NEWSLETTER NUMBER 15
TEL: 0293 786166
With this edition, Watchdog enters its third year and has become established as a truthful and constructive publication. Our introductory letter was circulated in October 1987. Two other publications - the Branch newsletter sent out by Bill Stubbs and Margaret Bijsterbosch, managed about four editions before submitting to pressure to close it down, and RAG (RSPCA Action Group) fared little better. We have no wish to keep Watchdog barking but we are still receiving information about injustices inflicted on members and letters of concern about the treatment of animals. In this Watchdog, we have included the story of the Burmese cat published first in the summer edition of the Burmese Cat Club Newsletter.
1989 RSPCA CHRISTMAS COLLECTION OF THE PARTS OF DEAD ANIMALS
Once again the RSPCA Council has ignored the wishes of its members and has produced a publication that is deeply offensive to those who try to promote kindness to animals. Does it show respect for animals to turn parts of their bodies into pension book holders wallets, "personalised" pen and pencil holders, handbags and covers for the TV and Radio Times? Does it promote kindness to animals to ridicule their deaths by advertising a cookery apron covered with comments like "Its not lamb its beef" and "I like it a bit overdone"?
We have included in this Watchdog, a copy of the report of the Advertising Standards Authority’s investigation into complaints about the RSPCA advertisement headed "When the Government killed the dog licence, they left us to kill the dogs." It is disgraceful that the RSPCA was unable to substantiate the claims made in that advertisement. As with all the other complaints made about the present management of the RSPCA it is the Council members who must take the blame and NOT THE STAFF. The Council members should have checked the facts before allowing the advertisement to be published. How much money has this registration campaign cost? HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF POUNDS? How much money would a registration scheme cost to run? MILLIONS OF POUNDS.
The RSPCA has offered to run the Central Register if dog registration comes into force. How much will this cost? ANSWER: £1.1 MILLION to set up and £1 million per annum after that. MILLIONS THAT COULD BE USED FOR SPEYING AND NEUTERING.
What is needed and needed urgently is a complete package of measures to solve the problem of the overbreeding of dogs. REGISTRATION ALONE IS A WASTE OF TIME AND MONEY. The only question is whether the present Council is capable of putting such a package together. For over a decade the council has been told by grass roots members that it is essential to stop dogs being born, but virtually NOTHING has been done to tackle the problem head on.
RSPCA MEMBERS WRITE: (We asked for your views and here are just a few)
LANCASHIRE: "I have in the past talked to various local helpers and officials of the RSPCA about feral cat colonies, their response seems to be that these should be put down ... I have on more than one occasion pointed out that even a true feral cat can be tamed. To prove it I have living with me a 19 year old ex feral and an 8 year old ex feral. Even if they can’t be tamed - they can be neutered and put back ... I speak from experience. But as I’m sure you know, this sort of talk falls on deaf ears ..."
CORNWALL: "Do those Council members who refuse to get on at once with a national campaign of speying and neutering, not realise that those animals whom they unthinkingly destroy, can not be created by them, with all their physical beauty and more important, their love, loyalty and intelligence."
SURREY: "Certainly the undemocratic constitution of the Society regarding the membership of the Council is undeniable and all the time it continues to be so, it is essential that Council gives clear, frank and rational explanation for its decisions and actions (or inactions).
NOTES: Writers names are always withheld to prevent possible victimisation.
QUOTES OF THE MONTH
"We recognise that there are valid medical reasons for some animal experiments."
Amanda Aviss - RSPCA Spokesperson (The Guardian - August 1st 1989
"Your article "Catalogue of Campaigners" (August 1) gives an RSPCA viewpoint on animal experiments which, unfortunately, infers that the Society considers some medical experiments are necessary and should continue. The situation is that the RSPCA is opposed to all experiments or procedures which cause pain, suffering or distress, and insists that so long as animals continue to be used for the time being, every possible effort must be made to prevent suffering."
Robin Webb RSPCA Council Member - Letter to The Guardian August 5th 1989.
PERFORMING ANIMALS IN CIRCUSES
Many RSPCA members have campaigned vigorously and successfully against performing animals in circuses. They have persuaded local authorities to BAN THESE ACTS FROM COUNCIL OWNED LAND. A few years ago, there was a massive RSPCA Schools Campaign for Animal Welfare during which schools were given project packs which were used to teach children that circus animals were caused "much suffering and mental stress".
It was with amazement therefore that members read extracts from the report of Dr. Kiley-Worthingron in The Mail on Sunday (August 13th) in which she refuted these claims. The RSPCA Council paid £10,000 to Dr. Kiley-Worthington for this report. WHY??? Have the Council members no confidence in their own professional and technical experts at Headquarters? But having commissioned the report and now it has been published, members have a right to expect a firm statement from the Council concerning the conflict of opinion. This is an urgent matter.
HOLIDAYS OR ANIMALS?
The publication of Dr. Kiley-Worthington’s report and the report of the Advertising Standards Authority, highlight how very important it is for the Council to give up indulging in an annual two month recess. Both these matters require urgent attention, and the absence of the Council during July and August is a nonsense. Cruelty to animals does not stop for two months each year - so why is the Council not working for animals every single month of the year?
ATTENTION ... ATTENTION ... ATTENTION ... BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU
Selected members have received a six page questionnaire from John Howarth, the Director of RSPCA Branches. He says he wants to increase the membership (why not reinstate the Watchdog Five!!!) and to keep in touch with the feelings of the members. The questionnaire looks more like a commercial survey - however, keen as we are to improve the RSPCA we can offer a few suggestions to John Howarth.
In Section 4, members are asked what hobbies they ENJOY in the spare time. Among the sited suggestions is FISHING. We ask John Howarth if ht thinks that all members have read the Medway Report and pages 19 and 20 in the RSPCA Policies on Animal Welfare. Does he think that ANYONE who was concerned about animal welfare could ENJOY FISHING??? So what is he doing? Trying to get more candidates for expulsion ????????????????? In Section 13, John Howarth wants to know what pets RSPCA members have and lists caged birds and tropical/cold water fish. We seem to be living in different worlds. On the one hand RSPCA publications state:-
"There is always some cruelty involved in keeping birds in cages - however large" and "Fish are sensitive living creatures, each species having its own special needs and way of life. In comparison with natural waters, even the largest aquarium tank provides a very restricted environment."
So what are RSPCA members doing inflicting cruelty on birds and causing deprivation to fish? Or is the questionnaire on huge joke?
The decimation of the Education Department at a time when it was enormously successful in educating children was a tragedy. We feel that the present Council has always underestimated the importance of education in the promotion of kindness to animals. It should be the largest and most important department in the RSPCA. It not only makes good sense - it was the intention of the founders of the RSPCA that it should be so.
Questions from Watchdog 14 answered.
The Chief Executive RSPCA Andrew Richmond nd has written to say that the Council has NOT REPUDIATED the Declaration of Animals’ Rights that appears in the RSPCA Policies book.
(By signing this declaration on behalf of the RSPCA, Richard Ryder made the Society a part of the Animal Rights Movement. ED.)
Andrew Richmond also stated that "Headquarters does not pay nor does it authorise Branches to pay the expenses of members attending the Annual General Meeting, though it does meet those of Council members on duty. Action is being taken to prevent a recurrence." This referred to the Durham and District Branch, whose committee authorised payment of members expenses to the 1988 National AGM. How many other Branches have authorised similar payments? PLEASE send us a copy of your local Branch’s accounts for 1988. You can obtain these from the Branch Secretary or from the Charity Commission, St. Albans House, 57 - 60 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4QX. We want to know if your local Branch is hoarding money.
Remember the £ signs are to make you think of all the money that is given to the RSPCA FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE ANIMALS.
Thank you for all your letters and a special thanks to those who send donations to help keep Watchdog afloat. Please continue to send us your comments. Watchdog is sent to the Chief Executive, who photocopies it and circulates it to every council member
IN THE DOGHOUSE
Animal sanctuary chief slams RSPCA
Oxford Journal 27/7/89 elegant comment from RSPCA!!!
ANIMAL-LOVER Margaret Gray has slammed the RSPCA for ignoring her pleas for support to help keep her sanctuary open.
She wants to know why a £500,000 gift to the RSPCA two years ago, from her friend and colleague Sybil Morley has not found its way to aid the stretched resources of local branches.
The sanctuary at Stadhampton, which costs over £100,000 a year to run, is bursting at the seams and founder Margaret is not sure how much more she can take.
"We are at present doing the RSPCA’s work with no help from them." she said.
"They are one of the richest charities in the country. I can’t understand why they don’t open an animal shelter in the Oxfordshire area.
"At the moment we have 170 dogs, 150 cats, donkeys and goats. And the other day Blue Cross Animal Welfare at Burford asked us to take in more animals.
"We are bursting at the seams and I can’t bear top turn animals away.
"My sanctuary is dependent upon voluntary donations and gifts and money from our Summertown charity shop.
"Sybil Morley was an Oxford woman and she helped me set up the sanctuary. I can’t understand why her money is not being used in this area.
"I have nothing but praise for the local RSPCA inspectors." added Margaret. "The root of the problem lies at headquarters."
The Stadhampton sanctuary has a proud record of finding good homes for their pets - in one year they received 480 dogs and 340 went to new, kindhearted owners.
But vet bills are soaring, extra staff are taken on to cope with the increased influx of stray and abandoned animals and Margaret is dreading he day she may be forced to close her doors on animals in need.
RSPCA Headquarters in Horsham said they had not received a formal request from Margaret for financial aid.
"If we helped out every Tom, Dick or Harry sanctuary, the RSPCA would be bankrupt." she said. "And when money is left to the RSPCA it goes into a special fund. Miss Morley should have stated where she wanted the money to go to."
Shame on you
THE CITIZEN BLACKP0OL 4/8/89
Should Cllr Barnes be President of the Blackpool RSPCA Branch?
Sir - It is quite incredible that Blackpool’s Mayor Coun. Mary Barnes, who is the president of the RSPCA, should publicly support the appalling exploitation of animals that is going on at the Blackpool Pleasure Beach.
I refer of course to the "Old MacDonalds Farm," recently opened by Coun. Barnes.
The unfortunate animals live in cramped pens in the mini zoo under the two most popular and very noisy rides which are operating for the least 12 hours a day, every day.
Since Coun. Barnes is apparently giving her approval, are we to understand that the RSPCA Blackpool branch see nothing wrong in keeping animals in this way?
The animals are living miserable lives amid the constant noise simply to make a little extra cash for the Pleasure Beach’s owner.
I shudder to think what condition the animals will be in at the end of the season, particularly the chipmunks, which are know to be very nervous, as well as some of the birds.
How can the president of the local branch of the RSPCA give free publicity to such an a buse of animals?
Shame on you Mary.
BUSINESS OR CHARITY?
Having read "The RSPCA Bit Back" (July issue), one is left with the impression that the RSPCA operates more as a lucrative business than a charity. Surely it was formed to prevent cruelty to animals, not to kill 1,000 dogs a day. I was also appalled to read of Inspector Lamport killing a feral cat, likewise a bird in shock. Surely every creature deserves the chance to recover? One comes to the conclusion that it is perhaps easier to kill.
G C Phillips
MAIL ON SUNDAY 20/8/89
Just as it can be argued - and maybe it is true - that human prisoners can derive some benefit from prison labours or outings in the prison exercise yard, so Dr. Kiley-Worthington may be right in concluding from her studies that some circus animals in some circuses are better off through being made to entertain the public as a relief from the conditions of their captivity.
It would surely be wrong, however to assume that the possible benefit from performances in the ring compensates for the stress and suffering caused by the rigours of training and traveling.
Besides, only a fraction of the day is spent performing. For most of the time animals are held in wagon-sized cages, often overcrowded, with no possibility of adequate exercise or meaningful stimulation.
Dr. Kiley-Worthington’s report should be read for what it is, conclusions submitted by an animal behaviourist after a lengthy, but limited, study, supported and partly funded - as she has stated elsewhere - by the Circus Proprietors’ Association.
*The report was funded by the RSPCA and an independent animal charity, UFAW. After its completion the CPA made a donation to help Dr. Kiley-Worthington with her future research.
SEA FISH INDUSTRY AUTHORITY
Cooking a live lobster is not the daunting task it may seem. If the lobster is require whole, place it in a large pan of cold, salted water and bring it to boiling point. Then simmer for 15 minutes for the first lb (450 gms) and 10 minutes for each subsequent lb. This method is recommended by the RSPCA as being completely painless - as the temperature rises, the lobster becomes sleepy expiring quietly at 27 C (89 F)
YORKSHIRE POST 10/8/89
Sir - On August 5 you reported the story of a baby (xxx) Doncaster savaged to death (xx) a dpg. An RSPCA spokes(xxx) was quoted as saying "U(xxxxx) we have a registration sys(xxxx) we are going to have m(xxx) of these terrible stories."
As for the dog concerned (xxx) actually the family pet, I (xxxx) to see the logic of this statem(xxxx) Registration is usually put (xxxx) as the solution to st(xxx) and attacks by strange dogs.
Perhaps the RSPCA will expl(xxx) exactly how registration co(xx) have prevented this particu(xxx) tragic event, or will s top d(xxxx) (those registered) biting peo(xxx) in the future, as implied (xx) their spokesman - You(xxx) Sincerely,
"We went to an RSPCA recommended battery farm. If this was thought to be OK I couldn’t imagine what a bad one would be like," Ian said.
"We found five chickens hopping from wire bar to wire bar cramped in a space two-and-a-half foot squared.
"In natural circumstances a hen will lay once a day. In these barbarous battery conditions artificial lights are dimmed so three "days" are created within 24 hours and the hens lay three times.
"The strongest grab all the feed and the weakest bird dies. The dead bird is then reprocessed into pellets, and fed back to the chickens. It was absolutely disgusting.
"There must have been20,000 of these pathetic hens and chicks crammed into the one dimly-lit shed. It was appalling"
Every spring Emmerdale fans - and cast - rejoice in scenes of newborn lambs gamboling across green meadowland.
"unfortunately the first moments of life don’t fit in with the TV schedules" says Ian. "Several sheep are know to have died during scenes filmed for Emmerdale, where a per
(can’t READ DATE)
|ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE
OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
AGENCY: Abbott Mead Vickers
|Objections from two members
of parliament and one member of the public to a national press advertisement
calling for the re-introduction of the dog licence headed "WHEN THE
GOVERNMENT KILLED THE DOG LICENCE THEY LEFT US TO KILL THE DOGS" which
went on to state "One thousand dogs are killed in Britain every day
...... The Government abolished the licence last year and we are now seeing
the consequences." The complainants questioned whether:
|1000 dogs were destroyed
in Britain each day; or
|there had been an increase
in the number of dogs killed as a result of the dog licence being abolished.
submitted data based on returns from organisations involved in dog destruction
is support of the claim. The Authority sought independent expert advice
and noted that it is difficult, if not impossible, to obtain precise statistics
on the number of surplus dogs destroyed each year. However, the Authority
accepts that the actual figure for dog destruction may well be in the region
of that quoted by the advertisers. The Authority was nonetheless concerned
that the advertisers had been unable to provide data which substantiated
the peremptory claim that 1,000 dogs were killed each day. The advertisers
were requested to qualify their absolute assertion to make clear that the
figure represented the RSPCA’s estimate of the number of dog destructions.
stated that the advertisement was intended to reflect their view that abolition
of the dog licence had had a number of consequences, including increased
convictions for cruelty to dogs, more strays and an increase in dog destruction.
The Authority, however, considered that the advertsement suggested there
was a direct link between the abolition of the dog licence and an increase
in dog destruction. No evidence comparing the situation at the time the
licence was abolished and the present situation was provided; in the absence
of such data the complaint was upheld. The advertisers were requested to
ensure that any future advertisements accurately reflected the nature and
extend of evidence available.
|Complaints from : London SW1 (2); Birmingham
RSPCA - WHO CARES?
We are publishing this letter from Rosemary Hale, the Regional Coordinator for the Burmese Cat Club Homing Service, as an urgent warning to all members.
"I have had yet another brush with the RSPCA to-day and I think you ought to be informed of it. Yesterday (Saturday) evening, a Club Member found a Blue Burmese Female wandering near her. She was not able to take it into her house for personal reasons, so took it to the Finsbury Park Branch of the RSPCA. It was tagged as Stray No. 10 and she gave the RSPCA an amount of money to cover its keep until she could contact the Club. She says it was thin but no more than could be expected of a cat found straying. She told the RSPCA she was a member of the Burmese Cat Club and that she and they would be endeavouring to find the owner and was told to contact the RSPCA at 1 p.m., on Sunday (to-day) when the office re-opened.
In the meantime she ‘phoned Yvonne and Gordon Bruckel to place the cat on the Lost and Found Register and started making enquiries, posters, etc. Yvonne ‘phoned me to find out if a foster home was available. I informed her that one was available and I proceeded to make arrangements. I could not contact the RSPCA until after 1 p.m., to-day when their office re-opened, and at that time I spoke to the lady on duty. She informed me that a "grey" cat had been brought in the previous evening but that as it was old and thin it had been put to sleep. In fact, the cat was not that old and we know that TLC can turn a thin cat into a beautiful one once more. I am afraid I am really incensed with this action - they did not even give the little girl a few hours in case an owner turned up or anything. My own RSPCA have openly written an article in our local paper stating that more healthy cast and dogs than ever before are being put to sleep as soon as they enter the RSPCA care. They are blaming uncaring owners - who cares in the RSPCA? They say that this one branch alone is putting 20 healthy cats to sleep per day just because they do not have enough accommodations. I have spoken to two national cat rescue organisations with bases in Leicester and neither have even been approached to see if they could help - they both actually have places to offer cats.
Is there not something that can be done to protect our Burmese cats, let alone other breeds who suffer the same fate? Can we not warn members (perhaps in a copy of the News, perhaps by publishing this story)? Surely we cannot continue to sit back and allow this uncaring slaughter to take place indiscriminately. The RSPCA say they never put an animal to sleep unnecessarily - how can they then explain the fate of this little blue girl?"
16th July, 1989.
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