This is the newsletter published by and for members of the RSPCA. Because of the deep discontent that it shows within the membership we feel that it should have wider publicity than it currently receives. We have maintained the content accurately, but have lost some of the formatting. Past editions will be added as time permits. We hope that publishing this will do some good and lead to a much needed reform of the society. contains links that might be of further interest.
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|Newsletter number 115 November 2006|
|"Suppose that tomorrow a group of beings
from another planet were to land on Earth, beings who considered themselves
as superior to you as you feel yourself to be to other animals. Would they
have the right to treat you as you treat the animals you breed, keep and
kill for food?"
~ John Harris
IS EATING MEAT MORALLY INDEFENSIBLE?
Below is an extract from The Animal Question by Paola Cavalieri. This book published by the Oxford University Press in 2001 contains a concise statement of the argument for attributing basic rights to animals.
"Billions of non human animals are tortured, confined and killed for our benefit. In a real sense, the actual parallel for the condition of these beings is slavery . . . . . that is, the practice by which human beings are reduced to assets ('live articles of property' was the telling Aristotelian definition of slaves).
A reorganisation of society . . . requires the constitutional abolition of the status of mere assets of non human animals and the prohibition of all the practices that are today made possible by such status, from raising for food to scientific experimentation to the most varied forms of commercial use and systematic extermination."
In the Guardian Weekend Magazine on 15/07/06 was a full page advertisement for Freedom Food with a large picture of a pig. Underneath was written
GOES REALLY PINK IN THE SUN
PIGS ARE JUST LIKE US REALLY
Unfortunately, when pigs get burnt they can't just slap on some aftersun. But with our help they won't need to. Freedom Food approved farms provide all free range pigs with ways to keep cool and protect themselves from the sun. It's part of their commitment to meeting RSPCA welfare standards so that farm animals can have a better quality of life. Cattle get comfortable bedding, salmon get more space for swimming, and hens aren't kept in cages. And it could only cost a little bit more on the price of your shopping. We think it's rather clever and more importantly so do the pigs."
This advertisement sums up the reality of 'FREEDOM' Food. There is no real freedom because slaughter awaits all the animals. The last sentence of the advertisement ridicules the intelligence of pigs. We find it offensive.
On 30/07/06 in the Observer magazine there was another full page advertisement for Freedom Food. This time it said
"Chicken should be able to express their natural instincts. Like foraging, exploring and sticking one past the keeper." ~(There was a football in the bottom right hand corner.)
Fun isn't it to play football before being killed and eaten!
In response to your request for readers views on printed extracts from Joan Ryan MP's letter concerning Animal Experimentation, wherein she states that the benefit to others outweighs the cost to the animals involved, may I offer the following suggestion. That the Government, in the spirit of the Freedom of Information Act be challenged to fling wide the doors of the closely guarded animal Belsen laboratories, enabling the general public to make properly informed judgement on the morality of Animal Experimentation.
'The consensus of opinion in the wider scientific community' could then be measured against the reaction of the nation as a whole. Only through true public awareness can there be any hope of an end to the obscenity of Animal Experimentation.
ELIZABETH E. HAMPTON
"The eating of meat extinguishes the great seed of compassion/"
~ Buddha (563 - 483 BC)
A MEMBER WRITES
(Members names are not published if requested)
"I found the account of the rescue of the Humpback whale very touching, it shows the affinity there is or can be between man and animals. The appalling killing of these magnificent creatures by the Japanese and Norwegians is a disgrace.
I have been asked by several animal welfare organisations if I intend to leave money in my will and I refuse to reply. I consider the question to be impertinent. The scheme related by a member in Watchdog is awful. I would not have peace of mind leaving my pets on those terms."
"The animals you eat are not those who devour others; you do not eat the carnivorous beasts, you take them as your pattern. You only hunger after sweet and gentle creatures who harm no one, which follow you, serve you, and are devoured by you as the reward of their service." JEAN JACQUES ROUSSEAU
(This quote was included with the above comments,)
"I could not agree more in connection with the opening of Hartlepool shop by someone dressed as a monkey. It was arranged as I understand it by the BDA at the time due to the fact that there is a dreadful folk thing about the Hartlepool people having hung a monkey thinking it to be a French spy!!! Goodness knows ho that stupid thing came about, or indeed, when it came about.
There are these dreadful drawings of a monkey hanging from a gibbet on post cards, I think it is appalling and do not subscribe to anything with it on. Perhaps someone from local radio would have been better to my mind anything would have been better than the idiot dressed up as a monkey which perpetuates this stupid tale."
THE RSPCA COUNCIL
There can be little doubt from the evidence available to ordinary members that the management of the RSPCA by the Council trustees needs urgent reform.
It can be seen by attending Council meetings that there are to many Trustees to allow adequate and effective discussion. Yet it is reported in a recent Council Digest that
"Council agreed to take out of the equation for the time being a previous proposal to reduce the Council to 15 members."
WHY?With the huge increase in cruelty to animals, both pets and wildlife, surely branch officers have enough branch work to do locally without befoming Council trustees as well.
An unnecessary number of Council trustees inevitably breeds an excess number of committees which in turn take up too much of staff time and cause too much paper work. There are 9 Council committees named in the Trustees Report 2005 as well as Council meetings. Again on 21st November 1974, the Council passed a resolution to "limit themselves to questions of principle leaving routine administration to the paid Heads of Department."
By becoming so involved in routine administration are the trustees expressing a lack of confidence in the staff?
On 7th December 2005 the Council trustees rescinded a resolution passed in June 2004 that only vegetarian/vegan food should be provided for trustees attending meetings of Council. The reason given was that it caused problems for those trustees who are not vegetarians.
WHY? What problems does a vegetarian/vegan diet cause?
Barely six months later, the Council trustees have decided that only vegan food would be provided at the 2007 AGM. No mention this time of the problems of non vegans AND of course Freedom Food continues to promote eating animals! CONFUSED? We are.
We must acknowledge that the production of the Council Digest and allowing members to attend the non confidential part of Council meetings is a big step forward.
THE AGM 2006
It is difficult to understand why a motion put to the 2006 AGM to amend the Rules of the Society in order to introduce a much needed Code of Conduct for Council members was defeated. The voting was 21 for the code, 51 against with 20 abstentions.
This excellent new Code which had taken 2 years to compile with Counsel's advice on aspects of enforcement, would have ensured that Council members were worthy of being trustees. On page 4 of the Council Digest it is reported that the Council had agreed to put forward the Code motion to the 2006 AGM to "facilitate the Code of Conduct on a mandatory basis" but that "some trustees" felt that the Standards Committee was unacceptable. What possible objection could "some trustees" have had?
We can only hope that if a Code of Conduct for Council members is returned to the 2007 AGM, the relevant Working Party that is looking at the Code will see that members complaints about Council trustees are dealt with in an OPEN and FAIR manner.
It is not surprising to read in the latest VERY interesting Council Digest that the "ATTENDANCE" at the 2006 AGM "was down again". Out of over 32,098 voting members, 121 attended and ONLY 92 voted on the future direction of the Society.
With such small numbers attending the AGM it was possible for a small group of like minded people to control the voting. It has happened in the past as those who have been members for a long time will remember. If the fall in membership is to be stopped there needs to be greater democracy in the election of Council trustees. For example, Regional Representatives should be elected by ALL branch members and not by Branch Committees since some of those elected are on branch committees as branch officers.
IGNORANCE IS BLISS?
WHY did three branches not wish to receive the Council Digest? We are intrigued! PLEASE tell Watchdog why!
"Ask the experimenters why they experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are like us.' Ask the experimenters why it is morally OK to experiment on animals, and the answer is: 'Because the animals are not like us.' Animal experimentation rests on a logical contradiction."
~ Professor Charles R. Magel
GOOD NEWS from Cats Protection Chesterfield and District Branch.
What is also a little disappointing is we also support the RSPCA by taking in their FIV positive cats and finding them homes. It is RSPCA national policy to euthanase these cats knowing very well that they can live a full life, the manager of the local branch asked for our help and if I could contact their HQ making an appeal on their behalf, which of course I did with a successful outcome.
Turkeys at a Bernard Matthews plant in Norfolk lived a life that was less than "bootiful", it emerged yesterday, as magistrates sentenced two farm workers to community service for playing a game of baseball with live birds.
Daniel Paler, 27, and Neil Allen, 30, both of Dereham in Norfolk, were secretly filmed hitting turkeys with a pole at the shed in Haveringland while rounding them up to be delivered to other plants.
Both admitted ill-treatment and were ordered to carry out 200 hours of community service.
From The Guardian 08/09/06
RSPCA Inspector Rob Melloy said it was the worst case of farm animals he had seen. "They were clearly treated in a brutal inhuman way" he said adding that welfare standards in the poultry industry were a general concern.
Palmer and Allen had been filmed by an investigation from an animal sanctuary. Allen was heard to say "You throw them and I'll hit them." The two were using poles like a baseball bat.
HILLSIDE ANIMAL SANCTUARY WENDY VALENTINE
Another news item you may have seen in April was the disturbing footage of turkeys being sadistically kicked and attacked with a wooden pole on a Bernard Matthews; farm. Our investigator shot the damning evidence while filming the general rough handling of turkeys as they were being caught for slaughter. The footage appeared on Sky and BBC news programmes all around the country and sparked outrage from an indignant public. At the time of going to print, the RSPCA have just informed us that they are initiating a prosecution against the men involved. You may view this alarming footage on our website at www.hillside.org.uk.
The next newsletter will be circulated in 2007. We hope that by the AGM there will be real reform in the composition of the Council and an effective Code of Conduct for the trustees.