RSPCA Press Release

THE RSPCA’s new chief has pledged that in future the charity will concentrate on the welfare and rehoming of animals and be less adversarial and political. 

  In an outspoken interview chief executive Jeremy Cooper apologised for past mistakes and said the charity’s past regime had dragged too many people through the courts.

  Mr Cooper has taken over from Gavin Grant who left in 2014, citing medical grounds, after an unsettled few years in office. 

  The RSPCA’s campaign against the badger cull had led to farmers feeling alienated, Mr Cooper said. The RSPCA wanted to be honest, to admit its mistakes and prevent them taking place again, he added.

  The charity has been criticised strongly in recent times, prompting a Parliamentary enquiry and a report which recommended swingeing changes in the way it is run. It is being decided currently whether it should be responsible for investigating and prosecuting cases.

  The RSPCA has been accused of putting too much store by and spending too much money on political campaigning and prosecutions far removed from the type of work it was set up to do. It has been labelled heavy-handed in the way it has treated some animal welfare cases and at times criticised by disaffected staff.

  As a result donations have fallen.

  “We’re going to be a lot less political,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we won’t stand up for animals, but we’re not a political organisation.

  “My style of advocacy is encouragement and dialogue. Previously, the leadership was too adversarial. If you want to shout and use rhetoric that’s fine but it isn’t helpful to anybody. 

  “It is not going to make friends and influence people. People won’t like you for it.”

  The RSPCA will investigate allegations of hunting taking place illegally, he said, but would pass its findings to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for decision. However, in a later statement the charity said it would reserve the right to proceed with investigations if the authorities failed to act.

 Rebuild morale

Mr Cooper praised the work of the charity’s staff and said he wanted to rebuild their morale, adding that he would like the good work the RSPCA does to be acknowledged.

  Now, he said, the charity would be looking forward, and concentrating on animal welfare, the prevention of cruelty, rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming. 

  “That is what we’re about,” he said.

  Afterwards, a spokesman said the charity remained ‘as committed as ever’ to speaking out for vulnerable animals. 

  “We make no apologies for our campaigning work which has resulted in the introduction and amendment of many laws to protect our pets, wildlife, farm animals and animals used in research, but we accept we got the tone wrong sometimes,” he said.

  “Likewise, we make no apologies for prosecuting people in instances where there is clear evidence of animal cruelty.

  “Following an independent review of our prosecution activity and in line with one of the recommendations of that review, the charity’s trustees agreed to change its policy and to pass suitable cases involving traditional hunts and suitable farm cases to the police for investigation enabling the CPS to prosecute if appropriate. However, we reserve the right to proceed with such investigations if the authorities fail to act.”

  The fact that the number of prosecutions had dropped highlighted that welfare was improving and educational messages were more available, he said.

  “We hope this trend will continue,” he said. “However, we do apologise for the specific incidents where we have got it wrong. As a charity we have limited resources and we are dealing with huge numbers of calls.

  “We apologise for past mistakes where an investigation wasn’t carried out to the standard we would hope, both for the animal involved and their owners. The RSPCA has and always will be committed to tackling cruelty to animals.”

For the file

The RSPCA have been pressing government to give them more powers to enter people’s property and seize animals. The answer was given in the House of Lords recently:- The following is from Hansard
Asked by Lord Donoughue
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord De Mauley on 11 March (WA 374), what offence would be committed by an RSPCA inspector making entry, or attempting to make entry, to private property of a private home without the permission of the owner.[HL33]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks): If the RSPCA are investigating an allegation of animal cruelty and the owners do not co-operate or refuse entry to their property, the RSPCA would normally call upon the assistance of the police. The RSPCA has no special powers for entry or search and seizure—these powers lie with police constables and some local authority officers.
As such they would be subject to the law as any member of the public would be.

So the RSPCA will currently NOT be given powers to enter private homes without the permission of the owner

You may have missed this.

As is written repeatedly this blog relies on input from you. Whilst fully aware that some Glen of Imaal Terrier people have no interest in Field Sports others do which is why we agree that, yes, this should be bought to attention.

Whilst the Olympics were on the RSPCA quietly dropped the private prosecution it had brought against Heythrop huntsman Julian Barnfield relating to two allegations from the 2010/11 hunting season. In offering no evidence the RSPCA admitted what we had always believed; that the allegations were spurious and completely without merit. This retreat should not go unnoticed, however, not least as the RSPCA has launched a second, larger prosecution involving Heythrop hunt staff, masters and the hunt as a whole.

There is something very unseemly about the RSPCA using the court system to pursue its political agenda. Worse than that, the costs of these legal adventures are being borne by you and me. The bill for preparing and fighting Julian’s case is well into 5 figures and common sense would suggest that the organisation that chose to prosecute should meet that cost. The court, however, decided that the taxpayer should pay for the failure of the RSPCA’s prosecution through public funds.

Simon Hart MP recently asked the Ministry of Justice how much money had been paid from public funds to meet the cost of failed RSPCA prosecutions. He was told that the Ministry did not hold such figures. When Legal Aid funding is being cut to the bone it cannot be right that the Government is signing cheques to meet the cost of failed RSPCA prosecutions without even the most basic of scrutiny.

Of course there are also significant costs to the RSPCA in bringing prosecutions, whether they win or lose. Solicitors and barristers do not come cheap, especially for a huge case like that it plans against the Heythrop. Yet the RSPCA is currently making a 130 staff redundant and imposing cuts that will undoubtedly impact on its important animal welfare work.

The RSPCA faces charges of politicising the legal process, skewed internal priorities and wasting public money. It would be well advised to leave the hunting field and concentrate on real animal welfare issues.

Radio….and regional television.

Radio 5 Live, during the Richard Bacon show tonight, is intending to do a phone in about the RSPCA’s bolt gun killing of the German Shepherds a few weeks ago. The live debate will be between Jayne Shenstone of German Shepherd Rescue and Tim Wass of the RSPCA.

If you receive the East Midlands regional programmes Inside Out at 7.00pm may be of interest; they are covering unfair vet charges!

Serious reading again.

After Pedigree Dogs Exposed an independant review was commisioned by the RSPCA. When it came out it was discussed at great length and people were not too happy with its “findings”. (It can be read here to refresh the memory). A review of the review has now been written and it calls many of the findings into account. What Dr John Hubble CBiol MLBiol, CEng FIChemeE,  a Rottweiler breeder and exhibitor, found in his detail reply is worth reading.

Where were we?

Back to the post of the 17th and how “things” would affect Glen of Imaal Terriers. Mother to son might have been the only mating actually mentioned but the layman’s (and the RSPCA are) concept of inbreeding is what anybody with any knowledge of stock would consider line breeding; the essential way to get type and eradicate faults whether you are breeding dogs, cats, horses or guinea pigs!

There are very obvious Glens of today to use as examples of what wouldn’t be allowed but Glens of today, as yet, are just that; today. There is no knowledge as to their legacy so for that reason the ONLY Glen to use has to be Eversley Patrick. A dog that reached the pinnacle of being known by all Glen followers, owner, exhibitor and judge, by his call name of Berg.

Berg won virtually everything that could be won by a very rare breed back in the late 70s and early 80s. Now it is quite normal for “Rares” to be placed at a very high level but back then it wasn’t and as there were far, far fewer breed classes for all breeds Glens had to fight their way through the huge N.S.C classes and Berg did this regularly and with great success. Berg could show but Berg is what he did for the breed; Berg is his progeny.

Berg though, if the pedigree is studied, was virtually himself. There were few Glens around then and the same names appear again and again in his pedigree. He just balances that fine line between what dog people would term close linebreeding and inbreeding. Current ideas being mooted would not allow him to be. If Berg had never happened neither would Zac, the first Glen to get a Best Puppy in Show. Little Lee, the first Glen to get Best In Show. Tom, the only Glen to get a Junior Warrant. Blue, the first Glen to enter the big ring at Crufts. India would not have led the breed into the States and neither Soldier nor Murphy would have had the title of the most successful Glen brothers ever…because they wouldn’t have existed. Homer wouldn’t have been able to be the first big transatlantic winner and none of the current UK Champions would have happened. Glens of Imaal Terriers as everybody knows them would not have happened because Berg didn’t……and if some thinking goes ahead there will never be another Berg!

…..oh it’s just the RSPCA….

The post of the 17th got a lot of personal comment; too much to be answered in one session so this week could be a bit heavy on the reading. At Driffield dog show one person said “oh, surely it’s just the RSPCA having a pop so if we keep our heads down it’ll all blow over”. The only words that spring to mind are “HOW INNOCENT”. Turn up the mac collar and pull down the trilby here and it is fully realised that America is a long way west of here but the following are posted just for the record and interest.

PETA has this on their site:- The AKC demands that dogs adhere to strict breed guidelines even when they’ve been proved to cause medical problems, like with pugs’ breathing difficulty. Sound familiar?

PETA has just run a poster campaign:- a large heap of body bags containing dead dogs. Remind anybody of a certain campaign run here?

Wednesday was a black day for dog owners all across America, as animal rights extremists posted legislative victories in Dallas, California and Pennsylvania. Dog owner advocacy groups fought hard in all three contests and had clear majority support, but animal rights groups such as People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Humane Society of the United States cashed in political chips with elected officials. PETA and HSUS have been infiltrating local and state advisory boards for many years, backed by a war chest exceeding $150 million, hundreds of paid employees and thousands of volunteers. Apathy remains the greatest problem faced by dog ownership advocacy groups. The system may be a bit different here but again does anything sound familiar?

Just the RSPCA eh?