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.

Tel: (0239) 786166


Your Rights
It has become apparent from the many letters sent to us that RSPCA members are very vague about their rights. Over the next 3 months, members can exercise very important rights and it is essential that every member is aware of this and understands what to do.

Annual General Meeting
The Annual General Meeting of the RSPCA is on 25th June, 1988 at Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre, Westminster, London SW1 commencing 11.00am. At this meeting, members have the right to question every aspect of the Society’s work and to receive answers to their questions. In addition members have the right to propose resolutions for the Council to take action on behalf of animals and to change the Society’s rules. The Council decides which resolutions shall be discussed and it is difficult to understand how the Council members arrive at these decisions. We feel that members should be entitled to know what resolutions have been submitted for discussion and that these should be published as an addition to the Agenda paper.

Watchdog Resolutions
We are including with this newsletter a list of resolutions being submitted from watchdog Steering Group members We would like to receive copies of any resolutions our readers may be submitting. The Watchdog resolutions fall into two categories: those concerned with the protection of animals and those seeking to make the RSPCA a democratic organisation by changing the rules.

We feel it is overriding importance for the RSPCA to stop investing in companies that experiment on animals. There is no need to do this. The RSPCA Council members claim that better profits are obtained from companies that experiment on animals. Profits before compassion What a terrible indictment of the management of the Society.

The investments are in Fisons, who test Paraquat weedkiller on animals and birds, in Beechams who used 99 beagles to test chloroform in toothpaste after which 9 dogs died having convulsive fits. There are investments in Glaxo where in 1986, seven beagles had their teeth wired to receive electric shocks in order to test a painkiller. We believe that to invest in cruelty for higher profits is totally unacceptable.

Frequent claims are made by Headquarters that the Society is democratic. How many members know that out of 23 members on the Council, only 12 are elected democratically by the whole membership ? These 12 are called 'national’ members and require thousands of votes in order to get elected to the Council. Four come up for election each year and you will be voting for your choice of Council member on 11th May

Eight members of Council are called 'regional representatives’ and each can be elected by a mere handful of privileged votes - some are elected on a minority vote. They are elected by Branch Committees only. We believe there should be no privileged voters - privileged to vote twice (once for a regional representative and once for the national members). Joan's resolution seeks to change the rules to make elections to the Council democratic.

The remaining 3 members are elected by the Council members and are called 'co-opted’ members. They are supposed to be co-opted for their special qualifications but RSPCA members are, as usual, not told about these special qualifications. However, what we do know is that in 1980, Mrs Felthouse, the Council Chairperson, went to see Lord Goodman ( a very expensive lawyer ) to ask him to help her and her supporters by writing the resolutions for the Annual General Meeting for them. Once again, money donated for animals was used.

Mrs Felthouse stated that one of these resolutions said: -

"that no person who has stood for Council and failed to be elected can be co-opted"

We think this is a good idea. So why does Mrs Felthouse repeatedly support the co-option of Mr Stones (Deputy Treasurer when he stood for election in 1985 and was rejected? The resolution, so expensively acquired, was ignored.


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Mrs Betty Oakley, Secretary of the Surrey East Branch wrote to us criticising a comment made in Newsletter 1. She states:

"In view of the very adverse press that Mr Hopkins received, resulting in reflection on the RSPCA, would it not be preferable to cease referring to comments made by him ?

Definitely no. We accept the word of Miss Janet Fookes who has stated in a letter:

"He has been doubly cleared by the withdrawal of the grounds of dismissal by the Chairman and by the news that the Director of Public Prosecutions had decided to take no action whatsoever following police enquiries".

It would be nice to think that Mrs Rachel Smith, former Branch Secretary of the Surrey East Branch, who was involved in the Hopkins affair, would make it a point of honour to see that Betty Oakley was better informed.


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Mrs Anne Jenkins - holder of the Society’s Silver Brooch, branch member for 25 years, branch secretary for 12 years. Due to being in hospital, her national membership lapsed for just 11 days. She was made to re-apply for national AND branch membership. Her national membership was accepted; her branch membership refused. The reason? Mrs Inna Reilly, Chairperson of the HANTS and SURREY BORDER Branch Committee gave what appeared to be an unsubstantiated allegation that Anne wanted to smash the branch which Anne vehemently denies. Anne was not allowed to appear in person and challenge the allegation.

Mrs Doris Wigmore - holder of the Society’s Silver Brooch, branch member for 25 years, branch secretary for 23 years. Currently fighting her recent expulsion from her branch. Watchdog continues to monitor.

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March 7, 1988 was a busy day for Mrs Inna Reilly, Chairperson of the Hants and Surrey Border Branch Committee. Not content with refusing the membership of their former Branch Secretary, she and her Committee members were to expel dedicated voluntary worker Mrs Dorothy Adams . Mrs Adams was allowed to attend and answer the "charges" made against her. One of the charges was that she re-honed a kitten out of the branch area. This was true. Mrs Adams had re-homed the kitten to her daughter who was in the process of moving into the Branch area. Mrs Inna Reilly may not know that in the courts of this country, a person on trial (whether for shoplifting or worse) has the right to be accompanied. Yet Mrs Adams was denied even the support of her husband when she had to defend herself in front of an 18 strong Committee. Furthermore, NOT ONE of those Committee members was interested enough to ask Mrs Adams a single question. Mrs Adams described it as "a traumatic experience".

Would it not have been of greater benefit to animals if Mrs Reilly and her Committee had spent their time on March 7th ENCOURAGING voluntary workers Anne Jenkins and Dorothy Adams, instead of finding excuses to reject them ?The Society's rules instruct the RSPCA Council "to supervise and control the management of affairs of the Branches". So why do the Council members allow RSPCA members to be treated in this manner ?

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On March 8th, Reporting London concentrated on the RSPCA. Interviews with Joan Watson and Bernice Jones highlighted the disastrous effect on animals caused by the disbandment of their branch Committees.

Ex Inspector Ossie Glover spoke about his time in the RSPCA and the destruction of healthy animals. (Something must be seriously wrong when a good Inspector like Ossie is driven to resignation). Caroline Baron, the trainee Inspector who was dismissed for crying when she saw healthy animals being killed, and Jacky Ward Reel were featured running their Animal Protection trust. They do this on a shoestring budget whilst the local RSPCA branch has over £58,000 invested. It is no wonder that the new RSPCA Executive Director appeared nonplussed when confronted with questions.

Marie Hughes of the Wimbledon branch spoke movingly about the humiliating way she has been treated by the Council. The Enfield branch's work was featured as well as Gary Edwards of the London N.E. Branch Committee (now disbanded)

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Mrs J. Felthouse in a letter to Dave Wetton:

"You should perhaps be flattered that Council considered the Watchdog newsletter to be of sufficient importance to warrant advising the membership"

To the tune of over £4,000 ? How many animals could be helped with £4,000 ?

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Some members have been confused by the notice concerning the Annual General Meeting which appeared in "RSPCA TODAY". You cannot vote in the Council elections until you receive the voting papers around 11th May. The names of the Council members printed in the notice are finishing their three years on Council and therefore have to stand again as candidates We believe they should stand down and not seek re-election. We will explain about the elections in our May newsletter. However, if you still have worries, contact a member of the Watchdog Steering Group or ring (0293) 786166.

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This newsletter has been sent to all branch secretaries.

Once again, thank you for all your letters and phone calls and a special thanks for your donations to help us continue with Watchdog.

Best Wishes,

                 RICHARD FARHALL                                     MARGARET HOUSE                                               JOAN WATSON

                                             ANGELA WALDER              (Steering Group)                DAVE WETTON


"That this AGM condemns unreservedly the genetic engineering of food animals and instructs the Council to take positive steps to publicise this condemnation together with effective measures to stem the increase of genetically engineered animals."
                                           Prop: MH
                                           Second: RF

Delete Rule VI (2). Insert:

No member of the Council, however elected, shall remain on Council for a period in excess of 6 consecutive years or part thereof. At the end of this period there shall be a sabbatical period of at least 3 years, when the member does not present himself/ herself for election.
                                           Prop: MH
                                           Second: AW

Rule V (2). After "shall not exceed three" delete rest. Insert:

All co-opted members shall remain on the Council for a maximum of one year, retiring at the and shall not, after that year be eligible for further co-option. A co-opted member shall not be entitled to vote at Council Meetings or Council Committees and shall be ineligible for appointment as an Officer of the Council or of any other Council Committee
                                           Prop: NH
                                           Second: AW

New Rule:

No person who participates in, or openly supports ,any activity which is contrary to the RSPCA’s stated "Prime Objectives" or official Policies, shall be eligible to hold a position of authority or responsibility within the Society, paid or voluntary, and that this shall be a rule of the Society.
                                           Prop: DW
                                           Second: RF

Delete Rule VI (6). Insert:

The Regional Representative Members shall be elected triennially. Candidates for election shall be subject to the conditions set out in Rule VI (3). The Council shall publicise the elections nationally 3 months in advance and, at the same time call for nominations. Branches throughout the country shall be divided into 8 Regions with such boundaries as the Council shall from tine to tine determine. Each Region shall be entitled to elect one representative on a vote of all members in the Region.

The voting papers shall be counted by independent scrutineers under arrangements to be made by the Executive Director and the names of the candidates and the voting figures shall be announced at the Annual General Meeting

Each Region may fill up a casual vacancy in its representation by electing another representative who shall hold office for the same time as the representative whose place he/she fills. He/She shall not thereby become entitled to succeed to any other office or sit on any Committee unless and until duly elected thereto.
                                          Prop: JW
                                          Second: MH

Delete Rule X (7)
                                          Prop: JW

                                                                                    Second: AW

In view of the non-implementation of the resolution passed at the 1985 Annual General Meeting which said that Council members should attend the Annual General Meeting and try to influence other shareholders, of companies involved in animal abuse, in which the RSPCA has investments

The RSPCA should divest itself of its investments within companies whose abuse of animals involves licensing under the 1986 Animals (Scientific) Procedures Act.
                                           Prop: AW

This AGM believes that the Council should take immediate steps to discontinue the agreement with the British Veterinary Association which includes within it the condition that

"the RSPCA will not neuter cats or dogs belonging to the general public at any of its clinics or hospitals except in special cases on the decision of the veterinary surgeon in charge, in consultation with the person acting as almoner."
                                   Prop: AW
                                   Second: JW

This AGM views with concern the fact that membership of the Society has fallen from 26,029 in 1983 to 21,387 in 1987.

This AGM calls on the Council to promote the Society more vigorously by means of a combined advertisement/membership application form campaign in order to attract the active support of sympathisers throughout the UK who are not currently members of the Society.
                                          Prop: RF
                                          Second: DW

This AGM notes that:

'The RSPCA is opposed to the infliction of pain and suffering on any animal in the name of sport’ (RSPCA Policies on Animal Welfare, page 19, Bloodsports)

'The Report of the Panel of Enquiry into Shooting and Angling (Medway Report) has proved to the satisfaction of the RSPCA that fish are capable of experiencing pain and suffering' (RSPCA Policies on Animal Welfare, page 19, section 2, para 1)

This AGM therefore calls on the Society to initiate a national campaign in order to make known its policies towards angling.
                                         Prop: RF
                                         Second: DW

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