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.

Important message: Government does not protect

As the badger cull trundles onwards with claim and counterclaim from pro and anti camps, there is an important lesson to be learned that does not seem to appear on the radar of anyone involved:

Government does not protect anyone or anything in perpetuity.

Worse, if government knows where anything or anyone who falls out of favour can be found then they are at best at risk, and at worst in danger of destruction.

Those who wish to protect animals or plants would do well to keep their existence and location secret.  Governments change.  Policies change.

Any form of registration or licensing creates a database for anyone who has the authority to use to destroy either a section or the entirety of any species.

Register, micro-chip or license your dog?  What happens if he is one of the next breed to be banned?  No chance then of claiming he is a cross-breed or of hiding him from the death squads.

Notify the authorities of bat colonies?  What happens if bats fall out of favour?  If the government of the day decides a cull is needed?  After all, who would have believed that badgers who were so strictly protected with their own Act of Parliament would be the subjects of mass culling at the hands of government?