Slaughter for food? Only OK if the RSPCA do it.

The RSPCA have claimed that their opposition to a radio show holding a vote to decide whether a pair of turkeys should be slaughtered and eaten is because they oppose killing animals in entertainment.

Meanwhile the RSPCA Freedom Food scheme has many turkeys available ready killed on the supermarket shelves and according to Mia Fernyhough, RSPCA Farm Animal Welfare scientist, this is fine because the turkeys were given a better quality of life and so people wishing for a turkey dinner should choose Freedom Food turkeys.

Since the two turkeys who are the subject of the radio show are free range from Callow Farm, one has to wonder if the RSPCA’s objections are real or if they are a marketing ploy aimed at damaging the competition.

A more serious issue needs to be thought about.  How many people actually think about where their food comes from?  The radio show is trying to bring the reality home to people.

Roadkill fashion? Don’t do this at home

Reading about the latest fashion trend, roadkill fur,  reminded us of a case that came in to the SHG a long time ago.

An ex-squaddie suffered from combat stress resulting from the time he was serving in Aden and sent in to fire into a building that intelligence said was full of terrorists. He did and the bodies were all women and children.

In an attempt to try and stop the nightmares he started drinking.

He kept a few rabbits and one day found a dead fox that had been killed by a car. Thinking he could make himself a Davy Crockett hat the fox was skinned and hung to cure.

The RSPCA prosecuted on the grounds that even though these were domesticated rabbits they would be terrified of the smell of fox fur hanging in the same air space, as foxes are natural predators of rabbits.

The RSPCA eventually dropped the case, but not until they had put this poor man through utter misery to the point that we were on suicide watch.

He died of cancer a couple of years later, so the RSPCA can no longer hurt him.

Does the irresponsible importation of puppies and dogs by charities like the RSPCA endanger every dog in the UK?

Who would have thought that dogs are being regularly imported to the UK by the very British charities who are claiming that we have a massive dog overpopulation problem?

Since last February the Brighton branch of the UK animal charity the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has helped find new families for 114 stray and neglected dogs from a number of animal rescue associations in Portugal, having re-homed all but two of the dogs that were shipped there (to Brighton) over the past year.

The SHG has been informed that many rescues import dogs from abroad because there is a shortage of easily saleable animals (re-homeable for a fee).  Nevertheless, we were surprised to be sent proof that the RSPCA in Brighton regularly sells such imports via its branch rehoming facilities, not just from Portugal, but from Ireland as well.

Toby Portugal Liam Ireland Joy Portugal James Ireland Dave Portugal

 

German Shepherd Rescue have long argued that every rescue dog that comes into the UK from Ireland is a risk to the life of a rescue dog already in the UK.

Bizarrely the RSPCA has also stated that Irish animal welfare charities should stop sending unwanted dogs to Britain for rehoming, and David Bowles of the RSPCA said the influx was affecting the ability of British charities to find suitable homes for unwanted and abandoned dogs. “There are enough dogs in the UK that need rehoming. Around 10,000 dogs have to be euthanised every year due to lack of good homes in England and Wales alone,”

But now there is a far greater risk than an imported dog simply taking the home that would have been available for a British dog.  There are concerns that the risk of Rabies has risen and there is now the added risk of a dog carrying ebola entering the country.  If that happens the authorities would have no option but to cull every animal that might have come into contact with that dog or its contacts ad infinitum.

Would any responsible rescue continue the practice of importing dogs knowing the risks they are taking with the lives of every dog already in the country?

 

Has the time come to re-instate quarantine and suspend the pet travel scheme as the ebola epidemic spreads?

Few people could  fail to be sorry to hear that Excalibur, the pet dog of a Spanish nursing assistant who contracted ebola, has been killed in the interests of public health.  It becomes even more heartbreaking to read about how his owners had left him with a bathtub full of water and 30 pounds of dry food when they were taken away to be quarantined.

One wonders whether any of the protesters or the people who signed the petition aimed at saving Excalibur had thought about what would happen to all of the other animals in the country if there was a full blown outbreak of ebola.  Here in the UK it is almost certain that ebola or even rabies would lead to mass culling of animals as a precaution.

It is known that dogs can pass ebola on to people.

Thus, dogs
appear to be the first animal species shown to be naturally
and asymptomatically infected by Ebola virus.
Asymptomatic Ebola infection in humans has also been
observed during outbreaks (18) but is very rare. Although
dogs can be asymptomatically infected, they may excrete
infectious viral particles in urine, feces, and saliva for a
short period before virus clearance, as observed experi-
mentally in other animals. Given the frequency of contact
between humans and domestic dogs, canine Ebola infec-
tion must be considered as a potential risk factor for human
infection and virus spread. Human infection could occur
through licking, biting, or grooming. Asymptomatically
infected dogs could be a potential source of human Ebola
outbreaks and of virus spread during human outbreaks,
which could explain some epidemiologically unrelated
human cases. Dogs might also be a source of human Ebola
outbreaks, such as the 1976 Yambuku outbreaks in
Democratic Republic of Congo (19), the 1995 Kikwit out-
break, some outbreaks that occurred in 1996 and 2004 in
Gabon and Republic of Congo (5), and the 1976 (6), 1979
(20), and 2004 (21) outbreaks in Sudan, the sources of
which are still unknown. Together, these findings strongly
suggest that dogs should be taken into consideration dur-
ing the management of human Ebola outbreaks. To con-
firm the potential human risk of Ebola virus–infected dogs,
the mechanisms of viral excretion (i.e. body fluids and
virus kinetics of excretion) should be investigated during
experimental canine infection. This research would also
offer insights into the natural resistance of dogs.
Considering the dangers of diseases like ebola and rabies perhaps DEFRA should consider re-instating quarantine and suspending the pet travel scheme.  Unless of course we are prepared to see mass slaughter and animals and people dying of untreatable diseases?

The RSPCA is recruiting your children – and you don’t even know

Have you stopped to wonder why there have been so many reports of children raising money for the RSPCA this year?  It seems that the RSPCA wants your children and has pulled out all the stops to get them used to supporting and fund raising for the RSPCA while they are still young and impressionable.

What child aged between 6 and 12 could resist the challenge to become an “Animal Champion”?  Especially during the long and sometimes boring summer holidays?  What parent when faced with the demand for entertainment could resist a package deal of activities to keep their youngsters entertained?  This is the lure of the RSPCA Animal Champion scheme which is now recruiting chilren for its Christmas 2014 season.  So what’s the problem?

Not at all prominent is the fact that one of the five activities which can be chosen from a total of 17 is a compulsory “small fund raising challenge“.  In order to obtain the special Champion Fundraiser badge children have to raise over £50.  In order to obtain just the basic Animal Champion certificate and award they have to have completed the five challenges including the compulsory fund raising challenge.

Most parents and children will read about the scheme in the media. But much of the publicity for the RSPCA Animal Champion scheme fails to mention the fundraising part.   Can you imagine the harassed parent, especially one on low income, faced with a child who needs to complete their fundraising challenge to get the goodies that have been promised?  Especially if all of their childrens’ friends are taking part and peer pressure kicks in?

There are restrictions on how long and at what ages children can work.  Concerned parents might wonder if setting up small fund raising businesses with the pressure of achieving a target that will be virtually unattainable for most is the best way for their chidren to spend their holiday time.

Add to the scheme the RSPCA’s free lesson plans for teachers, their resources for school councils and even assemblies, and you can see that busy teachers are quite likely to gratefully grab ready made material that they don’t have to think too much about.

All of this is designed to capture the minds of your children.  To persuade them that they should support the RSPCA and accept what they are taught in RSPCA produced lessons.  Lessons that the RSPCA themselves claim are suitable to be presented in subjects as diverse as English, Science and Maths.

Remember that by the time children qualify for the Animal Champions scheme at age 6, or are being taught from RSPCA produced materials in school, they have already been softened up to believe “RSPCA is Good” via the various RSPCA books and toys aimed at very young children.

Do you think your children have a chance to resist RSPCA driven peer pressure to conform?  What are you going to do to help them think for themselves?

 

 

 

Copycat danger following Manchester Dogs’ Home fire publicity

Manchester Dogs’ Home will now rebuild following the fire that killed so many dogs.  Thanks to the pubicity and the generosity of the public over £1 million has been raised.

The publicity is, however, a double edged sword, increasing the likelihood of copycat attacks on any kenneling faciity, whether it is a rescue, a business or a private owner with dogs kept outside.

Everyone should re-assess their security measures.  More importantly everyone should re-assess their fire safety precautions.

What materials in the kennels would burn?  Can they be replaced?  Are there alarms, sprinklers and fire extinguishers present?

At least contact your local fire brigade and ask them to do an inspection and offer advice on how best to ensure the safety of your dogs.

Please raise this issue with any facility you know that kennels dogs (or other animals).

 

 

The RSPCA mocks the caring public

Having publicised itself as the first port of call for all animal related issues, the RSPCA is now mocking those members of the public who believed the hype and turned to it for help and advice.

Remember as you read the scornful comments that all of these people have tried to help an animal or the RSPCA. We all know how difficult it is to contact the RSPCA, so these people must have persevered against all the odds to try and help.

When you know that the RSPCA have campaigned against dressing animals in clothing and against the keeping of exotics it puts the call informing them of a monkey dressed in a rabbit suit in context. The sort of call their campaigns imply they would like to hear about.

Thinking about the RSPCA campaigns and prosecutions for causing psychological suffering to animals, prosecutions for shouting at a dog for instance, doesn’t that make the caller who thought that calling a dog a mongrel was insulting sound reasonable? No doubt the tone of voice used had some relevance too.

Wouldn’t any organisation be pleased to be asked to send a representative to a birthday lunch as a guest?  Be grateful for the opportunity to meet other members of the public and talk about what they do?  Not the RSPCA.

Having promoted care for wildlife the RSPCA considers it bizarre that a member of the public might ring them and ask for information on what they might expect to see and hear when watching foxes mating. So very sad that this person’s genuine interest was dismissed as ‘bizarre’.

Also very sad is the RSPCA’s dismissal of the person who believed that the RSPCA existed to help sick and injured animals and rang them when she saw what she thought was a poorly rat on her kitchen floor.  Imagine her embarrassment  when the inspector pointed out that it was an onion that had rolled out of her bag, and her mortification on finding her mistake splashed across the media.

A mistake yes, but the RSPCA tells people not to approach wildlife because of the danger the animal can pose and because of the stress it can cause the animal. Would they have preferred her to leave it to suffer?

No doubt there will be many members of the public who will walk away in future instead of trying to help for fear of being mocked and pilloried for daring to care.

The RSPCA gets catty and claims a surplus

Local branches of the RSPCA have been declaring a “Cat Crisis” around the country.  They claim to be inundated with cats and published articles imply that there are hundreds of cats at each branch in need of new homes.

Clicking on an article at random on 19th September, it appears that rehoming centres across the North are full of abandoned cats. Some branches and centres, the article claimed, have more than a hundred waiting for homes.

We went to have a look at the two centres mentioned, Great Ayton and Felledge, expecting huge numbers of moggies to be available for re-homing.

Great Ayton had 16 animals to re-home, of which 10 were cats.  Today it had 18 pets to rehome, of which 8 were cats.

Felledge had 26 animals to re-home, of which 13 are cats.  Today it had 35 pets to rehome, of which 20 were cats.

A report from Maidstone RSPCA claimed they were full, with 60 cats looking for homes.  But on their site only 17 cats were listed and about half were reserved.  Today there are 21 cats on their site, 8 of which are marked Rehomed, and one is marked ‘reserved’.

RSPCA Coventry claim to be full with 47 cats in care and another 200 on their waiting list.  But there are only 11 cats shown as available for rehoming.

RSPCA Rochdale is reported as full with around 70 cats housed there, but only 15 cats are available for adoption on their site.

Cross referencing the RSPCA branches and rehoming centres around the country to the claims made in articles publicising the ‘Cat Crisis’ it was clear that although ‘hundreds’ of cats were mentioned, in reality there were very few available.  (Equally puzzling was the lack of Staffordshire bull terriers looking for homes, but that is the subject of another post).

So what is going on?  Well, there are a few clues in the articles that have been appearing round the country but they indicate a strange collusion between local branches and centres whose main selling point to the donating public has been their independence from the RSPCA in Horsham.

Consider the following quotes:

RSPCA animal operations manager for the Midlands and North region, Peter Bolton, said: “The RSPCA is struggling on all fronts with this cat crisis. Our inspectors are being called out constantly to deal with sick, injured, neglected or abandoned cats.

“Our hospitals are full with injured cats whose owners appeared to have dumped them.

“We have more cats than ever who have been cruelly treated.

“Our staff across the region, whether they are in an RSPCA centre, branch, hospital or a field officer, are all saying the same – we are dealing with a cat crisis and it is getting worse.”

and

Paul Williams, branch operations manager for the south, said: “The RSPCA is struggling on all fronts with the cat crisis.

“Our inspectors are being called out constantly to deal with sick, injured, neglected or abandoned cats, Our hospitals are full with injured cats whose owners appear to have dumped them.

“We have more cats than ever that have been cruelly treated and our centres across the region are just full with cats and kittens needing new homes.

“Our staff across the region, whether they are in an RSPCA centre, branch, hospital or a field officer all say the same – we are dealing with a cat crisis and it is getting worse.

Confused?  Wondering if Paul Williams gave the quote or if Peter Bolton did?  Or if it was invented by someone at HQ?

There is more.

Alex Boothby, manager of Suffolk East Coast Branch let the cat out of the bag.  he said

“We are meant to keep spaces free for cruelty cases and we are struggling to do that at the moment. We have got cats coming out of our ears.

We know that the RSPCA no longer takes owner surrendered animals or strays.  They only take “RSPCA generated” animals.

Is this why the branches are claiming to have hundreds of cats but have hardly any available for rehoming?  Because RSPCA inspectors are targeting cats?

If there is a difference between the number of animals being held on behalf of RSPCA HQ and animals available for rehoming then the RSPCA, local or national, should be honest and say so.  The current situation is confusing and misleading.

The RSPCA just don’t get it – even when they realise that their brand has become toxic

When news of the internal RSPCA memo leaked to the Times started to break it was obvious that although the RSPCA were beginning to realise that their brand had become toxic they were still in denial about the reasons for the public’s disquiet, even though the author, Paul Draycott,  warned that the RSPCA will not be around in ten years time if it does not address the way it is perceived by the general public.

In the past, the RSPCA’s first instinct has been to try and silence their critics.   Copies of the leaked memo have now been removed from James Barrington’s blog  by request, although he does not state by whose request.  Inevitably, all that this has achieved is the clandestine circulation of the memo among critics and the boosting of its popularity on social media.

The author of the report is right to be concerned but wrong to look anywhere but the RSPCA itself for the reasons behind the current downward spiral.

The downward spiral is not the result of a campaign of villification against the RSPCA orchestrated in conjunction with the Countryside Alliance,  nor is it the result of a lack of support among other campaigning groups.  The fault is not the arrival of Gavin Grant and his ‘in yer face’ political campaigns, although they may have hastened the decline.

For many years the RSPCA has been the ‘golden boy’ of the British media.  Criticisms were either ignored or drowned out by a tidal wave of ‘fluffy bunny’ stories.  The problem for the RSPCA was that in order to keep their media presence they always had to be saying something.  And that something had to be both new and at least slightly upsetting for its target (the donating) audience.

Somewhere in the scrabble for column space the RSPCA discovered that busy journalists rarely had time to check the facts and figures provided in RSPCA press releases .  The figures the RSPCA released began to misrepresent the facts.  Prosecutions became more controversial.  Vulnerable people and groups who would normally be seen as supporters of the RSPCA were perceived as being targeted to raise the numbers of successful prosecutions.  People who were the subject of RSPCA investigations and prosecutions committed suicide and even went missing.  Even those who went on to win their cases and who came out of court with a ‘Not Guilty’ verdict found they had no animals left.  Small sanctuaries, popular among local people, found themselves prosecuted.  Supporters claimed it was because they had attracted donations the RSPCA believed were rightfully theirs.

It did not need glamorous media campaigns driven by the Countryside Alliance to  change the public’s perception of the RSPCA.  The RSPCA achieved it all by themselves.

New ideas which are a complete reversal of generally accepted facts take time to become accepted by the public.  To some extent it is a bit like a nuclear reaction.  It doesn’t matter how agitated or active any individual becomes, unless the people they interact with are prepared to accept those ideas and pass them on, nothing happens.  But when lots of people know someone they don’t think should have been prosecuted, or know about an animal they think was killed unnecessarily, then just like a nuclear reaction that has gone out of control the public viewpoint changes.

There have been lots of warnings over the years that should have alerted the RSPCA to what was happening.  They were ignored.  Having gained a  special position, not only in the eyes of the public and the media, but in the prosecution system too, the RSPCA appears to be unable to accept any criticism or to understand that they only have friends because their friends approve of what they are doing.

Mr. Draycott is correct in worrying that millions of pounds in sponsorship from companies could be lost, but if it is lost it will not be because of political campaigning.  It will be because those who care about the animals in their lives are appalled at the high kill rates and the targeting of vulnerable people.  These people, who fear for their own animals’ safety, are telling companies that they will not patronise those who donate to the RSPCA.  The SHG has been asked to publish a list of companies with links to the RSPCA so that people know who to avoid.

Again, the potential for people changing their wills is a real possibility.  But the reasons are varied.  Even ignoring the horror many people feel at the way the RSPCA treats both animals and the vulnerable, why would anyone leave property to the RSPCA when they fail to follow the wishes of the donor and bulldoze the wildlife haven he left them?   When they go to court to wring more out of the family and friends of the person who left them the money?  Or when they even auction the childhood toys of a daughter who was ultimately successful in challenging her parents’ wills?  If the RSPCA is receiving reports that people are reluctant to leave them legacies they only have themselves to blame.

Legacies and donations fall when people do not believe in the core values of the organisation.   The RSPCA has moved so far away from its ordinary supporters that when it finally realised there was a problem and sent an employee to join internet forums to interact with members, the wave of anger and opposition drove the RSPCA to disappear from the forum, which has now run to 166 pages of posts.

A measure of how angry and disillusioned the public is about the RSPCA is the success of a government e-petition asking for an investigation into the RSPCA’s activities and infringements of civil rights,  which has currently reached nearly 10,000 signatures.

The Draycott report concluded that the RSPCA was “fighting too many battles on too many fronts” and that it needed to regroup and resolve its most urgent problems.  The trouble is that when problems are left to fester they tend to multiply.  The RSPCA has a major problem looming that was only touched on in the report.

The report states:

The Charity Commission has just responded to our latest response to the complaint letter from the NFU.  The fact that they have requested a meeting with the Trustees is worrying.  We need to make sure that when this takes place that all the Trustees are aware of the potential risks involved.  It is quite clear that the stakes have now been raised.

The stakes have been raised far higher than the RSPCA realise.

The Charity Commission recently  published revised public benefit guidancePart 4 of that guidance requires a charity to identify risks of harm, minimise those risks of harm, and to make sure that any harm that might arise is a minor consequence of carrying out the purpose.

The issues and concerns mentioned in this article are the tip of the iceberg in terms of the harm done by the RSPCA.  Can they justify that harm as a minor consequence of carrying out their purpose?  Perhaps the real question is:

How many horses are worth a man’s life?

Will there be a £3 million defecit in the 2013 accounts?  Will they be gone in ten years time?  That is up to the RSPCA itself.

Charity regulators cull RSPCA badger campaign

Despite early reports indicating that the Charity Commission had cleared the RSPCA of any wrongdoing in its campaigns for an end to the badger cull, it was clear that the RSPCA had been required to back track on Gavin Grant’s  calls for farmers involved in the cull to be named and shamed.  The RSPCA also had to  clarify that it had no plans for a milk boycott.  It later became apparent that the Charity Commission’s decision to close this case ‘does not mean that our regulatory duty towards the RSPCA is ended‘.

The Commission intends to meet with the RSPCA’s trustees to ‘discuss the wider issues raised by this case and by the RSPCA’s activities in general’.

Despite stating that “the RSPCA condemns all harassment, intimidation and violence” the RSPCA’s Freedom Food scheme has  written to members warning they will be excluded from the scheme if they take part in the cull, and Gavin Grant stated on Panorama that those who took part in the cull would be named and possibly shamed.

The problem with the RSPCA’s statements is not that they will carry out their threats but that their supporters will take their cue from any comment or statement made by anyone in the RSPCA, especially those seen to be in positions of power within the organisation, such as Mr. Grant.

A pensioner has already put posters up around her village accusing a man of being one of the marksmen hired to shoot badgers.  Others believed to be land owners taking part in the cull are being subjected to harassing visits and telephone calls.

More extreme actions damaging property and risking the lives of people and animals have begun.  A police firing range near Bristol has been burnt to the ground.  Anti-badger cull groups claim responsibility.

The Charity Commission must rein in the RSPCA and make it clear that hyping up people’s emotions is dangerous and not something that a responsible charity, and especially a charity that claims to uphold the law and prosecute the irresponsible should ever contemplate doing.

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