|NEWSLETTER NUMBER 20 JULY 1990
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ELECTIONS TO THE RSPCA COUNCIL
We were delighted to learn that watchdogs Joan Dell and Leonora Nokes had been elected to the council. We were also pleased that two other progressive and fair-minded members, Richard Ryder and Karen French, have been voted on to the governing body.
We have been told that 7,000 members out of 20,975 voted in the elections (about one third of the full membership).
PUZZLE .... ANSWERS TO WATCHDOG PLEASE.
If 7,000 members voted for the NATIONALLY elected members, how many members voted for the REGIONALLY elected members? We offer no odds - but could it be as few as less than 2,000 branch committee members?
Already this year, we can look forward to a new dawn in the affairs of the RSPCA.
After the AGM there was, so we have been reliably informed, a secret meeting of some Council members from which several other Council members were excluded. At this meeting we were told, it was planned to put forward Mrs. R. Smith as Chairperson, Mr. Hart as Vice Chairperson and Mrs. Fulcher as Treasurer. We are pleased to report that THESE PLANS WERE OVERTURNED by alert and progressive Council members at the council Meeting on 4/7/90.
MRS. FELTHOUSE (to be excluded from office under the original scheme) was elected as Chairperson with RICHARD RYDER as Vice Chairperson and Mrs. R. Smith as Treasurer. Mr. Michael Kay became vice Treasurer and NO CO-OPTIONS WERE MADE.
GOOD-BYE ANELAY HART.
Let us hope that the new improved Council also say good-bye to Messrs. Stones, Spikins, and miles and that they co-opt different people on to the Council.
In response to numerous inquiries - NO - WATCHDOG MOST DEFINITELY DID NOT SUPPORT THE RE-ELECTION OF MRS. MACKENNOW.
IF ONLY the RSPCA’s new Coat of arms was "THE HERALD OF A NEW ERA" as headlined in RSPCA "TODAY".
On the Coat of Arms is a fox standing we are told for "the wild animals for which the RSPCA protects and campaigns". If the RSPCA is sincere in protecting and campaigning for the fox - how do Council members explain:
"I felt disgust after seeing Princess Anne giving awards at an RSPCA event especially when three pages before there was a full page on the efforts being made to ban fox hunting. She is, after all, a keen fox hunter and shooting fan and only recently a paper reported with picture that Zara (her daughter) jumps on pheasants to help them die faster."
ARE THE COUNCIL MEMBERS SO INSENSITIVE THAT THEY CANNOT SEE THE HYPOCRISY OF IT ALL?
A DOG also appears on the Coat of Arms. How is the Council protecting the dogs in the Liverpool branch, where we understand, the Huelic Cabinet is still in use and where limited opening hours prevent easy access to the kennels for the public wishing to adopt a dog or reclaim a lost one? Kennels are closed at 4.30 P.M. on weekdays, closed at weekends and on bank holidays.
£££££ Expensive Coat of Arms - or money spent on animals £££££
QUOTE OF THE MONTH STAG HUNTING DEFENDED
"A bid to ban hunting deer with hounds was defeated in the House of Commons last week when its progress was blocked.
Mr. MICHAEL COLVIN Chairman for Country Sports, described the Bill as "misconceived" and "ill advised".
In a statement issued last week
he said that "staghunting was essential to the conservation of red deer."
HORSE AND HOUND 28/6/90 (Michael Colvin is a member of the RSPCA)
"I notice also a great change in the 1989 Annual Report which has become rather startlingly glossy (and expensive?). The Report of the 1989 AGM does NOT include (as did the 1988 one) a list of the motions put to the meeting and the result of the voting on them." (Can it be because members are regarded as unimportant)?
"One cannot regret the narrow defeat of the Registration Bill. We had not got it right. Tragically, the RSPCA did infinite damage by the silly campaign exaggerating the cost of keeping a dog and so losing good homes. The RSPCA’s job is not leaning over backwards to help the public BUT TO PROTECT ANIMALS." Vera York. Former RSPCA Council Member.
"At the last (branch) AGM, the two Inspectors just cut me dead - didn’t even look in my direction. Yet last year they were both very chatty. I think they are afraid to be seen with me." (Can it be that the maligners and defamers have been at work?)
SADDEST OF ALL are the phone calls, often late at night, from branch secretaries too frightened to Complain themselves but who want watchdog to complain for them. The chief gripe is about RIO and the huge sums of money that have to be found by branches to pay for extra administrative staff BEFORE any animal work can be undertaken.
££££££ ONE MILLION POUNDS SPENT ON THE REGISTRATION CAMPAIGN ££££££
JULY 4TH 1990
RSPCA in cash probe
RSPCA officials were being quizzed by detectives last night over £80,000 missing from funds.
The chairman of the RSPCA branch in Chester called in police after being alerted by auditors.
The chairman, treasurer and secretary have now been suspended while police investigate.
Caretaker chairman John Blake said: "The auditors say about £80,000 us deficient from our general income going back several years."
UNCARING TO MEMBERS?
The Kingston-on-Thames branch has in recent years expelled three members. The latest victim is Caroline Wigmore.
The Council, as usual, is turning a blind eye. Perhaps all council Members have not been told and are unaware of what is happening..
THE COUNCIL IS WRONG TO TURN A BLIND EYE.
The Chief Charity Commissioner in a letter to a Member of Parliament has given his view:
"That the Council is responsible for the behaviour of its Branch committees."
WATCHDOG urges Council members TO WAKE UP to the fact that cruel injustices are being inflicted on members.
Caroline Wigmore has given WATCHDOG AMPLE evidence that her trial was unfair and would appear to be contrary to the law of natural justice. Caroline has written evidence as well as the evidence of a responsible witness.
We plead with the new Council to at least LISTEN to Caroline.
UNCARING TO ANIMALS?
For 15 months a little Yorkie called CHICO appears to have been unjustly withheld from its lawful owner by the RSPCA Bournemouth. The rightful owner, Mrs. Norma Cavell had to take the RSPCA to Court to get her little dog back, and on the 28th JUNE SHE WON HER CASE AND WAS AWARDED COSTS.
EVERY RSPCA COUNCIL MEMBER SHOULD READ THE LETTER THAT MRS. CAVELL WROTE TO WATCHDOG. TWO COUNCIL MEMBERS HAVE THAT LETTER ALREADY. IT WILL BE SUPPLIED TO ANY COUNCIL MEMBER WHO ASKS WATCHDOG FOR IT.
IS IT TRUE as we have been told, was admitted in COURT, by the branch secretary and the Inspector that:
AND MUCH MORE
In the space of one week we learned about the ordeal of Mrs. Cavell, about the expulsion of Caroline Wigmore and of the £80,000 apparently missing from the Chester branch.
IS IT NOT TIME THAT THE COUNCIL STARTED TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT IS DONE IN THE NAME OF THE RSPCA????
(It is only fair to say that the Council members we approached had no knowledge of the three matters mentioned above.)
££££££ JUSTICE FOR MEMBERS ££££££ HELP FOR ANIMALS ££££££
THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
The Annual General Meeting held on June 30th has been described by members as a "fiasco". It was, they said, poorly attended, the dullest meeting ever and totally uninspiring.
IS THIS SURPRISING? Members see little point in attending when those who dare to criticise or ask questions are seen as "trouble makers".
THE ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING IS DYING. It is being killed by the intolerant, the bigoted and the unthinking.
IF FURTHER PROOF IS NEEDED about the unthinking attitudes, CONSIDER THE DEFEAT OF MOTION 7. This motion sought to unite the Society behind the official policies on COMPANION ANIMALS, FARM ANIMALS, ANIMAL EXPERIMENTATION, WILDLIFE AND ON THE USE OF ANIMALS IN ENTERTAINMENT, BLOOD SPORTS AND ON THE TRANSPORT OF UNACCOMPANIED ANIMALS, all recorded in a book called "POLICIES ON ANIMAL WELFARE" issued by RSPCA HEADQUARTERS.
How many members have read OR EVEN SEEN that official book?
If they disagree with anything in that book - WHAT ON EARTH ARE THEY DOING IN THE RSPCA?
EVERY ORGANISATION UNDER THE SUN requires its members to conform publicly to the organisation’s policies. NOT APPARENTLY THE RSPCA. SNARES WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN SET IN THE ROYAL PARK if the policies were known and strictly kept. A little fox would never have suffered there if the RSPCA Council had publicly promoted the policies.
THE RSPCA POLICIES HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH VEGETARIANISM OR VEGANISM.
We say, shame on those who spoke against or voted against this motion.
Policies can be changed by democratic means but while policies remain, they should and must be, promoted.
CAN THE EXPENSIVE QUEEN ELIZABETH II CONFERENCE BALL be justified as the venue for next year’s AGM?
WHY NOT HIRE A LITTLE VILLAGE HALL (or a telephone kiosk!!) because the intolerant have reduced what used to be a stimulating, lively meeting TO A FLOP.
We don’t want the Society’s millions, but we would be grateful for help with the increasing costs of postage and photocopying.
With best wishes to all our readers,
from the Secretariat and
The Mail on Sunday,
Retreat on the Siegfried Line
June 3. 1990
By HUGH MUIR
It shouldn’t happen to a vet - especially if he’s know to millions as Britain’s most lovable animal doctor.
Actor Robert Hardy, star of the BBC series All Creatures Great And Small, seemed the perfect choice to open a £700,000 RSPCA home. But it sparked a furore among animal-lovers.
For the society learned that the actor who delights viewers as vet Siegfried Farnon is a keen huntsman.
Not only that, but he helped to found the Standing Council For Country Sports - a group set up to campaign against organisations like the RSPCA, which are opposed to blood sports.
Angry rebels demanded on Wednesday that Hardy’s invitation to the Great Ayton Animal Centre, near Middlesborough, on June 26 be withdrawn.
Hardy, a member of the Garth and South Berkshire hunt, knew nothing of the row until contacted at his Oxfordshire home by The Mail on Sunday. "I’d say the country is being told what to do by people who do not know a great deal." he said.
But half an hour later he revealed his appearance had been canceled: "I offered to withdraw if the RSPCA felt it proper and they accepted."
RSPCA campaigns director Gavin Grant said Hardy had acted in a ‘highly responsible and dignified manner’.
Snared By Appointment
Fox cub is left to
face a cruel death
on Windsor estate
FIGHTING FOR LIFE: The cub, frantic with fear, chews at the wire noose in a desperate struggle for freedom.
THIS fox cub is struggling for his young life. His mouth is bleeding from pitiful attempts to chew through the wire noose that curbs him so cruelly. The snare around his middle has already cut through his fur and flesh.
Trapped for at least 26 hours, the cub seems certain to die unless freed. But this is not the work of vandals or poachers. This casual cruelty was taking place last week on the most famous royal estate in Britain.
Here on the borders of Windsor Great Park, where Prince Philip himself is Head Ranger, some of the most barbaric methods of trapping wildlife - condemned by the RSPCA - are used daily in the interests of royal sport.
A Mail on Sunday investigation has uncovered an extraordinary and embarrassing anomaly which makes a mockery of the Queen’s patronage of the RSPCA.
She and the Queen Mother are both vice-presidents of the society. But now the RSPCA is to hold an urgent inquiry into the snaring of animals by Crown Estates staff - and a prosecution is almost certain to follow.
Evidence handed over yesterday to the society by The Mail on Sunday proves without doubt that the law is being broken on the Crown lands at Windsor.
Under the 1981 Wildlife and Countryside act free-running snares, though legal, must be inspected at least once every 24 hours.
It was a full 26 hours after he first found the struggling fox cub that photographer David O’Neill released the wretched animal in this picture to recover in the wild.
‘When I first found him in the woods, he was frantic with fear, snapping and snarling. I left him because I was certain the gamekeeper who set the snare would arrive at first light to put him out of his misery.’ he said.
‘When I returned at dawn the next day - 26 hours later - the fox cub was still there, already growing weak from his injuries.’
The fact that snares are being used at all is against RSPCA policy.
The society’s national wildlife officer, Colin Booty, said: ‘If snares are not being checked, our officers will investigate. It is irrelevant to us that the land is owned by the Royal Family. We will act without fear or favour, and if we find the law has been broken we will not hesitate to prosecute.
‘We are campaigning for a total ban on snares. This is one of our top priorities.’
The society’s brochure on snares declares: ‘It is illegal to set snares for domestic animals, birds deer and badgers but not for rabbits and foxes. This is nonsense; if snaring is cruel to cats and dogs it cannot be less cruel to rabbits and foxes.
RSPCA inspectors will visit the woods, on the Windsor Crown estates, tomorrow. The snares are set there to protect pheasants being reared by gamekeepers for the Queen’s shooting parties.
Even the trees bear witness to the royal love of blood sports. On one is a plaque to mark the spot where Prince Albert ‘finished his last day’s shooting’ on November 23, 1861.
Next to it stands the gamekeeper’s cottage. Keeper Ian Watmore admitted that the use of snares in the woods was ‘something of a conflict’, considering his employer’s links with the RSPCA. But he added: ‘Snares are the best way to keep down foxes. The kind we use are legal and we’ll go on using them until they’re banned.’
Told of a pet dog trapped in one of his wire snares, Mr. Watmore said: ‘That’s not the first time and probably won’t be the last. There are notices telling the public to keep dogs under control.’
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: ‘We are satisfied that the snares were checked every day last week by the gamekeeper and no foxes were found.’ But David O’Neill our photographer said last night: ‘I visited the woods on the Crown land on four mornings last week, each time at 4.30 am. On Tuesday the snares were empty, on Wednesday the fox cub had been caught.
‘I left the wood at 5.10 am that day. On Thursday morning I arrived to find the cub still imprisoned so I stayed until 6.45 am then released him and left.
‘On Friday morning I returned to find that the empty snare had not been reset. I believe that the Crown Estates staff had broken the law a second time by not checking the snares again for 24 hours.’
HAS THE RSPCA COUNCIL EVER TOLD H.M. QUEEN ELIZABETH ABOUT THE RSPCA POLICIES?
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