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.

Watchdog Newsletter Number 46 March 1995
Tel:02093 786166

"If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music he hears, however measured or far away."
Henry Thoreau.



For years some members of the RSPCA have used the term ‘Animal Rightists’ as a sign of contempt for those who in their eyes were ‘Marxists, Trotskyites, dissidents, troublemakers’ or even worse. This was because they did not or would not understand the philosophy that drove people to campaign with an unstoppable fervour against the terrible abuse of animals in intensive farming methods, in laboratories, in fur farms and on the hunting field. Animal Rights supporters have suffered imprisonment, injury and death for their beliefs. On a lesser scale, they have been expelled from the RSPCA and excluded from branches. They use tactics that are spurned and decried by those who prefer the comfortable arm chair approach to animal welfare. In the campaign to stop the export of live food animals, Animal Rights supporters have awakened the conscience of the nation. Every newspaper and every TV News programme has given coverage to those who held the barricades at Shoreham, Brightlingsea, Plymouth, Swansea and Coventry airport. Young, middle aged and old, experienced demonstrators and those who have never demonstrated before have joined ranks in support of the animals. Things will never be the same again.

We congratulate C.I.W.F. and Respect for Animals for leading the campaign. We only wish the RSPCA could have been in the forefront. Perhaps even at this late stage, the RSPCA Council could make a public protest by refusing to eat meat until the export of live food animals is banned - who knows, the Council members might even enjoy a vegetarian/vegan diet and become healthier as a result.



"The history of violence in this movement (Animal Rights) shows quite clearly ... there hasn’t been any vivisector or other animal exploiter killed, or indeed seriously wounded. But the other way around. There have been very many animal campaigners and indeed Green campaigners who have been killed and seriously wounded in the last 20 years. The serious violence has come from the other side."

Richard Ryder interviewed in the Guardian Weekend magazine 4/2/**



"We have several towns with large feral populations; Ammanford, 100 in one colony, Carmarthen, 300, and Llanelli, (including surrounding districts) estimated at 300 to 400. How accurate these figures are is, of course, open to doubt; but it remains that the total is "lots".

The cats live wherever there is a food source. In towns restaurants provide a constant supply of edible rubbish. At Holiday Camps (we have one at Laugharne) there is a restaurant plus kindly holiday makers all through the summer - the breeding season. At the end of the season it all shuts down and everyone leaves. The cats starve to death. There is a regeneration of ferals from abandoned pet animals.

So what do we as a Branch do about it? We maintain an ABSOLUTELY FREE neutering service for all cats, both male and female with no almoning. We trap some few ferals. Our policy is to neuter some and return them if a responsible person will undertake to feed them. Unfortunately the RSPCA has the reputation of killing everything that comes our way, but what, I ask you, is the alternative? If you or your correspondents can provide an answer we will be delighted.

When we receive a call saying "Do not put it down" we respond by giving assurances that the cats will be rehomed on a small holding where they are wanted for ratting. Then we take them home and promptly kill them!

Even with callers with a real problem we can find that what we expect can go horribly wrong. Recently a trap was given to an elderly farmer who by failing to neuter his cats had grown an unacceptable number of "ratters" . Even though we had arranged to have the trapped cats put down at our expense at his nearest vet; he found it easier to drown the cats in the traps!

If any of your correspondents can offer a better solution we will welcome their suggestions, but no "pie in the sky" ideas of all life is sacred will work in a real life situation such as this! Re homing of wild cats is not practical - we would soon have a Dangerous Cats Act to supplement the DDA if we were to pursue that avenue."

(From the Chairman of the RSPCA SE Dyfed Branch in response to an item in Watchdog 45. His letter has been shortened.)


"For many years when time and money permit feral cats have been and are trapped and released if there is a feeder and if they are fit and healthy. Recently there has been a problem. Some young kittens are tameable (all mine were ferals) and have been fostered until rehomeable. One seemingly healthy kitten became ill and within a few days was on death’s door. The fosterer’s cats are at risk if it is leukemia, we are waiting to see. The kitten is about 14 weeks old. Leukemia vaccination and testing is so expensive it is impossible to afford. Has anyone got a solution on dealing with this problem if we are to avoid further distress to all concerned?"

(from a supporter in the north of England)


"A friend of ours who runs an animal sanctuary at Buxted near Uckfield in Sussex had a call from the police the other day. They had an injured badger and hadn’t been able to contact the RSPCA. When he eventually collected it they told him that the RSPCA would normally put down a badger in this state (broken pelvis I think) whereas Gary was able to get it fixed up and released. The cops will now be contacting him first from now on."

(From a supporter in the SE)


"I would like to know why the RSPCA continues to perpetuate the myth that the animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 is an improvement on the old 1876 Act? (P.10 Animal Life).

As it was admitted at the time, the new Act would not stop one single animal experiment, and in fact it enabled additional procedures originally banned, to be performed. Not even cosmetic testing has been halted by this Act.

So why does the RSPCA not come clean? Is it because the Society supported the introduction of the Act alongside the BVA and FRAME and is forced to save face by suggesting tinkering with the practical implementation of an Act which is widely recognised as a Scientists’ Charter!"

(From a supporter in the South of England)


"I joined the Shoreham demo on Friday night. Loads of activists and 1300 police. The police came in for a lot of abuse inevitably and one or two had golf balls chucked at them so the helmets came in handy. When things had calmed down later we talked to some of them. A Superintendent who deals with the North Downs HSA reckoned that 80% of the cops at Shoreham are sympathetic to the aims of the protesters but simply have to get the vans through if they can. I am amazed at the way in which the live animal export demos have gathered such momentum. I have been to Shoreham three times and will be down there again. It’s so nice though seeing such a large amount of local involvement - probably 90% or more including the wives of some of the policemen at Shoreham. Without a doubt it was the activist smashing the windscreen that started the ball rolling - CIF had been there for about 3 months then along comes a bit of violence and ‘bingo’ the press are on to it straight-away."

(From a supporter in the SE)


"Phoned Waldegrave last week and sternly requested he rang me back. The lackey to whom I eventually did speak was the usual polite and slightly bored chap. Waldegrave was, in the first sentence ‘at a conference’. Then a little later he was ‘at home’. Was polite and stated my views.

Phoned Lambeth Palace to suggest that the Archbishop in full ecclesiastical regalia be seen supporting the crowds at Shoreham. (No chance) Also phoned Bishop of Durham (had to be put in writing). Jesus mixed with the crowds who were as volatile as those of today. Also wrote to the Animal Christian Welfare. There has been no coverage on TV, radio or in the press from a Church hierarchy member - a deafening silence from that quarter. A Mrs. Tripp from ACC phoned last night and she does agree that the Church should be more vocal. Don’t know whether it is true or not but I did hear that the C of E has dairy farms and calves go to the continent".

(From a supporter in the far North of England)


"I am totally opposed to the ‘Freedom Foods’ campaign. Why on earth did the Council agree to such a business? What will happen when the company extends (as it will) its marketing to dairy cattle? What will happen to the Calves? Do the Council know what is going on? Ordinary members certainly do not".

(From a supporter in the Midlands)


The Watchdogs do not necessarily share the views in these letters.




For the last 7 years Watchdog has been drawing attention to the unjust treatment of members. Some of these members who have been refused branch membership are people who hold positions of responsibility in their local communities - one is on the RSPCA Council. The time is long overdue for such nonsense to be put right.

On page 6 of this newsletter, you will se a press cutting about a recruitment drive in Newark by the Notts East RSPCA Branch. It does seem ridiculous when there are people eager to join who have been refused membership. In 1980 almost the entire Newark Auxiliary was excluded from Branch membership. You might well ask WHY!

In 1980, the RSPCA was flourishing in Newark under the Chairman - Graham Page after a long period of public squabbling and resignations, a Charity Shop had been opened and the profile of the RSPCA raised by a successful campaign to outlaw the use of lead shot and weights by fishermen which was decimating the swan populations.

A month later at a controversial AGM held in Retford (where Joan Hurst was Aux. Secretary) the only Newark member to be elected to the Branch committee was the Branch Secretary. Graham Page and almost the entire Newark membership were excluded from branch membership.

When the Branch’s Annual Report was published in June 1981, the Pages and inflation were blamed for a poor financial year. Graham Page alerted the auditors that large sums of money were missing and the accounts were immediately withdrawn. When he and 20 other Newark members arrived at the AGM to hear an explanation, the were confronted by the police and Major Langham, a senior member of HQ staff who refused to let them in. Invited members of the press were also refused admission.

On a second presentation of the accounts four months later, £9,000 came to light - £6,600 in the Reform Aux account and £2,400 in the Newark Aux account held by the Branch secretary.

No explanation was given as to why these funds were missing from the Branch accounts nor declared on audit. There was no explanation for or retraction of the false claims in the annual Report and no apology has been given to the Pages about this attempt to discredit them.

(This information was supplied by June Page together with other documentation.

In the last watchdog we asked for an amnesty for all UNJUSTLY treated members. We have not heard of any action being taken in response.

WE NOW APPEAL TO RON KIRKBY, CHAIRMAN OF COUNCIL to put things right. IT IS FOR THE COUNCIL TO ACT not the HQ staff who are the employees of the Council and are paid to carry out the instructions given to them.

We urge all members who have had their applications for Branch membership rejected (not those expelled from a branch) to write to Ron Kirkby at:-

Walnut Cottage, Weston Green Road, Thames Ditton, Surrey KT7 0HY with an application to join their local branch giving any personal details thought necessary. We hope that Ron will act.


In the last Watchdog newsletter no. 44, reference was made to the claims made by Joan Felthouse at a Regional Meeting in 1979 that the Council had been taken over by a group of activists not interested in the Society. We know you will be amused to read a quote from a review in the Daily Telegraph entitled ‘RSPCA AND THE RED MENACE’. Quote

"One theory about the RSPCA is that it is in the process of being taken over buy the Communists. This unexpected notion was advanced during the course of last night’s PANORAMA by a rather severe looking lady member. Asked why she thought the party would be interested in infiltrating the Royal Society, she replied darkly; ‘Well we don’t know do we? We’re not Communists.’"

The severe looking lady member referred to was Joan Hurst. Times don’t change do they!






Vegetarians claim medical
proof of meat-free health

Consumer Affairs Correspondent

Vegetarians suffer 20 per cent less premature mortality, 30 per cent less heart disease and 40 per cent less cancer than meat-eaters, according to the first comprehensive survey of medical evidence on vegetarianism.

The survey, published yesterday, reports that a vegetarian diet can protect against diabetes, obesity, hypertension, gallstones and other disorders.

The author, Andy Bond, research manager of the Vegetarian Society which produced the report, said it "proves beyond doubt that opting for a vegetarian diet is one of the healthiest decisions you can make".

The survey, Vegetarian Vitality, is aimed mainly at doctors and health professionals, who, Mr. Bond says, receive "little or no nutritional training". Despite its origins - the society was established in 1847 to promote vegetarianism - the survey is based on research published in leading academic and professional journals such as the British Medical Journal, the Lancet and other, specialist publications in the fields of cancer, heart research and epidemiology.

'Opting for a vegetarian is a healthy decision'

Many of the studies quoted are large-scale. One involving 6,115 British vegetarians and 5,015 meat-eaters found general mortality was 20 per cent lower among vegetarians, while deaths from cancer were 39 per cent lower and from heart disease 28 per cent lower.

Another study found that levels of obesity were 5.4 per cent among vegetarians and 19.5 per cent among meat-eaters. Obesity is increasing in the West and makes people more liable to suffer from heart disease, diabetes and breast cancer. The report says that the fact that vegetarians are leaner than carnivores may be due to their lower overall energy intake, of which less is supplied by fat.

The publication of the report, at a time of prolonged protest over the welfare of farm animals bound for slaughter, will add to the pressure on the meat trade. There are now an estimated 3 million vegetarians in the United Kingdom, compared with 100,000 in 1945.

Stephen Connor, the society’s campaign director, said that the change to vegetarianism had been motivated by respect for animals, environmental awareness and concern for human health.

The Meat and Livestock Commission claimed that the Vegetarian Society’s survey was selective in its culling of sources, and said the Government recommended that people should eat meat as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

"Ninety-seven per cent of the people in this country still eat meat and I don’t think they’re going to take much notice of evangelical vegetarians banging on about how healthy they are," a spokesman added.


RSPCA recruits

The RSPCA has launched a recruitment drive for its Nottinghamshire East branch, which covers the Newark area.

Mr. Ian Callingham, inspector for the area, last month reported a sickening case of cruelty in which a dog was attacked by a man with a spade by the banks of the River Trent in Newark.

It is not known whether the dog was dead or alive when it was thrown into the river.

Miss Trudy Gill, the branch co-ordinator, said: "By joining the RSPCA, members help the branch with its ongoing campaign to prevent cruelty and promote compassion to all living creatures.

"By joining the branch members will become part of a dedicated group of volunteers, committed to ending local animal cruelty."

Details and application forms are available from Miss Gill, on Nottingham (0602) 792616




New ‘home’ service for pet owners

AN EMERGENCY service catering exclusively for pets has been set up.

The pioneering scheme by the RSPCA in Bradford will mean pet owners need no longer worry about the fate of their animals if something unexpected happens.

The pet will be collected by the charity and taken to the Mount Street Animals Centre off Leeds Road if its owner falls ill or dies.

The animal will then be given a temporary home and care or if necessary be found a new permanent home.

The RSPCA’s Bradford and District branch administrator, Margaret Blundell, said the idea was first raised five years ago.

Mrs. Blundell said the scheme would give them the chance to make provision for their pet early on.

Since the idea was first mooted the Mount Street centre had been rebuilt with added facilities.

She added: "The concept might be taken up by other branches in other areas. It will be going in our national magazine and we will see what happens. It is a pioneering project.

Owners need to register their pet - which could be from a small bird to a big dog - on a special form available at the centre. They will be given two RSPCA emergency cards, one to carry and one to display at home.

The registration fee is £20 which ensures the pet’s details are kept on file for five years. This also covers the cost of collecting the animal and taking it to the RSPCA where it will be looked after for a daily boarding fee.

They have printed 25,000 leaflets and cards with the help of the Royal Mail, which will be sent to the local social services department, elderly people’s centres, doctors’ surgeries and other suitable locations.

The centre is already looking after 61 cats and 59 dogs which are waiting to be rehomed. Mrs. Blundell said the Mount Street centre, which was first opened in 1870, is set for even further expansion next year when the branch plans to open an animal care unit.

The new service can be contacted on Bradford 723063.


Michael Brown
Religious Affairs Correspondent

Lone voice ready to speak out
on‘inhumane’ ritual slaughter

A lone voice in South Yorkshire will launch a campaign in the new year to halt the religious slaughter of animals.

Self employed graphic artist Ian Senior, of Barnsley, claims such destruction of animals for food is a "crime against the human conscience and animal kind".

He hopes his campaign, aimed particularly at Jewish, Muslim and Sikh ritual slaughter practices, will attract the backing of MP’s and Euro-MP’s.

Mr. Senior, 39, a vegetarian, said: "It is also aimed at everybody with a sense of what is right and wrong. There are, I believe, a lot of people who share my conviction that the present practices are inhumane, and I want to reach out to them."

With that in mind he has already written to some MP’s, together with what he calls "forward-thinking" members of the Jewish, Muslim and Sikh communities who, he hopes, share his views.

Mr. Senior will also take a swipe at the Government and the RSPCA when he launches his campaign.

The former has, he says, failed to repeal the law on exception to stunning as recommended by the Farm Animal Welfare Council more than 10 years ago. He also claims the animal charity has failed to challenge the continuance of religious slaughter.

Jews consume beef and lamb provided it is slaughtered by having its throat cut by a sawing action. Under Jewish law the animal must be healthy and free of any injury. For an animal to be stunned - which would cause physical injury - is not considered kosher.

Muslim slaughter requires that an animal’s throat is cut while /Allah Akbar - "In the name of Allah: Allah is most great" - is recited.

The method of slaughter favoured by Sikhs is by severing the animal’s head completely by one stroke of a blade. British law allows Sikh religious slaughter without stunning, provided a mechanical guillotine is used.



From Mr. Ron Kirkby

Sir, The RSPCA is totally against the export of live food animals. In particular we are opposed to the transport of veal calves, which are sent abroad from only a week old to live for months in the dark, in narrow pens, fed only on milk and deprived of roughage and iron. But this is no excuse for the violence that has been seen at Shoreham Port this week.

While the RSPCA, through its branches, is involved in peaceful demonstrations in any attempt to stop the transport of live food animals, we condemn totally the use of violence.

The RSPCA does not, in fact, believe that the troublemakers at Shoreham Port are animal welfarists at all. I personally believe that they are brought in by agitators who want to disrupt peaceful demonstrations and bring the animal welfare movement into disrepute.

These rabble-rousers do an enormous disservice to those who are genuinely protesting. I therefore urge all peaceful demonstrators to march off, as a body, at the first sign of violence. The RSPCA will continue to fight for improved conditions for Britain’s farm animals, but we shall do so from within the law.

Yours faithfully,

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,
Horsham, West Sussex
5 January


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