For Immediate Release
31st January 2021
Those celebrating the apparent end to private prosecutions brought by the RSPCA should stop to consider the bleak reality that will come about if the RSPCA achieves its dream of power.
The RSPCA is asking both the UK Parliament and the Welsh Government for powers similar to those of the SSPCA in Scotland at the same time as the SSPCA is asking for even greater powers.
The various governments should note that The SHG (The Self Help Group for Farmers, Pet Owners and Others Experiencing Difficulties with the RSPCA) had only received 5 calls from Scotland up to the time the SSPCA were granted their powers. Since then there has been an outpouring of outrage from incensed and aggrieved animal owners that has culminated in the Scottish members of The SHG branching out to form their own group, The SHG for SSPCA Problems, which can be found on Facebook.
There is absolutely no need to grant the RSPCA special dispensation to report directly to the CPS when, just like every other individual and organisation in the country they are free to pass any information or evidence they may have to the police who can then investigate on their own behalf and pass the resulting file to the CPS for consideration.
Anne Kasica of The SHG said : “The police provide a vital safeguard for members of the public when the RSPCA is investigating. Not only are they neutral but there are proper complaints procedures and of course, PACE, which governs police actions. The thought of giving police powers to a campaigning animal rights organisation such as the RSPCA is frightening. How can they investigate the very activities, or keeping of types of animal, that they are often campaigning to prohibit?”
The dangers of the RSPCA enjoying statutory powers, and those powers falling into the hands of unregulated extremists, were unwittingly highlighted by RSPCA Vice-President, Green MP Caroline Lucas, in the Parliamentary Debate on RSPCA powers on Tuesday 29 January 2013. In particular, when she mistakenly claimed: “Thanks to its excellence and consistent best practice, in 2010, the RSPCA secured the convictions of 2,441 defendants for animal welfare offences and gave out 86,354 welfare improvement notices under the Animal Welfare Act 2006.”
Anne Kasica continued: “So ask yourself WHY the RSPCA wants this special treatment? Their problem at the moment is lack of cash. They need to find a way for government to pay for their activities, at least in the short-term. Letting the CPS prosecute takes much of the expense away from them. If the CPS does its job, and actually checks whether the animals seized are still alive, it may prevent some of the infamous “phantom costs” claims which have hit the media recently. One particularly disgraceful case, which was exposed, resulted in Nigel Evans MP calling for a probe into frauds committed by the charity. “
If the RSPCA are given some or all of the powers of “inspectors” as created by the Animal Welfare Act 2006 it is likely that they will gain powers of entry and seizure, the right to apply for warrants, lawful access to emergency services communications and databases and their improvement notices will have the power of law, and it is to be expected that those powers will come with government funding and support.
It is doubtful that there will be any realistic degree of oversight. Think about the protection in the Animal Welfare Act where people have a right to bring a S.20 for return of animals, or to oppose an RSPCA application to dispose of their animals. The problem is that rights without the means to exercise those rights are meaningless. There is no legal aid for people whose animals are facing the sanction of “disposal” by the RSPCA to fight for those animals in court when there has been no criminal case. Will there be any legal aid for people to challenge over zealous actions by an empowered RSPCA?
Anne Kasica concluded: “The RSPCA have given up nothing by asking for the power to refer cases directly to the CPS, bypassing the police. They have attacked the police and CPS for not prioritising RSPCA cases in the past so that when they are ready to step back in and bring their own private prosecutions it is likely that if they will find a case that fails or one which the CPS refuses to prosecute they will decide that it is in the “animals’ best interests” if they run their own prosecutions again.“
It remains to be seen if the various governments will fall for their scheming.”
Word Total: 795
Notes to Editors: –
For further comment please contact:
Anne Kasica on 0744 99 89 411
The SHG was officially formed in June 1990 and has been helping people to defend themselves and their animals from the RSPCA for over 20 years.
The national help line number is 0744 99 89 411
A copy of this and previous press releases from The SHG are online at https://shgpressreleases.wordpress.com/
The SHG consultation responses are online at
Archived press releases can be found at
Background information on the Self Help Group for Farmers Pet Owners and Others Experiencing Difficulties with the RSPCA can be found at http://www.the-shg.org and the SHG blog: http://theshg.wordpress.com/
The SHG Facebook Page can be found at
The SHG for SSPCA Problems Facebook Page can be found at