THE RSPCA :
See More details at www.petmafia.com.au
See More details at www.petmafia.com.au
LECTURER SAVES SOOTY-TWINKLE FROM RSPCA DEATH SENTENCE
77 year old pensioners Angelina and Sydney Levey were told by an RSPCA Inspector that their 19 year old cat, Sooty-Twinkle, had to be put down, because “it was half-starved, blind and had suffered liver failure”. Sydney phoned his son, Silvano, a senior lecturer at Keele University, who made a mercy dash to save his parent’s pet moggie. The vet they consulted told Silvano the cat’s only problem was that despite its daily shampoo, it had fleas. These were eliminated, and Sooty-Twinkle is still happily padding around the Levey house. The Leveys said that “Our pet would be dead now, if we had let her go with the inspector.” Silvano said “I would just like to urge people not to have blind faith in the RSPCA just because they expect what they say to be true.”
USES ANIMALS TO MAKE MONEY, AND
AVOIDS REAL WELFARE ISSUES
The Sooty-Twinkle story is from the UK, where controversy has begun to swirl around the august institution of the RSPCA, and where this story is but one of many that people are collecting to build up a picture of the RSPCA as a bureaucratic and heartless organization. The RSPCA is very good at impression management and PR work, they say, but doesn’t deliver the goods. Their primary concern has become how to keep the money flowing. The RSPCA budget is almost entirely funded by donations. RSPCA staff are paid handsomely, and get free housing loans. The UK’s ‘Director-General” since 1991 is ex-Major General Peter Davies, who gets paid ninety thousand pounds stirling per annum. They have just built a new Head Quarters costing ten million pounds. Other newly built local facilities now house more staff and less animals. Then there is the story of the RSPCA facility at Swansea. After ten years of fund-raising they felt ready to build a new and better center. But the money ran out! It now has excellent and spacious administrative offices, but room to keep just 27 dogs, whereas they had previously been able to house 140. Presumably the dogs that can no longer be housed will put down immediately, on the grounds of their age, unlikelihood of being re-homed, or some asserted (but unproven) defect? Perhaps 27 dogs are enough to create photo opportunities for the impression managers. (See details at http://members.aol.com/walk202/nini.htm)
COUNCIL MEMBER EXPELLED FOR ASKING QUESTIONS ABOUT BUDGET
A member of the British RSPCA Council, Margaret House, was expelled over ten years ago because she was asking questions about RSPCA priorities, and had begun to publish Watchdog, a newsletter circulated to RSPCA members, critical of the RSPCA. She was re-instated after taking her case to court, and she continues to publish. She is pleading for an investigation of the management of the RSPCA budget. “I believe that the Government should conduct an inquiry into the powers exercised by the RSPCA Council, and also into the use of the society's funds,” she said. (http://www.walk-wales.org.uk/Margarethouse.htm)
FARMERS SET UP SELF-HELP GROUP TO FIGHT RSPCA
In Wales the farmers reckon the RSPCA is made up of a bunch of “unreasonable extremists whose main aim seems to be the kudos gained from glamorous prosecutions”. They feel so strongly about the predatory character of the RSPCA’s relationship with the farming community that they have formed a Self Help Group (SHG) to defend themselves. You can read what they have to say at : http://cheetah.webtribe.net/~shg/selfhelp.htm
with the observation that RSPCA is an extremely
wealthy and powerful organisation, not at all under-resourced, they are most
upset that this money provides the RSPCA with apparently unlimited funds to
spend on prosecution costs.
APE POLICE STYLE TO GET IMPROPER LEVERAGE IN LEGAL SYSTEM, AND ONLY TARGET
deeply regret that the ranks, the uniforms and the name RSPCA “serve to
impress both members of the public and, unfortunately, some magistrates”.
prosecutions, they say, are nearly always of fairly hapless individuals.
FARMER DIES IN JAIL AFTER RSPCA PROSECUTION
am reminded of the sad case of Glynn Robertson here in Australia (briefly
reported in The Australian on 11th October 2001. He was jailed for shooting an
RSPCA Inspector in the face with a shotgun. This sounds terrible. We ask what
were the preceding circumstances? And we discover that the RSPCA Inspector had
come on to his property and simply shot several of his sheep. Well, we do need
more information. But it seems likely that the RSPCA Inspector was
over-bearing, rude and not of a mind to negotiate. We have to ask what kind of
behaviour would prompt an average kind of bloke on the land to actually get
out a gun and shoot. It would
also be interesting to find out what legal rights if any the Inspector had to
be on the property. The story as reported in the newspaper includes the
interesting information that Mr. Robertson died in jail, and that his estate
was plundered by the RSPCA to the tune of $150,000.
REPUTATION IN AUSTRALIA NEEDS A REALITY CHECK
– is the RSPCA in Australia more interested in money than in animals, do
they have excessively plush facilities and high salaries, and do they use
prosecutions as an easy way of getting cheap publicity and a public image that
is unsupported by what they actually do?
Certainly in Australia the RSPCA still has a generally good reputation – they are seen as tackling a hard job, they have more wins than losses, and they are regarded as a bulwark against psychopaths who obtain pleasure from hurting animals. They may not be able to cope with every problem, but that is generally thought to be an issue of resourcing, not a fundamental problem of RSPCA priorities. Perhaps we need to look more closely.
THE BIGGEST ISSUE
the main charges against the RSPCA in the UK is that they are hypocrites. In
the UK they are especially upset about so-called Freedom Farms, which
supposedly guarantee animal rights, but which critics characterize as
‘disgusting’. The RSPCA gets
a steady income from farms they accredit with the Freedom Farm label. This is
important enough for the RSPCA to spend approximately ninety thousand pounds
stirling, to investigate Council members and identify the source of the leaks
that gave rise to a BBC program critical of the RSPCA-Freedom Farm link. (See
details at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2002/02/07/nrspca07.xml)
Perhaps the more telling
datum is that they refuse to publish a list of ‘Freedom Farms” which have
to be tracked down by clever sleuthing.
Wales hypocrisy is also in focus – Welsh dog owners can’t see why the
RSPCA prosecutes dog owners for tail-docking, while approving the equally
nasty de-beaking of chickens. But the dogs are owned by individuals, and the
chickens are on farms from which the RSPCA gets royalties. And all the RSPCA
would need to do to call a halt to de-beaking is give the chickens a little
more space – this would stop the pecking that prompts the de-beaking.
Australia we do see a steady number of prosecutions of individuals. We also
see a failure to prosecute well-defended and/or powerful groups who perpetrate
the most dreadful atrocities. The most notable instance here is provided by
the live sheep trade.
FAILS TO PROSECUTE PERPETRATORS, OR STOP LIVE SHEEP TRADE
are well aware that the corporations and shipping companies who carry on the
live sheep trade with the Muslim Middle East consign thousands of animals to
death in hideous conditions in temperatures of up to 50 degrees Celsius. And
while the RSPCA has spoken against this, it has done nothing effective to stop
it. Certainly no-one has been hauled into court and made to pay massive fines.
MAKES NO PROTEST TO SAVE COWS FROM FACTORY-FARMNG TRENDS.
Australia the RSPCA has also remained silent regarding recent developments in
the dairy industry, that have generated a significant increase in the size of
herds. Dairy cows are now herded in numbers which preclude prevention of
suffering by any cow that is off colour, or for any reason cannot keep up with
the others, or with the daily automaticity of the milking-machine process. The
bovine equivalent of having a headache is enough to get the defenceless milker
sent off, in the equivalent of that ‘Animal Farm’ van, for slaughter as a
‘chopper cow.’ The problem of the size of the herds is exacerbated by the
need to put them in the charge of employees, who have a lesser commitment to
the well being of the animals than the owner who look after his own smaller
herd. All the problems of factory farming have just appeared in this area. The
RSPCA’s silence is deafening.
GIVES APPROVAL TO HALAL SLAUGHTER OF SHEEP
Australia, the RSPCA’s unwillingness to offend the sensibilities of a
relatively powerful religious community may be behind its grant of approval to
the halal slaughtering of
animals – whereby the sheep is ‘stunned’ with a blow to the head to make
it ‘lose consciousness’, and then has its throat slit, and is hung up so
it can die slowly as its blood drains on the floor. How certain can we be that
the sheep have really lost consciousness?
[The folk up at Waterford Corner where the proposed slaughter-house
(Muslim abbatoir) will be located with council approval (because it is on land
zoned ‘horticultural’) are less than impressed.]
KILLS THOUSANDS OF KANGAROOS FOR PET MEAT COMPANIES
we have instances in Australia when the RSPCA has moved beyond allowing
powerful groups to get away with horrible abuse of animals, and itself takes
on organizing large scale slaughters, or ‘culls’
– deemed OK so long as the way the animals are killed is deemed to be
‘humane’. These culls are normally explained as ‘necessary’ – to
protect environments from over-population, and human activities from animals
being a nuisance.
rights protesters campaigned in vain to save thousands of kangaroos said to be
over loading the carrying capacity of the land at Puckapunyal, the army base
in the southern state of Victoria. But there wasn’t even the
‘justification’ that the roos were eating grass that would otherwise have
nourished sheep – not a wooly-back in sight at Puckapunyal !!!
Further, roos never
breed in excess of the carrying capacity of the land – it is well-known that
if there isn’t enough grass, Mummy Roo simply doesn’t give birth until
then was the RSPCA promoting the kangaroo massacre – well, they stuck to
their fairly thin and contestable opinion that there were just too many
kangaroos around; but they sold the carcasses to the pet meat companies. You
may make your own deductions.
APPROVES DISGUSTING BARNS, FOR ROYALTIES ON ‘BARNLAID’ EGGS
in Victoria, animal rights protesters are fighting the RSPCA because of the
organisation’s links with the egg industry. PACE farms have been the main
focus of protest. The protesters say the eggs stamped as ‘barnlaid’ are a
joke at the public’s expense – the barns are dreadful, and the hens kept
in them are just about as badly off as the hens kept in the battery cages.
The problem is factory-farming, and the RSPCA has no business getting
into bed with factory-farmers.
Why would they even think about doing such a thing? Well, say the
protesters, they get a hefty amount of money from a royalty on each egg
stamped by the RSPCA as barn-laid. (http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2002/09/27/1032734326082.html
KILLS MORE THAN HALF OF ALL PUPS AND KITTENS THEY HANDLE
of the public approval of the RSPCA derives from the publicity material they
put out about how they find new homes for little puppies and kittens that
would otherwise have no prospects. Yet their placement record is abysmal, and
they have execution chambers in which every year thousands of puppies and
kittens are routinely exterminated without compunction, as the RSPCA goes
about its business of saving them from a life worse than death. Nationally, in
Australia, in 2000-2001, apart from the dogs that were reclaimed by their
were rehomed, but 25,911 were euthanased. Similarly, 63% of the cats received
by the RSPCA were ‘put down’. The stats are summarised on http://www.angelfire.com/sc2/petswelfare/links1.html
STAFF WEEP WHEN RSPCA ‘HIT SQUAD’ KILLS SEVENTY ADULT DOGS
The RSPCA is even capable of a mass exterminations of adults dogs taken into care. The most dramatic ‘incident’ I came across is from Wales, where Mrs. Bernice Jones spent a lifetime rescuing and caring for animals. She was secretary of the Gwent committee that ran the Newport shelter’s Ringland kennels in South Wales. HQ determined that the Ringland shelter had too many dogs, and sent out a ‘hit squad’ that instructed the Gwent personnel that on no account was anybody to tell anyone what happened, and then proceeded to slaughter seventy dogs. They were binned before rigor mortis had set in. The kennel girls felt they had to check that they were really dead, and wept as they pulled the dogs’ bodies out of the garbage bins to make absolutely sure none were still alive. Several members of the Ghent staff were reported as feeling suicidal, and one took an overdose of pills. (http://www.webtribe.net/~animadversion)
INDIVIDUALS PROVIDES QUICK FIX IN GETTING DONATIONS
us go back to the claim that the RSPCA has a penchant for prosecuting hapless
individuals. Why would this be their preferred modus operandi?
Observers say it regularly and predictably generates highly profitable
cheap publicity that apparently provokes too many old ladies into leaving the
RSPCA all their worldly wealth - on the grounds that they are doing a
wonderful job of protecting animals from nasty mean human beings – who,
ironically, often turn out to be fellow members of their own demographic
Welsh have noted that individuals charged by the RSPCA are likely to be
without adequate funds to obtain good legal advice. (Wealthy, powerful
individuals are unlikely, there as well as here, for reasons enumerated, to be
amongst those charged in the first place.)
DEEMS RABBIT A HIGHER PRIORITY THAN GRIEF OVER LOST CHILD
England Cyril Dixon (Daily Express, Jan. 28th 2003) reported the
case in which a grieving mother was taken to court by the RSPCA for neglecting
a pet rabbit, as she lay in hospital recovering from the loss of her unborn
child. Distraught Elizabeth Vallis and husband Simon forgot to feed the white
Angora when they were engulfed in sorrow after losing one of the twins they
were expecting. Despite the couple explaining their dilemma, the animal
charity decided to prosecute them for causing unnecessary suffering. How do we compare the
situation of one underfed white angora rabbit with the situation of thousands
of sheep dying inch-by-inch in the packed hell-holes of a cargo ship in
GOOD REPUTATION SCARES AWAY TARGET’S POTENTIAL SUPPORTERS
individuals selected by the RSPCA for exemplary prosecution have their
situation made worse because they find it hard to find anyone willing
to speak on their behalf.
professional witnesses (for instance) will often decline to even consider the
case, on hearing that the RSPCA is involved.”
RIGHTS ABUSED WHEN RSPCA ASSUMES RIGHTS OF ENTRY AND SEIZURE
The Welsh farmers are now aware of the legal framework and nature of the game-playing going on, and have pointed out to their Self Help Group that the RSPCA, has, in law, “no rights of access, no rights to inspect animals, or to demand answers to their questions.” They go on to warn members to beware that “Nevertheless, their employees often act as if they have such rights, and proceed to ignore the civil and legal rights of others in pursuit of their ends.”
Dr. Barry Peachey has issued similar warnings regarding the way RSPCA ‘inspectors’ assume a persona and rights of entry, seizure, etc. which they do not possess. See Appendix 1.
Moreover, to be legally acceptable, seizure of an animal has to be with the agreement of the owner, or in the presence and with the agreement of a real police officer.
USED BY RSPCA ARE OFTEN PROFESSIONALLY INCOMPETENT – OR WILLING TO LIE (OR
GIVE ONE-SIDED EVIDENCE)
British Equine Veterinarian Association (BEVA) had a Council meeting at which
they discussed the way the RSPCA, in cases they knew about, appeared to
prosecute cases more in order to generate publicity and gain ‘scalps’ than
to look after the welfare of the horses.
They put out a statement calling for greater levels of competence in
attending vets, and greater professionalism in the RSPCA. Inter alia
they told their members to observe that RSPCA ‘inspectors’ had no
statutory powers of entry to equine premises, stable yards or studs. . .
is an interesting twist on this problem with the vets. One needs to observe
how the RSPCA gets ‘their’ vets to have the only professional and
‘expert witness’ voice in court either by using a well honed practice of
destroying the evidence, e.g. by cremation of the animal, or the equally
strategic practice of keeping the animal(s) in question in a ‘safe haven’
where the owner cannot get through the phone system (e.g. by being forced to
leave messages which go unanswered) to arrange to get his or her expert to do
an examination of the animal close to the time the animal was seized (and
therefore with some chance of providing evidence deemed relevant by a court).
A third option is, of course, to prosecute only those individuals innocent
enough to think truth is an adequate defence, and that they don’t need, any
more than they can afford, ‘experts’ to speak on their behalf.
SUSPICION’ TO JUSTIFY ENTRY IS EASILY AND OFTEN ABUSED
In Australia ‘right of entry’ is predicated on ‘reasonable suspicion’.
But ‘reasonable suspicion’ is a shaky concept. “Reasonable suspicion” can be generated with a single phone call from a malicious individual – or from a person, who for nasty hostile personal reasons is specifically interested in making life difficult for the target.
With the habit of inspections well-entrenched at local government level in Australia, the RSPCA has abrogated to itself rights of entry legally restricted to local government employees. Yet those rights have often been identified as the most tyrannical ‘rights’ employed by any level of government in this country. Instead of being spread around, they ought to be challenged, contained, safe-guarded and restricted.
the RSPCA has a well-established habit of pushing the legal boundaries to the
maximum they can get away with, and relying on the vulnerability of those they
target for prosecution to keep them safe from themselves being sued for
IDENTIFY OTHER LEGAL IMPROPRIETIES IN RSPCA PROCEDURES.
more subtle analyses of the legal abuses perpetrated by the RSPCA are now
beginning to appear. I have put a sample briefing paper from Knights
(solicitors of Tunbridge Wells) in Appendix 2.
RSPCA ‘INSPECTORS’ JUST BULLY-BOYS IN SEARCH OF A CAREER PATH?
What legal rights, then, do the RSPCA actually have in pursuing people as they do? The answer is - like the classic bully-boy, the RSPCA intimidates and threatens the vulnerable, distorts the facts, argues in bad faith, gets vets to lie, all with the aim not of preventing suffering – for which, as we have seem, they themselves are directly responsible in numerous other circumstances – but with the direct goal of ‘obtaining another scalp’, getting media coverage, improving their stats, and looking as though they are doing something really useful, so that donations will continue to flow into their coffers.
CRITERIA ENSURES RSPCA INSPECTORS ARE CLASSIC ‘AUTHORITARIAN PERSONALITY’
drives the emotional mainspring of the RSPCA inspectorate?
Well, yes, they want to keep the money flowing, and will do whatever it
takes to persuade potential donors to continue funding their increasingly
excessive and wasteful expenditures. If this means using well-honed techniques
of intimidation, lying, victimization, and prosecutions designed to obtain
media coverage, well, that’s what it takes. But is there is a deeper set of
us disregard their PR hype about saving puppies and kittens (most of whom they
kill) and re-homing strays (most of whom they kill) and caring for the sick
and the wounded (most of whom they kill). Let us try and find out how the
RSPCA staff really regard their work.
evidence is available from a BBC documentary (or ‘docu-soap’) made with
the co-operation (or should we say collaboration) of the RSPCA in 1999. (I am
indebted for my information on this to Peter Paterson’s TV Program Review of
"Animal Police", in the
UK Daily Mail of February 9th 1999. Available on line at http://members.aol.com/walk202/pat.htm
us start with the title. No subtleties here – it is called ANIMAL POLICE. So
they do think of themselves as a police force (perhaps with the double charge
of policing human interaction with animals, and of keeping the animals
themselves in line – even when the only fault the animal might have
committed is the fault of being needy.)
In the first episode the RSPCA explained how an RSPCA ‘Inspector’ is selected and trained. Now we know that ‘Inspector’ is their lowest, entry point rank. So we can start with noting an indulgence in title inflation. The next question is to what extent this indicates some felt need for personal clout. It looks as though we are dealing with an organization that provides a ‘legitimated’ expression of domineering and officious behaviour. (Insofar as this is exercised against animals, the animals have no chance of any kind of comeback. They are dispatched to the next world very quickly for the sin of not being able to cope very well in this one. Insofar as this desire to call all the shots is exercised against people, the RSPCA is usually pretty safe if it chooses vulnerable, socially isolated individuals for their exemplary prosecutions.)
In the UK the RSPCA has 2000 applicants every year who aspire to become RSPCA Inspectors. They select 20. So the selection process does need to be fairly drastic. And indeed it is. What is the first and primary quality an RSPCA ‘inspector’ must possess? Well, the entry test for a potential recruit is go to an abbatoir and shoot a cow in the head. Yes, an RSPCA ‘Inspector’ must be capable of quick clean killing. Those who fail this test are not suitable for employment in the RSPCA. Not surprisingly this thins the ranks of the applicants quite efficiently.
am also pleased to tell you that most viewers of this episode were appalled,
and that rather than prompting more donations, it is likely that the RSPCA
miscalculated in coming clean with the BBC team, and many potential donors
RSPCAs pragmatic argument is that on a frosty morning on the Welsh hills, or
on a motorway, an inspector might have to kill a large animal - a horse,
perhaps, or a runaway circus tiger, so he or she had better be prepared,
emotionally and technically,” notes Paterson.
of these would-be inspectors are idealistic young people attracted by the idea
of helping animals and ending cruelty. Yet, as well as personally having to
kill a cow, they learn that the organisation they wish to join dispatches
90,000 animals a year 'most of them sick or injured' - and that, assuming they
pass the course, they will often be expected to kill.”
KILLING AS NORMAL PRACTICE : CORKY AND TOMMY TERMINATED - WHEN THEY HAD LOVING
OWNERS DESPERATELY SEARCHING FOR THEM
RSPCA’s penchant for killing is further documented in the story of Corky, a
14 year tabby who went missing. His owner reported him this to the RSPCA
shelter in the neighborhood. He gave the RSPCA a full description. He called
several times in the days that followed, drawing a blank each time – until
six days after the original phone call. When
he made that last call the RSPCA staff told them that Corky had in fact been
with them the entire previous week, but, they were so sorry, he’d been put
down just hours before the last phone call. It seems that Corky had been
picked up the day before he was reported missing and they hadn’t checked
back prior to the initial report. “Well” , said the RSPCA staff member
sanctimoniously, “it just goes to show the importance of having
identification tags on your animals”. Full story : http://www.webtribe.net/~animadversion
a valuable tortoise owned by Mrs. Barker since he was a wee thing 40 years
before, was put out into the street by new neighbours who weren’t sure why
he had tried to take a small stroll in their backyard. Another neighbour
further up called the RSPCA and an inspector came around to collect him. There
followed a saga of phone calls, rudeness, insistence that the ‘terrapin’
that had been collected couldn’t possibly have been the missing tortoise,
and so on. Mrs. Barker was reassured that collected animals were not
euthanased for at least seven days. But on the sixth day the RSPCA finally got
back to Mrs. Barker’s concerned neighbour who had been helping her with all
these calls, to say that the tortoise (still referred to as a terrapin) was
dead. How was this possible!!!??? Outrage, anger – all were ignored as the
RSPCA staff person calmly explained that the female inspector had given him a
lethal injection the day she had picked him up. It seems she had put the
tortoise in a cat basket in the back of her van, but the stupid creature kept
trying to get out. So to save herself any further botheration she got out her
injection kit and made an end of him. Full story :
FRANCIS WOULD NOT HAVE LASTED LONG IN THE RSPCA
essential core characteristic for those chosen to become RSPCA
‘inspectors’ is clearly not a love of animals or a desire to protect or
help them, to feed them when they are hungry, and bandage them when they are
wounded. St. Francis would not have lasted long in the RSPCA, indeed would not
have passed the entry test. Our RSPCA ‘inspectors’ are those who dress up
a hidden, denied, and perhaps unconscious but essentially sadistic desire to
kill with mealy-mouthed aphorisms about needing to be cruel to be kind.
OVER ‘HAVING TO KILL’ - RSPCA
SHEDS CROCODILE TEARS
assume that the RSPCA understands to a degree how the nasty reality conflicts
with the image they wish the public to have. They seem to think that asking
for our sympathy will get the public on side. So in public they cry crocodile
tears in bucketfuls, and beat their breasts in sorrow at the terrible things
they say they have to do. Occasionally
the light reaches into the dark corners. Bernice Jones saw the truth when she
witnessed the slaughter of those seventy dogs at the Ghent shelter, where she
had worked for twenty-eight years, and was instructed along with all present
that no-one should tell anyone about what was done that day.
WHY DON’T WE KILL CHILDREN – SAME LOGIC APPLIES !
interesting anomaly is the RSPCA’s apparently firm belief that if killing is
done cleanly and quickly then it is OK. To see how outrageous this is,
consider our hypothetical confrontation with the dilemma of what to do about a
two year old child. Its parents,
let us say, have just been killed in a road accident. There are no living
relatives, or friends, or anyone else who was in a position to take care of
this child. So we get an officer from the RSPCH (Society for the Prevention of
Cruelty to Humans) to put a bullet into the child’s head. We are being cruel
to be kind, we have to do this to save the child (from a life worse than
death). It didn’t know it was coming. It died quickly without pain. All’s
for the best in the best of all possible worlds. The RSPCH could find a lot of
work to do in Rio de Janeiro – even though rumour has it that the ordinary
police do in fact provide the street kids there with the kind of quick
NEEDED TO PROTECT ANIMALS FROM THE RSPCA
awareness that an animal in a shelter is most likely to be in dire trouble has
now spread far enough into the community that an organization has appeared in
response. The acronym, CAPACS, stands for CAmpaign to Protect Animals in
Charity Shelters. It works to protect animals from the protectors!!! (
CYNICISM & HYPOCRISY IN AWARD WINNING ADVERTISEMENT
a newspaper piece entitled “Gold gong for a dog's sad tale” Julia Thrift
reported the RSPCA’s advertising coup, the winning of the top award for the
best radio commercial in 2000. It takes 60 seconds, and purports to be a dog
OVER: I'm not very well. At least I don't think I am. Actually I feel fine
but I must be ill because I'm here. I'm where you go when you're not very
well. I must be really quite bad because I've just had an injection to make me
better. My friend brought me here which shows he cares. I didn't think he did
at first. But on the way here he was very nice. Very nice. Feel tired now
..very tired, here on this table where they put me down. Put down ..tired
..make better ..injection ..very tired ………FEMALE VOICE-OVER:
Every Christmas the RSPCA has to rescue thousands of unwanted animals. If you
give a damn, don't give a pet.”
all the RSPCA atrocity stories I have come across in preparing this piece,
this is the one that most churns my stomach. The sickening smarm of it. The
cruel joke of calling a lethal injection a form of rescue. It is no wonder
that those members of the public who encounter the RSPCA at work are ringing
alarm bells everywhere. And here, again, we see the worm in the heart of the
rose, and it is murder, killing, presented as ‘necessary’, as done
‘humanely’ (?!!) as demonstrating the responsible and caring nature of the
RSPCA, even when they are ‘forced’ to terminate trusting, healthy animals.
To see the full ad story follow the link from the animadversion page.
PUPPIES / KITTENS FOR CHRISTMAS’ CAMPAIGN BUILDS RSPCA COFFERS
an aside at this point, I’d like to draw attention to the strange linking of
the ‘need’ to euthanase with the giving of animals (usually puppies or
kittens) as Christmas presents. The
RSPCA and its followers argue that to do so invites the abandonment of the
kitten or puppy at an RSPCA shelter at the end of the summer holidays, with
euthanasia the commonest exit pathway for any animal left at a shelter. I
don’t believe that members of the public who spend good money to buy their
child a kitten or puppy at Christmas (which is after all the celebration of
the birth of a baby) will abandon that kitten or puppy when school starts, or
when they decide to go on a holiday or whatever. Basic commonsense suggests
that parents who were so inclined would choose some other gift. Basic
observation of human nature suggests that within a month or two of living with
a puppy or kitten it becomes a loved member of the household. There is other
evidence (see http://www.nafcon.dircon.co.uk/rspca2.html)
suggesting that the RSPCA would like to put pet-shops, and ‘backyard
breeders’ out of business, in line with their political alliance with
registered breeders and vets, and consistent with their own direct economic
interest in selling animals from their shelters. These animals are publicised
as strays, and described as a proper object of charitable impulse – but they
are certainly not cheap, and the profit margin on each animal that is
‘re-homed’ makes this effort also a contribution of RSPCA coffers. I am
not certain that this is the whole story. It has to be part of it.
of the positive reputation enjoyed by the RSPCA is entirely due to skilled
Public Relations hype. Anyone wanting to do anything to add to the fortunes of
the RSPCA should take care to inform themselves as fully as possible regarding
the likely use of their funds. Don’t take this summarizing article as
gospel. Look up the references yourself. Go visit their facilities. Ask
questions. Check their stats – e.g. on the proportion of re-homed animals
compared to the proportion who are ‘put down’.
with news of an RSPCA prosecution, try and read between the lines. Assess, for
instance by noting the amount of media coverage generated, the publicity value
of the prosecution to the RSPCA. Check the relevant social variables – e.g.
is the person being prosecuted an individual living alone on limited
resources, and unlikely to be able to resist the RSPCA juggernaut. Next time
there is a large scandal about real cruelty to animals perpetrated by large
corporations, or powerful individuals, or institutions, watch what the RSPCA
says - and compare it with what they do. Look up their annual budget figures,
and ask if they use the money they get wisely. How much goes on salaries,
fancy buildings and other career pleasantries, and how much on feeding and
caring for needy animals.
the best advice is – practice skepticism!
web sites dealing with the activities of the RSPCA, especially in Australia,
are planned. They should go up shortly. Look out for them.