For Immediate Release
13th December 2015
As everybody cheers at the news that the RSPCA will stop prosecuting hunts and farmers, instead handing evidence to the relevant prosecuting authorities, the Self Help Group for farmers, pet owners and others experiencing difficulties with the RSPCA (The SHG) is warning that little will change.
The RSPCA will still prosecute. Its inspectors will still investigate. If any prosecuting authority dares to fail to prosecute the RSPCA has said it will still elbow them aside and issue a private prosecution.
Even worse, the RSPCA will still prosecute pet owners, i.e. those who do not have the financial support to fight back.
This is not good news. It is the RSPCA trying to pull the wool over the EFRA Committee inquiry into its prosecution practices. It is the RSPCA parking difficult and expensive prosecutions until it has recovered and can resume its former practices and behaviour.
The SHG says beware all of those whose animal owning and interactions with animals fall outside of the special interest groups who have carved out this temporary and perhaps illusory protection for their activities.
Exotic owners, dog and cat owners, horse owners, pest controllers and others, you are now in the spotlight.
Ernest Vine of the SHG said:
“We had been expecting this move by the RSPCA ever since reading the Wooler report. It puts nothing in place to protect vulnerable people or to control RSPCA investigations.”
The SHG has proposed the following alternatives to bring the RSPCA and its prosecutions under control:
1. Amend the Animal Welfare Act 2006 (and other acts that the RSPCA use to prosecute) so that they are no longer common informers acts. The downside to this is that it limits the rights of other organisations and individuals as well as the RSPCA.
2. Amend the 1932 RSPCA Act so that the RSPCA can no longer prosecute. The Act is both the RSPCA’s strength and weakness – they lost £100,000 some years ago for failing to adhere to it when it turned out that their rule changes had been unlawful for many years. The benefit of this course of action is that it will only affect the RSPCA. The SHG has suggested this a number of times over the years.
3. Limit the right to bring private prosecutions so that any individual or organisation instituting more than 10 or 20 prosecutions a year must register, pay a licence fee and be subject to proper inspection. It would be a shame to see our historical rights limited because of the misbehaviour of the RSPCA, but at least a limit on the number of prosecutions would protect an individual’s rights while instituting controls on prolific prosecutors whose wealth induced power tips the scales firmly in their favour.
4. Introduce a Charities Ombudsman as a means of creating an independent complaints system for those issues which fall outside the remit of the Charities Commission. This could be paid for by a levy or registration fee on charities. The ombudsman would have the power to order compensation payments and to refer issues to other authorities, including the police, for action. Had there been a proper independent complaints procedure it is unlikely that the problems with the RSPCA would have reached the proportions they have.
Ernest Vine concluded:
“We are willing to submit evidence to the EFRA inquiry when it takes place, and we hope that the RSPCA and its investigations and prosecutions will soon be brought under proper control.”
Word Total: 575
Notes to Editors: –
For further comment please contact:
Anne Kasica or Ernest Vine
Mobile 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/
Archived press releases can be found at
Background information on the Self Help Group for Farmers Pet Owners and Other Experiencing Difficulties with the RSPCA can be found at http://www.the-shg.org and the SHG blog: http://theshg.wordpress.com/
Details of further criticisms of the RSPCA can be found at the RSPCA-Animadversion website: http://rspca-animadversion.org.uk/