|NEWSLETTER NUMBER 22 DECEMBER 1990
Tel: 0293 786166
IS THIS THE KIND OF RSPCA MEMBERS WANT?
On pages 3 and 4 of this newsletter, you will find items that must give every RSPCA member cause for concern.
On page 4, the RSPCA Council is criticised in the press for being out of touch, for causing, through its Registration Scheme, the growth of a strong and increasingly intolerant anti - dog lobby, for having a poster that exceeds the bounds of acceptable taste and for having a private hideaway for its London administrative centre where animals are not welcome.
You will also see an advertisement for a branch chairman and secretary. Whatever happened to the Branch rules?
THE WATCHDOG FIVE
On page 3, you will see the terms laid down by the Council for the re-admittance of the WATCHDOG FIVE to the Society.
Three of the Five, DAVE WETTON, RICHARD FARHALL, MARGARET HOUSE have rejected those terms. They feel that every member should know why they are taking this stand.
They believe that their expulsion was unjust and that the hearing was not conducted according to the rules of natural justice. These rules were clarified in a document circulated by the former Legal Officer. Therefore, they believe they should, in the interests of mutual goodwill, be offered reinstatement without loss of membership.
They believe that ALL MEMBERS have a right to know the details of their expulsion and any terms for their re-admission. There is too much secrecy in the RSPCA and so THEY REFUSE TO BE MUZZLED.
They believe that they have a duty towards the supporters of Watchdog and especially towards all those members who have suffered equal or greater injustices, to continue to see redress for them and not to accept RSPCA membership AT ANY PRICE. However their stand AT THIS TIME does not mean that they are unwilling to enter into future negotiations on both the matter of their own individual reinstatement and the need for the Council to take on board positively the concerns of the Watchdog group generally. They want an inquiry into the treatment of Anne Jenkins, Dorothy Adams, June and Graham Page, Doris and Caroline Wigmore and MANY OTHERS.
Of the remaining two original expelled Watchdogs, Joan Watson has had no contact with Watchdog. She has always regarded herself as illegally expelled.
"I attended the Westminster Abbey "Celebration" Service for 150 years "Royal" SPCA last Thursday, 4th October. So first we had the "celebration" and blessing of the animals then afterwards, we ate them, at the Horticultural Hall Reception. At least, as a Vegan, I had 4 radishes and 2 small tomatoes - observing the sausages and other animal products being consumed by Horsham salaried staff and RSPCA supporters alike. Some of us (the 1 - 2% vegans) nearly held a Funeral Service over the plate of chippolatas."
"It is also great to read of the many areas, I counted 200, in which Watchdog supporters are to be found. Surely, the knowledge of their growing numbers will soon have some effect on the attitude of the Council.
Perhaps the first feeble signs of this are beginning to appear. There is now, comparatively recently, a registered cattery at the Perranporth Centre. But, too small - only for 18 cats. In an interview, Mr. Harper said to the Leader (a small weekly local paper) "We never turn a cat away." This sounds good until he is reported as saying later "Space is at a premium - all stay if there is space. If there isn’t space the old cats over 10 years or so have to be put down." So the RSPCA in this area still keeps its reputation of putting animals down."
"More care is needed in appointing branch secretaries and branch committees, particularly as, in the matter of dealing with a complaint, the decision of a branch committee is final. Sometimes quite unsuitable people are invited to "go on a branch committee" just to make up the numbers."
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
"It is good news that the Advertising Standards Authority has banned the latest RSPCA advertisement showing a dead horse suspended from a meat hook. The use of repellent photographs in order to shock is hardly ever justified, and as a means of putting over a point, never works. The Government has already wasted millions of pounds trying to frighten people into avoiding Aids by similar shock tactics.
The now - jettisoned RSPCA campaign is estimated to have cost £300,000 and one wonders what people who have donated money to this charity think about such an obvious and unnecessary waste."
Richard Ingrams Observer 18/11/90.
Extract from the Times Editorial 17/11/90
The Times now understands that the RSPCA advertisement bears no relationship to any reality. Dead ponies are not slung on hooks in this way in the course of or as a consequence of the international trade in live animals. The RSPCA described it as merely a "symbol" of its message. The incident portrayed in the staged photograph was in every sense a fake. By resorting to such a stratagem, the RSPCA has forfeited some of its authority for the sake of creating a shock. The Times regrets publishing the advertisement.
A SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION
OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS
1842 - 1990
After 150 years, the words of Richard Martin at the first meeting of the Society, should ring in the ears of every Council member. It would be ill judged, he said, for it to become known as a prosecuting society and the prime aim should be "to alter the moral feelings of the country."
There is no better place to start to alter the moral feelings of the country than in the First Schools. Older members may remember that under the chairmanship of RICHARD RYDER, the Society’s Education department grew into an effective and exciting organisation. Who can forget the Schools Campaign? It is distressing, therefore, to see how the alleged £1,000,000 spent on the Registration campaign only appears to have resulted in propaganda for the anti-dog brigade. Now, a further £300,000 has been spent on more shock horror fakes. We urge the Council to realise that such tactics do not work. If Council members cannot realise how insensitive it is for them to listen during the Abbey service to extracts from the life of St. Francis who "removed from the road little worms lest they be crushed under foot" and called "all animals by the name brother" and then to walk across to a reception where their "brothers" were served up on a plate - then they really should ask themselves whether they are the sort of people who can "CHANGE THE MORAL FEELINGS OF THE COUNTRY."
RESOLUTION PASSED BY RSPCA COUNCIL ON 31/10/90
That, in the interests of goodwill between the society and Richard Farhall, Margaret House, Joan Watson and David Wetton, the differences between the Society and Richard Farhall, Margaret House, Joan Watson and David Wetton shall be resolved as follows:-
(1) Richard Farhall, Margaret House, Joan Watson and David Wetton may apply for readmission to membership of the Society in accordance with Rule III(2)(a) of the Rules of the Society.
(2) The Society shall accede to such applications and shall constitute Richard Farhall, Margaret House, Joan Watson and David Wetton as annual members of the Society as from the date of their respective applications and shall cause their names to be entered on the Register of members maintained at the Headquarters of the Society. For the avoidance of doubt, Richard Farhall, Margaret House, Joan Watson and David Wetton shall be treated as not having been members of the Society between their expulsion on 30 November 1988 and the date of their respective applications pursuant to Clause (1) hereof.
(3) The Society and Richard Farhall, Margaret House, Joan Watson and David Wetton agree to a mutual restraint upon discussion of their expulsion and their readmission, save only where a legally enforceable duty otherwise requires.
(4) Observance of the restraint upon discussion and disclosure shall be a condition of this agreement, with the consequence that a breach of it by either Richard Farhall, Margaret House, Joan Watson and David Wetton be deemed to be and shall be accepted by the Society as their notice in writing addressed to the society resigning their memberships.
(5) The above terms shall only be effective upon Richard Farhall, Margaret House, Joan Watson and David Wetton signing a copy of this resolution and their lodging the copy with the Executive Director of the Society.
(6) Upon such terms becoming effective the Society and each of Richard Farhall, Margaret House, Joan Watson and David Wetton shall make a press statement in terms limited to the following:
(a) That the Society has decided as a goodwill gesture designed to heal the ongoing rift between the Council and those behind the publication of Watchdog to readmit Richard Farhall, Margaret House, Joan Watson and David Wetton.
(b) That the episode of expulsion is to be treated by all parties as dead and buried.
RESOLUTION PASSED BY RSPCA COUNCIL ON 31/10/90
Watchdog! This logo was designed by a JUNIOR Watchdog supporter.
RSPCA’S hideaway home
CROYDON ADVERTISER 6/7/90
Private hideaway in South Norwood has been chosen for the RSPCA’s London base.
The administrative centre was officially opened on Friday but the location is being kept private.
"If we publicised the exact address, we’d get animals left tied up outside," explained branch co-ordinator Angela Egan.
"As it is, we’ve only got to send an inspector out in a van and people tie up unwanted pets and leave them against it."
The opening of the first-floor HQ above a shop near Norwood Junction station should spark a crackdown on animal cruelty.
Staff should also be able to improve fund-raising and efficiency from the new central base.
RSPCA out of touch
WESTERN MORNING NEWS
With dismay, I read Michael Taylor’s piece quoting RSPCA Inspector Nigel Thomas, under the headline "new safety call over dog mess" (WMN 8/10/90).
Sadly, once more we have distortion, exaggeration and inexactitude on a topic which is serious enough when accurately discussed.
When it is treated in this manner, then it calls into question the motives of those who make the remarks.
Consider the following questions and answers: How many cases of blindness (i.e. total loss of sight in both eyes) have there been due to toxocara?
Would a national registration scheme make irresponsible owners responsible, prevent toxocara or cure it, stop dogs straying or be of any benefit to the public at large?
No, no, no and no.
There exists a requirement that dogs in a public place wear a collar and identification tag.
Is that enforced?
No, and is as unenforceable as any registration scheme would be.
Are dogs the only carriers of toxocara?
No. Other domestic and wild animals are carriers.
Bye laws exist in many areas regarding dog fouling. Are they enforceable and enforced?
By and large, no.
On whom does the government, in the Environmental Protection Bill, place the duty to clear up dog mess?
On local authorities.
I have the greatest respect for the field officers of the RSPCA in the work they do for animals, and in Cornwall we are lucky to have one of the finest chief inspectors you could wish to meet.
But, they would be well advised to distance themselves from the foolish political utterances of their Horsham head office, who frequently demonstrate their remoteness from reality when dealing with the topic of dog registration.
C H Roberts
CROYDON AND CRYSTAL PALACE NEWS
Animal lovers are needed to help support Croydon and Crystal Palace RSPCA.
The local branch wants a secretary and chairman as well as volunteers to staff their charity shops.
Young people or those with office skills are particularly welcome and anyone interested should phone Angela on 081-653 9859
RSPCA poster criticised
The advertising Standards Authority has asked the RSPCA to withdraw a poster showing a dead pony for its campaign to curtail transport of live animals to the Continent for slaughter. The authority says it exceeds the bounds of acceptable taste.
There has been a bit of an uproar about the cost of flying Ministers back from abroad so that they could help to vote down the attempt at compulsory registration of dogs. Yet those of us who own dogs will be extremely grateful if the Government has managed to stave off a measure which could force us to cough up £30 a year.
Dogs are especially popular with the poor and the old. For many who live on their won they provide companionship. And a dog is one of the very few effective deterrents against burglars.
None of this has prevented the growth of a strong and increasingly intolerant anti-dog lobby. Many people now view the dog as second only to the cigarette, as a dirty, messy, anti-social phenomenon which also constitutes a serious health risk.
The dog-registration Bill was rather like the famous War Crimes Bill (about which everyone seems now to have gone quiet). The objections to both schemes were obvious all along. But in each case a group of parliamentarians felt obliged to support a measure just because they did not want to be seen opposing a prevailing consensus. Cowardice was the order of the day.
During the prolonged debate over the pros and cons of a compulsory dog registration scheme, the RSPCA has made use of many shock tactics - including having quoted the alarming numbers of dogs which "have to be destroyed" each year. It is therefore of some concern that we hear of several breed rescue organisations who have gone to the RSPCA, knowing that one of their particular breed is waiting on "death row", only to be met with little co-operation and often a flat refusal to hand over the dog concerned.
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