furtherance of their objectives”...

The Commission’s announcement today also confirms that campaigning and political activity are legitimate and valuable activities for charities to undertake in furtherance of their charitable purposes.

In rejecting on all counts the NFU’s complaint, the Charity Commission has satisfied itself that we are running our campaigns properly in accordance with charity law and with the Commission’s own published guidance.

Mike Tomlinson, Chair of the Council of Trustees said:

“In a week which has seen the start of the badger cull pilot, we are unsurprised that the Charity Commission has found no grounds whatsoever for the NFU’s complaint.
perhaps you should tell the elderly people who ringthe SHG helpline to say that the RSPCA has taken their only companion and will not return their calls that the RSPCA is not controversial. or the people who ring us and are unable to get a word out, they can only sob broken heartedly.

People have committed suicide because of the actions of this out of control organisation. people lose their jobs, never work again, are left with depression costing the NHS and the state untold millions.

And that is without even thinking about the animals they slaughter.

If you would like to hear the real truth about the RSPCA The SHG will be only too glad to tell you what it means to the ordinary animal owner to live in fear of their animals being taken and destroyed. You could start with the SHG submission to the Wooler inquiry.


The first link but take a look at the other submissions too. Then tell us that the RSPCA is not controversial.
Anne - having NEVER HEARD of the SHG, I looked it up and read briefly through some of the posts ...

To quote from the SHG's Home Page the SHG is "The Self Help Group for FARMERS, pet owners and others EXPERIENCING DIFFICULTIES WITH the RSPCA". I though it was indicative that the first group mentioned were farmers aggrieved by the RSPCA.

It's not terribly surprising that an organisation set up to reach people with gripes against the RSPCA should attract complaints against this nationally respected animal charity.

The material on the website seems to consist of a series of unfocused, muddled, highly idiosyncratic complaints about matters unlikely to have any interest for most people. One article slammed Sussex RSPCA for seeking to rehome dogs which were of Irish origin (claiming such dogs posed special disease risks that English, Welsh and Scottish mutts apparently did not). I can't think of any canine diseases which are endemic in Eire and Northern Ireland but aren't common in the rest of the UK.
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