Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Fundraising Scam that is the RSPCA


The RSPCA cannot sue, because they know the headline is true.

Let's start with a few simple points

  • ALL of the really big  national "humane" organizations are scams.

  • NONE of them do what you think they do, which is spend most of their money helping dogs and cats.

I have reported on the Humane Society of the U.S., the ASPCA and PETA in the past (see search  box, top right)

Today, let's talk specifically about the RSPCA;  the "Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals".

To begin, let me say that ALL of the numbers I am going to give you today are out of the RSPCA's 2013 Trustees Report which is a rather amazing lie factory in its own right... but more on that in a second.

For starters, how much MONEY does the RSPCA bring in every year? 

The RSPCA brought in £121.2 MILLION in 2013 (page 19), which is equal to $202 million US dollars for a country that has a population about one-fifth that of the United States
To scale it up to U.S. levels, the RSPCA is taking in over $1 billion dollars a year.

Please note that this fabulous sum is only money raised by the national RSPCA.

Money raised by about three-quarters of the "branches" is reported and accounted for separately, as these are legally separate organizations that receive very little money from the national organization.  

To be precise, less than 6 percent of the money that goes to fund the national RSPCA is remitted back to the branches where more than three-fourths of the work is done (p. 17).

Those familiar with the Humane Society of the U.S. know the scam -- get people to THINK that by giving money to the national organization, they are somehow helping local dogs and cats.

It's a complete lie for the most part.

As I will show you in a minute,
more than  half the money you give to the national RSPCA in response to a direct mail solicitation goes to fund more direct mail letters.

Less than 3 percent of what you give to the national RSPCA will go back to help the local "branch" that is doing all the work (such as it is).

So of the
£121.2 million collected in 2013, how many DOGS did the RSPCA actually "rehome"?

Not very many.

The RSPCA tells us they rehomed just 11,073 dogs in 2013 (page 8), but even this fantastically low number is a lie. 

If you read the widow line at the top of page 9 of the "Trustees Report," you discover the truth buried in the text.
The split of rehoming by activity was branches 77 percent, national centres 19 percent and other initiatives four percent.

Right.  So over 80 percent of the "rehoming" work cited is NOT being done by the national RSPCA.

To put  a point on it, the RSPCA is ONLY putting money collected by the national RSPCA on its financial balance sheet, while it is claiming ALL of the work done by its branches even though it gives very little money to those branches.

So how many dogs does the national RSPCA really rehome?

If the split for dogs is the same as for all the other "rehomed" animals (and why would it not be?), then the national RSPCA placed less than 600 dogs in 2013, despite taking in the U.S. equivalent of over $200 million (121.2 million pounds sterling). 

Despite this fantastic imbalance between money coming in and rehoming work being done, the RSPCA has the temerity to tell its donors, on page 8, that:

The overwhelming numbers of animals needing homes in England and Wales has meant that the RSPCA, like many other animal organisations, is having to make very difficult choices... In 2013 the numbers of homeless dogs (165)... that had to be euthanased, as there were insufficient spaces available in our centres ... [t]he numbers of cats (526) rose slightly by three percent. The problem of finding sufficient space for homeless animals is one faced by all animal welfare organisations....Charities have a responsibility to ensure that animals do not languish in centres for long periods.

Right. So there it is.

But this is not euthanasia it it? The word euthanasia means something, and it does NOT mean "killing for convenience" as the RSPCA admits it is doing here.

Apparently "rehoming" less than 600 dogs a year was such a burden on the RSPCA, despite their £121 million income, that they could not find space or time for another 165 healthy dogs, and so they had to kill them.

The RSPCA has always played this game where the national organization pockets the Big Money while the starved branches are left to do the work. This is the SAME FRAUD that the Humane Society of the U.S. does. 

That said, in the past the RSPCA was a little more transparent about it. 

In 2005, I cut out the graphic, below, from the RSPCA Trustee's Report. As you can see, back then the "national establishments" rehomed 3,841 dogs, and the "branch establishments" rehomed 14,654 dogs.


In 2010, however, the national RSPCA decided
it was getting out of the dog rehoming business and so, starting that year, RSPCA's national rehoming numbers plummeted (see subtext in newspaper headline graphic at the top of this post).

But while the national RSPCA was no long looking to rehome dogs (they said they did not have enough money!), it continued to kill dogs and only reported on the dogs killed by the national RSPCA.  

In short, the numerator and the denominator no longer referred to the same thing.  

And so while the RSPCA's "rehoming" numbers are inflated by branch work, the reported "euthanasia" numbers are not similarly inflated. 

But that is not the end of the hokum perpetrated by the RSPCA.  

Notice the graph on page 9 where we are told that approximately 7,000 dogs have been killed >due to "vet medical or legal necessity." 

What does that mean? 

Was there a court order?  

Perhaps we can see a bit of veterinary paper that tells us the medical issue requiring euthanasia for each animal? 

Of course, it's all bunk. The RSPCA, like the well-heeled Battersea shelter in London, is killing perfectly healthy dogs for convenience. Many of these dogs are Staffie crosses that no one wants.  A quick "temperament test" (see link) assembled and judged by incompetents is rigged to make it all happen, with one-third of the dogs at Battersea going to the ovens.

What makes the thing ridiculous is not the killing; it's the lying.

The RSPCA is rolling in money. 

Killing healthy dogs is a choice.  

The RSPCA needs to tell the public that it is choosing to kill dogs because it has decided that "saving" broiler chickens is a better use of their donor funds.

The RSPCA should tell their donors that instead of chasing puppy mills, they have decided to go after the mounted hunts, and never mind if the RSPCA actually kills more wildlife (35,000 animals a year) than the mounted hunts ever did before the ban!

Of course, the RSPCA would fold up if they told the truth, and so they paper over the lies.

The RSPCA Trustees report is packed with numbers which tell us very little.

For example, we are told how many times the national RSPCA answers the phone (1.3 million pickups), but we are not told the salary of their chief executive officer (£160,000 pounds or the U.S. equivalent of $267,000).

We are told the RSPCA received 153,770 "complaints of alleged cruelty," but oddly enough actual cruelty seems to be pretty uncommon, as only 1,388 court cases were won, and very few dogs or cats were actually taken in and rehomed!


In fact, aside from answering the phone to chat and sending people out for call-outs where civilians impersonate police offices, the REAL business of the RSPCA seems to be collecting road-kill.  

The RSPCA Trustees Report tells us that 245,590 animals were "collected/signed over/seized" which sounds like a heroic thing until you realize that 200,000 of these animals are not living dogs or cats and that a signficant number are dead or road-injured wild animals.

Of course, all of these numbers about "rehoming" and "collection" are fiddle-faddle designed to obfuscate. 

The simple truth is that, no matter how you count it, damn few dogs and cats are rehomed by the RSPA, and the vast majority of the RSPCA's revenue stream is spent on things that produce few tangible results.

For example, the RSPA spent almost £40 million on their "inspectorate" which wrote out 77,000 "improvement notices" at a cost of over £512 ($856) per scrap of paper. 

Looked at another way, the "inpectorate," and the legal folks that follow up behind them, spent over £46.7 million winning all of 1,388 successful prosecutions, or over £33,645 ($56,000) per "win."

To be clear, the "win" in most of these cases came with a living animal being seized and killed by the RSPCA, and a defendant who paid a few hundred pound fine when he or she lost.

The animal is dead
and the RSPCA pays an average of £33,645 to levy a £1,000 fine?

How is that a success in anyone's eyes?

And how is that the RSPCA gets away with it?  

The answer to this last question is actually pretty simple.

Sentimental elderly British dog and cat owners have left vast sums of money to the RSPCA in their wills.

The dead do not read "Trustee Reports" with a weather eye, and so the RSPCA has ended up accountable to almost no one.

Let's looks at the numbers again.

Of the £121.million raised in 2013, £62 million was bequest  or "legacy" income.

This sum dwarfs the £42.9 million that came in as simple donations and contributions.

But, of course, there is more to be said about those "donations and contributions."

Let's look at the RSPCA's fundraising operation. How efficient is it?

Answer:  Not very!

In fact, the majority of the money that people give to the RSPCA in response to direct mail letters, telephone calls, or sidewalk begging appeals does not actually go to help dogs, cats, or any other animal.

It goes to fund more pieces of  direct mail, more telephone solicitations, and more sidewalk charity beggars.

The RSPCA's own numbers show that £19 million was spent on direct fundraising to raise that £42.9 million that came in as donations and contributions.  When you add in the other fundraising bits disguised as "Campaigns" (£1.7m), "Education" (£1.4m), "Governance costs" (£1.2m), "Communication" (£0.7m), and "Publications" (£0.7m), you quickly discover that more than half of all the money you give to the RSPCA in the mail, or after being hit up on the telephone or sidewalk, goes to fund more begging.

Sometime the subterfuge is comical.  Take, for example, "education."  If you look into this program you find that part of that campaign consists of getting high school students to analyze RSPCA direct mail packages and write them free copy!

Nowhere in this lesson module, of course, are students directed to ask how £121.3 million pounds is managed to rehome fewer than 600 dogs a year.

God forbid anyone asks or reports on that!

NEXT UP in our multi-part tour of the RSPCA:  A Look at Their Leadership.


redhorse said...

There have also been some cases in England of the RSPCA having people arrested for animal cruelty because they had an ill or old pet who was under veterinary care. Then they kill the pet. They claim they get tips from neighbors or friends. They also demand very large sums of money from their victims to pay for their actions. If they don't get the money, they sue and ask for more.

Nicholas Valentine said...

The RSPCA may not be perfect but overall it is a good job we have them . The biggest contribution to animal welfare anyone can make is the humane disposal of surplus animals . What are they to do with the animals they take in that can not be found homes ? I would love to hear an answer from the critics as to how they would solve this problem . The trouble is this sort of criticism has a negative effect as the Society , who then becomes too scared to carry out its duties - they dare not take in more animals because of the adverse reaction when they dispose of them . As I said I would love to hear what the solution is when there are simply more animals than there are homes for them to go to .

PBurns said...

The national RSPCA is a massive scam that bleeds money from the locals. They should be bulldozed and done away with.

As to the notion that there are more animals than homes, it is nonsense. Provable nonsense. The true story is actually pretty sinister. Read that here >>

As to what is the biggest contribution to animal welfare, that too you have wrong. It's to get yourself sterilized. Nothing you will ever do will help animals more than simply not procreating. Adopt a kid, and get the snip.