From complaining about RSPCA uniforms copying the police force to pet owners complaining they weren’t allowed to say goodbye to their ‘beloved’ pets, it seems that the RSPCA is constantly being abused in the pro-hunt press.
Let’s debunk a few myths surrounding the ‘sinister and nasty’ charges levelled at the RSPCA by those who have fallen foul of UK’s animal protection laws.
In 1824 the idea for the RSPCA was conceived in a coffee shop in London. In 1829, five years after the beginning of the RSPCA, Sir Robert Peel, who was Home Secretary at the time, presided over the Metropolitan Police Act which provided permanent appointed Constables who were paid to protect the Capital as part of the Metropolitan Police Force. The early police uniforms were actually not dissimilar to those already worn by the RSPCA, and were chosen because the Peelers wanted to look more like ordinary people.
Richard Martin MP (who was also a keen fox hunter) William Wilberforce MP and the Reverend Arthur Broome wanted to do something positive to protect farm animals from cruelty, particularly cattle. Odd that a fox hunter should be so blinkered in his approach that he did not consider the suffering his sport caused to wild animals in the countryside, but whatever Mr Martin’s blind spot might have been, his Bill, which when it became Law, saw the beginning of the RSPCA which has gone from strength to strength in spite of its detractors.
Today the RSPCA uniform is still more or less as it ever was, minus the tail coat and top hat. The RSPCA insignia is always clearly and prominently displayed. RSPCA inspectors never act without an owner’s permission unless an animal is suffering or in a dire emergency. If the court feels evidence has been wrongly obtained, it can refuse to admit it. All RSPCA officers carry RSPCA ID cards, and their vans are clearly liveried with the RSPCA logo.
“All ranks within the Inspectorate wear a white shirt with obvious RSPCA logo on the left breast. All ranks, except Animal Collection Officers, are provided with a formal uniform for use at special occasions such as Court hearings and ceremonial occasions. During major rescues, specialist teams of Inspectorate staff may opt for a more casual dark blue polo shirt with RSPCA embroidered logo. RSPCA
Anyone, even the most myopic amongst us, can see immediately that the RSPCA is in no way trying to emulate the police force, or imbue its inspectorate with special powers above and beyond the rest of us.
The police and Government Animal Health Officers are the only people who have the powers of entry if animal cruelty is suspected. Usually this happens after a court order is obtained, although there is provision in the Animal Welfare Act (AWA) in emergency situations.
The RSPCA inspectorate do not force their way into people’s homes and seize animals, if they did, they would be breaking the law and would be open to prosecution. As we have NEVER seen the RSPCA in court for breaking, entering and stealing animals, I think it’s safe to assume that this is because that is not how the Society carries out its work. The RSPCA relies on the statutory powers of the police with whom they have an excellent working relationship.
Similarly, the RSPCA does not keep a band of lawyers on its payroll for prosecuting animal abuse cases. The lawyers used by the RSPCA are independent people who happen to be the best in their field, and well versed in dealing with animal cruelty law. The RSPCA exercises the right that we all have as private citizens to bring private prosecutions against those who neglect or deliberately abuse animals both wild and domestic. In almost all cases of abuse and neglect, concerned neighbours have alerted the RSPCA to the animal suffering, and again in most cases the RSPCA will offer advice and support in the first instance. If the case is escalated because conditions for the animal have not improved, only then is prosecution and seizure of the animal concerned considered.
When taking out a private prosecution, the RSPCA follows the same code for public interest as the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS). The Full Code Test has two stages: (i) the evidential stage; followed by (ii) the public interest stage, and if the criteria are not met for those two stages, the RSPCA does not go on to prosecute.
We must also remember that the CPS can stop a prosecution at any time if it is thought to be not in the public interest. This has happened in only a handful of cases, and the RSPCA has a much better success rate than the hard pressed and underfunded CPS, which is saving the tax payer millions of pounds a year.
No one wants to think an animal has been left to suffer through thoughtlessness or from deliberately inflicted cruelty. The AWA of 2006 puts a duty of care on pet owners today. It is no longer good enough to acquire a pet on a whim and then neglect that pet because the owner either can’t be bothered or forgets to provide clean water or provide proper living conditions, or because they haven’t researched the needs of the animal properly. Neither is it acceptable to neglect an animal because the owner is frail or has special needs. It is a misconception, and one the 2006 Act makes perfectly clear, that to own an animal does not mean someone can treat that creature however they think best without repercussions of one sort or another.
The RSPCA is simply doing what it says on the tin, it is standing up for animals, that is putting animals first. To prosecute someone for neglect or abuse is not undertaken lightly. A full team of experts including experienced vets, is mobilised and each individual case is discussed at length, with prosecution being a last resort. Many people are given advice and help and it is only if that advice is ignored and conditions for the animal don’t improve that prosecution is considered.
Disability Now magazine, one of the RSPCA’s disgruntled detractors, has criticised the RSPCA, claiming the Charity unfairly targets the elderly and disabled people. Yet there was agreement that the animals in those cases did suffer, and the RSPCA, regardless of the reason for the suffering, has a duty to the animals it exists to protect.
RSPCA inspectors receive comprehensive training on the Police and Criminal Evidence Act. If it is deemed necessary to go to court, and if the court has convicted, then there must have been a case to answer. As the only charity who investigates animal cruelty, an RSPCA Inspector’s job is one of a kind. They are on the front line of animal abuse, sometimes dealing with horrific neglect and suffering. The training to become an RSPCA inspector lasts 12 months, it is intense and physical covering all aspects including rescues and cruelty.
The RSPCA does a wonderful job, it is a much needed and respected British organisation at the forefront in the fight against animal cruelty in the UK.
If you care about animals consider joining the RSPCA and be part of that force for goo
A recent report claims that in the last forty years the number of wild animals on planet earth has halved. It seems humans are spreading like viruses across the globe slaughtering everything in their path.
Whole populations of non-humans have been wiped out and their habitats destroyed for food, fun and to make way for money making enterprise.
The eyes of the world have recently turned on trophy hunting after the cruel and unnecessary death of Cecil the lion killed by an American dentist for sport. Millions of decent people are outraged at the senseless slaughter of African wildlife yet there are still those who still attempt to defend this vile practice by claiming it’s an act of conservation. Even members of the British royal family go trophy hunting.
Those who could set such a great example prefer instead to just pretend to care about wildlife, whilst indulging themselves in their bloodthirsty hobbies of shooting and hunting.
Claims that canned hunting helps the local poor by paying millions of dollars into the economy is rubbish. Most of the money paid by the super-rich to indulge a bloodlust goes straight into the pockets of the middlemen, large companies and corrupt government officials. A dead lion is worth much more than a live one to many officials on the take. Two hundred million dollars a year and Africa has nothing to show for it apart from dwindling animal numbers and much animal suffering. It’s a frightening thought that greed and a desire to shoot at living targets may see some of earth’s iconic species disappear for ever in our own lifetime.
Another pathetic argument put about by hunters the world over, no matter what the species they want to kill, is that hunting helps wild populations. Unfortunately, this argument doesn’t hold water. No one wants a mangy looking old lion head on his wall. Hunters take animals in their prime for their trophies, leaving the weak or the sick to take care of the pride. The gene pool of an alpha animal is destroyed and the pride is left open to attack by wandering males who may kill a whole generation of cubs. Similarly, the oldest and most experienced elephants are killed because they have the biggest tusks, leaving the younger less experienced to look after the herd with little protection or guidance.
Governments collude by setting up ‘legal’ quotas and the hunters try to invoke moral arguments because they say it’s within the law. But not everything that is legal is wholesome, and any law, whether good or bad, depends on the humanity and the moral compass of the law makers at the time. Estimates of the lion population is the wild are between 20 to 35 thousand animals, not counting poaching and other deaths, hunters are legally allowed to kill around 600 hundred a year. That is an unsustainable annual population loss of approximately 3 percent.
People who simply like killing will always find an alternative excuse. Tell them the wild populations are in danger of vanishing forever and they come up with canned hunting. A sport even more disgusting than killing in the wild. Bred in captivity, hand reared to trust humans, exploited by tourists as fluffy cubs, then sold on to hunting concerns when then are fully grown, to be shot like sitting ducks on a pond. Some argue that breeding lions in this way can be used to repopulate the wild, but these animals are ill equipped to deal with life in the bush. Most are inbred with a poor gene pool and releasing animals this way into established territories can lead to fighting and unstable prides.
Local people with livestock and crops to protect often kill those animals who aren’t afraid of man and who will wander into human areas in search of food or simply because they are used to being around people.
Change comes slowly, and there are always those who will exploit all living things to make money. Fortunately, some African countries are coming to realise that shooting big game with a camera may turn out to be more lucrative. In Botswana, the government banned almost all trophy hunting at the beginning of 2014. Compared to the 1.8 percent of revenue from killing animals, Africa is coming to realise that 98 percent of those who come to visit, come to see the wildlife. Eco tourism provides jobs for guides and spin off industries like holiday accommodation etc.. Those who come with cameras stay for longer and many come back with friends. In the first year of Botswana’s ban, eco-tourism brought in $344 million dollars.
Change is slow, but it is happening. Let us hope that the day of the backward hunter, who likes to use living flesh as target practice, is coming to an end before we lose any more of our world’s precious animals.
[For now people such as this "Africa Safari Hunting Consultants" still make money out of big game hunting]
Canned Hunting, Cowards Killing Captives
Lion trophy hunting Can the Can
She is also looking at how badgers may interact with cattle as well as looking at farming practices which may reduce the risk of infection spreading.
So why is this happening? Why are David Cameron and Elizabeth Truss so determined to fly in the face of science and turn their backs on badger experts, scientists, vets and most of the country?
It seems they are also flying in the face of their own better judgement too, as in December 2014 they admitted for the first time that future culls might fail because of the small overall numbers of animals killed. Undeterred, Secretary Truss, after releasing the results of the 2014 cull pilots in Gloucestershire and Somerset, said she is still determined to continue culling.
DEFRA minister George Eustice has been pressured from both sides of the debate as opposition MPs demand to know what justification he has for extending the cull to Dorset, whilst at the same time, South West Devon MP Gary Streeter wants to know when Devon farmers can expect to be able to kill badgers on their farms. This is a particularly alarming situation, as there is no way of knowing that the culls last year have made any difference to the disease in cattle, yet without any evidence to show killing badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire has reduced bTB in the cattle in those counties, the government is happy to slaughter more animals in Dorset, whilst Devon is clamouring to start killing too. It is nothing short of a national scandal that this Tory Government is treating British wildlife like so much trash.
For some reason which the Government refuses to divulge, there is no independent expert review process or analysis of the safety, effectiveness or humaneness of the culling and no satisfactory explanation as to why these issues are being ignored. So we have two failed culls and a third cull underway with extended parameters to include an extra county and no information coming out of Westminster.
There are some who are hailing the previous culls a success. One such is the sacked DEFRA Secretary Owen Patterson who lost his job due to the badgers moving the goal posts in 2013. His comments are based on nothing more than anecdotal evidence from farmers who said at the end of last year that bTB outbreaks had dropped from 36 down to just 12.
People in the anti-cull camp didn’t believe those miraculous figures, so they did a little research of their own and came up with an entirely different scenario which showed that whilst there had been a slight drop, it was nothing like the grand scale of things that had fired Mr Patterson and had prompted him to make such a grandiose statement. In fact In Somerset 2013, on the day the badger cull started there were 17 herd breakdowns inside the cull zone and on the last count, on 30 June this year, there were 14. The bad news for the cull “anecdotal evidence” success story lies on the outer edge of the zones, where consensus of scientific opinion had predicted an increase due to fleeing badgers. BTB had indeed increased by 50% from 12 cases to 18 since culling had started according to the same set of government statistics. These statistics were taken from the Governments own figures.
It was hoped earlier this year that the roll out would be shelved for 2015, but Liz Truss soon quashed any hope that sanity would prevail, and farmers began applying to Natural England to sign up for a licence to kill.
In April, 2015 the British Veterinary Association dissociated from the cull saying the shooting of free-running badgers at night had not proven effective or humane. The BVA did feel that some badgers could be culled but cage trapping was more effective and certainly more humane. It is also much more expensive too.
Those against the killing are mobilised and the wounded badger patrols are out in the cull areas again. It was reported in the Western morning News that Anti-badger cull protesters are defying their leaders and breaking the law to try to prevent the killing of badgers. One farmer claims the patrollers have been trespassing to free a badger from a cage
A video posted on the Facebook page of the Gloucestershire Badger Office shows a group of saboteurs crossing private land and then releasing a badger trapped in a cage.
CEO of the Badger Trust Dominic Dyer said the Trust is supporting wounded badger patrols in all three cull zones in Somerset, Gloucestershire and Dorset. But he said protesters should operate lawfully. Teams opposed to the culls have set up camps and are walking public footpaths in all three cull areas to draw attention to the Governments flawed policy on controlling bTB.
The anti-cullers have asked for more feet on the ground saying, If you are able to come to the zones and help, please do. Somerset and Dorset especially need more people on the ground. If you live in or near the cull zones and you can spare any amount of time to help, or if you are able to travel and stay at camp, please contact the organisers.
Western Morning news
They often arrive with abscess on their feet if they are kept in cages with wire floors. Their suffering is ignored or inadequately treated. Undercover Investigators have observed dogs circling frantically in their small cages and pacing ceaselessly back and forth, oblivious to anything around them. It’s their only way of coping with despair.
Puppy mills are well-known in the pet industry and some unscrupulous pet shops are happy to accept the puppies without questions asked. There are also many adverts online offering puppies for sale and it is almost certain that these poor animals will have come from puppy mills.
Marc Abraham, a TV vet is fighting hard against puppy farming, as is the Kennel Club and many other animal charities. Marc said there was an "over production of dogs" in the UK, with battery farming of puppies while rescue dogs were put to sleep every day.
Marc is right, with millions of unwanted dogs and cats (including purebreds) dying every year in animal shelters, there is simply no reason for animals to be bred and sold for the pet-shop trade.
Without these stores, the financial incentive for puppy mills would disappear, and the suffering of these dogs would end.
Country lover, amateur naturalist and fox lover fighting to preserve the ban on hunting
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