The RSPCA have a 10 year plan which bodes ill for animal owners

Not very long ago it was completely normal for a dog to have puppies or a cat to have kittens and for the owners to sell the offspring. Who would have thought that in so short a time it would become a criminal offence to sell the puppies or kittens your own animal produced naturally? Who would have thought that you would need permission from the Local Authority to let them breed and have to go through an expensive licensing procedure before you are allowed to do so?

Who would have thought that shadowy prosecuting Animal Rights groups would gloat that although no animal welfare issues had been found, a failure to be properly licensed was a serious safeguarding matter?

Animal Protection Services said there were no identified concerns around the welfare of the animals in Smith’s care, but said the undermining of the statutory licensing regime is “serious” and impacts the wider community, as well as being necessary for safeguarding animals.

How has all of this come about?

To begin with most of the animal related legislation that has been passed by Parliament is now either designed to increase sentences or to impose draconian bureaucratic restrictions on those who live and work with animals. Legislation has been based on demands by animal rights groups such as the RSPCA without giving sufficient consideration to what those groups will do with the legislation once it becomes law or even what it will mean for animal welfare.

The RSPCA has a 10 year strategy. A bit like the old Communist block 10 year plans. Take a look at their aims and it is clear that in order to achieve them we are facing yet more bureaucratic legislation. Nothing that has been done legislatively since the RSPCA’s Protection of Animals Act 1911 has altered the animal welfare prosecution and conviction rates. In Wales, as in England, they oscillate but never really improve.

What do the RSPCA plan to do?

Reduce cruelty to animals by half – to reduce neglect, abuse and cruelty to companion animals, including exotic pets, in England and Wales by 50%.

Prevent ‘petfishing‘ – to end the illegal selling of puppies and kittens in the UK.

Boost farm animal welfare – to see more than half of all UK’s farm animals reared to RSPCA welfare standards. To encourage people to ‘eat less, eat better’ by encouraging people to consume less meat, fish, eggs and dairy from low-welfare farms and to only choose higher-welfare labels.

End severe suffering in research – to secure a global commitment to developing, validating and accepting non-animal technologies to replace animal experiments, and put an end to the severe suffering of laboratory animals.

Secure legal protection for animals – to help establish animal protection as a significant UK governmental goal supported by an independent public body, legally established, an Animal Protection Commission.

Help our inspectors rescue animals sooner – to achieve statutory powers in England and Wales for RSPCA inspectors under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.

Get the UN onboard for animals – to secure the adoption by the United Nations of a comprehensive Universal Declaration on Animal Welfare.

Inspire a one million-strong movement for animal welfare by 2030 – to use our new Community Engagement Programme to mobilise more people to help us help animals.

What can we take from these aims?

If bureaucratic breaches are to be considered as cruelty then it is certainly going to be easy to reduce the figures, especially if yet more such legislation is enacted.

Can we really believe that the real cruelty is going to just evaporate while everyone is running around enforcing technical breaches? Or will the continuing failure to deal with it be hidden under a mass of petty bureaucracy that brings in huge fines and confiscation orders?

The RSPCA makes no secret of the fact that it believes that exotics should not be kept as pets . If they succeed in getting some or all types of exotic keeping banned then naturally cruelty figures will fall as the animals die out. Think of the Judge Death character in the comics who believes that life must be extinguished in order to prevent crime. What a role model for the RSPCA!

Targeting research is easy now that new cell based techniques and computer modelling are increasingly replacing animal experimentation. The replacement of animals generally is only a matter of time and the improvements are a result of scientific research, not RSPCA campaigns.

It is no surprise to see the RSPCA scrabbling for the powers created by the Animal Welfare Act 2006. The SHG warned when the Act was still a Bill proposed by the RSPCA that sooner or later the RSPCA would try to get those powers granted to them . Hopefully the current concerns relating to private prosecutions in general will persuade Parliament that empowering a charity is not a good idea.

The RSPCA was very active campaigning within the EU and now that the UK has left it is no surprise to see that they have turned their attention to the UN. Forcing the UK to abide by international laws driven by the RSPCA and other prominent Animal Rights groups cuts the ground from under the feet of those national politicians who are critical of RSPCA demands.

Perhaps the most cynical of their aims is to try and push their own RSPCA Assured label, increasing food prices, especially for the poorer sections of society. Higher welfare might be the aim, but the continual bad publicity as their suppliers fail and are outed by other animal rights groups does not instil confidence.

Read more of the RSPCA’s ten year plan and ask yourself what it will really mean for your ability to keep, breed, and work with the animals of your choice.