Friday, October 03, 2014

RSPCA Told to Stop Prosecuting Fox Hunts

An independent inquiry led by former Crown Prosecution Service chief inspector Stephen Wooler has recommended that the RSPCA stop bringing criminal prosecutions against fox hunts to court. The inquiry was spurred by the fact that the RSPCA  spent £327,000 in prosecution costs in order to to prosecute a single hunt which, in the end, was fined less than £30,000.

The report notes that:
The unstructured and haphazard environment within which the RSPCA operates now means that the RSPCA role is poorly defined and its relationships with the public bodies with whom its work overlaps are unclear.

The 140-page report recommends that prosecutions under the hunting law be the province of the police and the Crown Prosecution Service.

The report contains a string of recommendations
for re-organizing the RSPCA's prosecution arm, and says the RSPCA must develop an open system of co-operation with state investigators and prosecutors.
Without such change, the Society will be vulnerable to those with a very narrow agenda that is not founded on legitimate concern.

In short, the RSPCA has been taken over by animal rights lunatics, and has completely lost the plot as far as animal welfare is concerned.

The new report comes out at a time when the RSPCA's leadership is in a basket case position and finances are falling.  A series of senior figures have left the charity in recent months (rats fleeing a sinking ship?), including Gavin Grant, the chief executive; John Grounds, his deputy, and David Cowdrey, the communications director.

As I have noted in the past, the RSPCA is the same kind of direct mail machine as its analogs in the U.S., the Humane Society of the U.S., and the ASPCA, both of which have recently settled racketeering (organized crime) cases for misrepresenting facts in letters sent to their donors.
The RSPCA brought in £121.2 MILLION in 2013, 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.

A few more bullet points, in no particular order:

  •  The RSPCA pursues around 10 cases a day at a cost of more than £8 million a year. 

  •  In the arena of the mounted hunts, the RSPCA loses 4 out of 5 prosecutions. 

  • The RSPCA's Scottish sister, the SSPCA, prosecutes no one, leaving that task to the police and Procurator Fiscal. 

  • The NSPCC, one of Britain's most respected charities protecting children, has not taken a private prosecution since 1993.

The RSPCA's chairman Mike Tomlinson says:
We accept the need to re-position the RSPCA’s long-standing enforcement role and will now consider these recommendations in detail.... Hunting prosecutions are a tiny part of the RSPCA’s enforcement work but this review provides an ideal opportunity to look at the way we handle such cases and to make any necessary adjustments.

What does that mean? Time will tell, but one thing is for sure, the RSPCA is in a financial and leadership crisis brought about by its chaotic and poorly-thought out attack on hunting.

And the hunters? They are doing fine, thank you. As the report notes:
The evidence reviewed leaves no room for doubt that, despite the 2004 legislation, traditional fox hunting remains “business as usual” in many parts of the country.

'Extensive flouting of the law risks bringing Parliament, the police and prosecuting authorities into disrepute. Widely publicised criticism of the RSPCA over the costs of the Heythrop Hunt case undoubtedly caused it reputational damage..."

Tim Bonner, director of campaigns at The Countryside Alliance, which has long campaigned for changes, said:
Stephen Wooler’s report vindicates our position and accepts nearly every concern that we raised in relation to RSPCA prosecutions.

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