A tragedy is unfolding – the attempted destruction of the RSPCA’s powers…



20 August 2013

It is nothing less than a vicious, calculated attempt to discredit the RSPCA and destroy its powers to prevent cruelty to animals.

This vile attack is being mounted by the Countryside Alliance, elements of the National Farmers Union, elements of the Press and media, and elements of the very Government of this country.


What we are witnessing is a last desperate attempt by the old privileged set in Britain, to hang on to its perceived right to trample over people, property, pets, wild animals and basically anything that gets in the way of their selfish desires.

This is a pivotal moment.

The RSPCA was founded in 1824 with the express purpose of defending animals against abuse – against unnecessary pain and death.

The RSPCA is one of the finest altruistic organisations this country has ever seen. It has tirelessly pursued that goal for 180 years, rescuing animals from all kinds of terrible fates, recently fighting amongst other things against the cruel export of live farm animals to Europe, the random massacre of badgers in a futile attempt to eradicate a farming disease, and the pursuit of fox hunters who have been routinely flouting the law against the pursuit and killing of foxes using packs of dogs.

All of these activities sit within the RSPCA’s charitable objectives. The RSPCA’s charter not only allows it to prosecute these abuses, but actually obliges it to do so. Until recently the organisation had been infiltrated by supporters of cruel sports, and had stopped short of pursuing the cruelty of the Hunts, but under the strong leadership of Gavin Grant, the RSPCA has recently for the first time taken long overdue direct action to prosecute illegal acts of fox hunting. The result has been a backlash – a frantic attempt by the criminals and their cohorts, to vilify the RSPCA in the eyes of the public.

Imagine, for a moment, that the NSPCC succeeded in a prosecution against a team of child abusers. Imagine if elements of the Press, in reporting the prosecution, neglected to report that justice had been done, but instead accused the NSPCC of recklessly spending its money, letting down its supporters, breaking its charter, and being politically motivated in its behaviour. Imagine if a bunch of child abusers then banded together to spread vile propaganda against the NSPCC, its officers, and the very children that were abused. This terrible scenario is exactly what the RSPCA is being subjected to, the only difference being that the creatures involved are non-human. The analogy between the RSPCA and the NSPCC is far from random. Both organisations were the result of action by William Wilberforce, the NSPCC being born actually within the offices of the RSPCA in 1884; both organisations operate with the clear intention of stamping out cruelty absolutely. It is widely accepted by criminal enforcement agencies that cruelty to animals is closely correlated with psychopathic behaviour and cruelty to children, and the two organisations have maintained their links over the years.

How could we stand by and let the pro-cruelty section of the community get away with it ? The people vilifying the RSPCA and anyone who speaks up for them are a small in number, but rich, powerful, well connected, and utterly ruthless. Their aim is to bring back the despicable blood sports of fox hunting, hare coursing, and stag hunting, which were outlawed by the Hunting Act of 2004. The fact that this Government is within an ace of starting a massacre of badgers might appear to be unrelated. But the fact is that the only way such carnage can be justified is if the value of a badger is set at zero. If they get away with this badger cull, then the value of every wild mammal is also set at zero, so, under the dishonest pretext of ‘vermin control’, they will be able to get away with bringing back all these appallingly cruel pursuits. There is no reason to suppose that it would stop there. We may see a return to legalised badger-baiting, bear-baiting, and even the burning of supposed witches at the stake. This is the crossroads.

Britain at this point either allows Cameron’s government to propel us back into the Dark Ages of barbarism, or we all stand up and cry “NO !” No return to the despicable pursuits of the privileged few in the name of tradition, or hidden under the entirely bogus claim of ‘control’.

Here, in brief, are details of the attacks on the RSPCA which followed (coincidentally!) the prosecution of four members of the Heythrop Hunt, David Cameron’s local Hunt, which he himself has supported.

On 29th January 2013, in Westminster Hall, members of the Conservative Party led by ex-Countryside Alliance chief executive Simon Hart, agitated to bring in a motion questioning the right of the RSPCA to prosecute cases of cruelty, and the legality of the charges brought against the Hunt. A debate was organised in a private chamber, with a motion of censure on the RSPCA. The motion was defeated. The Press, led by the Daily Telegraph, widely made little of the groundbreaking convictions, and instead headlined reports that District Judge Tim Pattinson had commented at the trial that the money spent by the RSPCA in bringing the prosecution was out of order. He was apparently subsequently required to apologise for his comment.

3) On the 20th December 2012, a few weeks after the Heythrop Hunt convictions, a complaint was made by Simon Hart and other pro-hunt MP’s and Peers, direct to the Charities Commission claiming that the RSPCA had broken the rules of their charter. The complaint was judged unwarranted by the Charity Commission in a letter sent to the RSPCA on 28th January 2013. The RSPCA deemed to have acted according to its charter. Yet the Press almost totally ignored this outcome.

4) Accusations were made by a national newspaper that the RSPCA killed a high proportion of its rescued animals, with a clear implication that the money spent on prosecutions ought to have been spent on housing these animals. The claim was later judged to be untrue.

5) A number of ‘members’ of the RSPCA were given airtime on the Radio and TV, expressing their disgust at the actions of the RSPCA, and declaring they would never support it again. These people were, in the main, plants sympathetic with the Countryside Alliance, who had earlier infiltrated the organisation for this very purpose.

6) The RSPCA is now accused to unfairly having access to police records, necessary for the pursuit of their job, in tracking down and prosecuting offenders.

7) Gavin Grant has been the object of personal threats and abuse, and was yesterday (19.8.13) attacked in The Times.

8) Officers of the RSPCA have been the victims of vile abuse – their families, their pets and their very lives put under threat of ‘retribution’ from the fox hunting community.

9) Recently, a second complaint has been filed with the Charities Commission against the RSPCA, this time by the NFU. The NFU is strongly implicated in the whole affair anyway, because Simon Hart and other pro-hunt MP’s were assisted in their election campaigns by VOTE-OK, an organisation specifically set up to place pro-hunt activists in positions of power – and the organisation was founded by Charles Mann, an official of the NFU. (http://www.huntwatch.info/news511.htm)

I hope the true picture of what is going on is now becoming clear.

People of the UK, if you value your personal freedoms, and your right to be able to stand up against an anachronistic clique of ruthless toffs and bullies ….

What we must demand is zero tolerance of cruelty towards any sentient creature; but, in particular, zero tolerance for the despicable acts of cruelty against those who cannot speak up for themselves … the elderly, children and animals.

These attacks on the RSPCA will continue to appear – desperate attempts to thwart the prosecution of animal abusers, with the ultimate aim of making it acceptable for wild animals to be culled, hunted for sport, and regarded as vermin.


Brian May

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