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.

44 Kingsley Road, Horley, Surrey RH6 8HR                              01293 786166

Watchdog Newsletter Number 83 November 2000


It is strange that the RSPCA Council has an ’ageist’ policy despite having had the experience of seeing and hearing Lord Houghton, who, in his nineties was more effective than the majority on the present Council.

If the Council took the same attitude with disabled members there would be outrage and rightly so. However, if the present Council want to stay with their outdated and unethical policy, why not got all the way and rule that no member of staff can be appointed over the age of 50. After all, 50 years is the preferred redundancy age for those employed in business management. With the Council’s obsession with ’corporate management’, maybe senior staff should be under 50 when appointed and should also have had experience in working for animal welfare. This would rule out pensioners from the armed forces in RSPCA senior management.


Another suggestion for the present Council – why restrict the symposium to Council members? (especially as not all the Council members attend). Why not open it up to ordinary members? It was done in 1977 with excellent results.

At Watchdog it is heartbreaking to hear from so many able and experienced members that they are leaving the Society because they are fed up with poor management, time wasting bureaucracy, lack of vision and lack of information.

Below is a little snippet illustrating poor management. Over six weeks after the new Council had been formed, the enquiries service had not got an up to date list of the members or a properly working photocopier! The list was requested by the Hillside investigator. If you cannot read it, it says-

"As requested, please find attached list of RSPCA Council members. Please note that this list is not up to date.

We also hope that you are able to read it as this was the best photocopy we could do.


THE STYLE OF LEADERSHIP that suppresses free and open debate with excessive confidentiality (secrecy) and bureaucracy can only be unhealthy and lead to a ’dead’ organisation. Currently there is a trend in corporate management to remove layers’ of hierarchy. In the corporately managed RSPCA, branches could be considered a layer of hierarchy. Another favourite of corporate management is continual change. This prevents workers (or volunteers) from having the time to express discontent. SO, when all the branches have been absorbed into the glutinous mass of ’corporate management’ (through Working Together?) the last vestige of free and original thought will have gone. It will then be the Council’s turn to be decimated and replaced with business type directors. It would be surprising if the suggestion to reduce the number of Council members has not already been made.




Who will open the new HQ? Someone like the award winning Mr Bowes of Norfolk – the meat processor? How many members were asked for suggestions? What was the result? A pop star? A TV star? A politician’? (surrounded by human and non human animals, no doubt!) Did any Council member see the importance of using the occasion to promote a vision for the future by suggesting Professor Peter Singer or Professor Steven Wise?


How wonderful if the RSPCA could have entered the new century in the vanguard of such vision instead of trailing miserably behind other countries and other organisations.

Professor Steven M Wise teaches animal rights law at Harvard. Jane Goodall describes his book "Rattling the Cage" as a brilliant, radical, and profoundly researched argurnent for extending to non human animals the rights we accord to humans of equal cognitive and emotional capacities. She calls the book ’THE ANIMALS’ MAGNA CARTA.’

Until 150 years ago animals were regarded as mindless. Darwin started the revolution against this belief. Professor Wise quotes a modern philosopher Daniel Dennett as admitting that regarding animals as mindless relieves

Our Hunters and farmers and experimenters of at least some of the guilt that others would place on their shoulders."

And that is it. The economies of the world must not be upset! 176 years ago, among the founders of the RSPCA was William Wilberforce, the man who ended slavery in the British Colonies and who, no doubt, had faced the same excuses from the supporters of slavery as those who promote legal rights for animals face today.


Steven N Wise Profile Books Ltd 58A Hatton Garden London EC1N 8LX


Yet it was the arrogant pursuit of profit to the exclusion of all other considerations which led an over-confident beef industry to feed ground-up dead sheep to herbivorous cows and cause this chaos. It was an arrogant complacency within farming which accepted for years the existence of scrapie in sheep without bothering to worry about the potential for this disease to cross into other animals. It hadn’t happened – so why should it? The incidence of human CJD caught from scrapie in sheep was known, but very rare. So, arguably, that particular complacency was justified – at least until the greedy farmers tried to maximise their profits by so unthinkingly causing the contamination of the entire beef industry and feeding diseased sheep carcasses to cows.

Now when it is revealed as a result of serious scientific study by the government funded Medical Research Council that it is possible that a highly infections variant of BSE could exist in another form in other species – sheep and pigs and poultry – someone speaking on behalf of the beef industry has the temerity to suggest that this is an "obscure" are for inquiry. It will not seem obscure to those relatives of innocent victims who have already died. In due course, it won’t seem obscure either to any of that unknown number who may still be carrying the infection. And it doesn’t seem obscure to me, a consumer. I want to know about these things.

Julia Langdon
The Guardian




"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.

We used this quotation in Watchdog 46 in March 1995. It was to illustrate why sorne Council members and ordinary members stand alone against the compliant attitude of those who do not question what they are told. Working as a team may be essential in a political organisation which the RSPCA is NOT although it may seem like one – individuality should be prized, not attacked. In this newsletter we are not commentating on the Hillside investigations into two Freedom Food Farms. Many members have been shocked by the disclosure in the Hillside Sanctuary magazine. We have made no secret of the fact that we are opposed to this scheme.Every member of the Freedom Food scheme has to fulfil five obligations. Humane slaughter is one of those obligations. Freedom Food animals are killed the same as other animals. It is clear from the recent CIWF report of Animal Welfare Problems in UK Slaughterhouses that animals are not killed humanely. It was noted that 50% of slaughterhouse staff had no staff who had undergone formal training in animal welfare and 33% of premises had no written procedures regarding welfare. ANYONE who has stood outside a slaughterhouse is aware that animals suffer fear and distress before entering the place. Anyone who believes that slaughter is humane must be naïve or insensitive.

In promoting meat and dairy products, Freedom Food seems unconcerned about the effect on human health from eating these products.

Better welfare standards for farm animals CAN be achieved WITHOUT being closely involved with the meat trade as CIWF has proved.

The time has come for the RSPCA to withdraw from Freedom Food.


On Animal Experimentation here are just two simple questions for the Council:-

Why has the RSPCA not challenged the Charity Commission’s assertion that animal experimentation is of benefit to mankind?

Why waste time setting up ethical committees when causing suffering to laboratory animals – sentient beings – is unethical?



Of all the disgraceful and abominable things
Making animals perform for the arnusement of human beings is
Utterly disgraceful and abominable.
Animals are anirnals and have their nature
And that’s enough, it is enough, leave it alone.

A disgraceful and abominable thing I saw in a French circus
A performing dog
Raised his back leg when he did not need to
He did not wish to relieve himself, he was made to raise his leg.
The people sniggered. Oh how disgraceful and abominable.
Weep for the disgrace, forbid the abomination.

The animals are cruelly trained,
How could patience do it, it would take too long, they are cruelly trained.
Lions leap through fire, it is offensive,
Elephants dance, it is offensive
That the dignified elephant should dance for fear of hot plates,
The lion leap or be punished.
And how can the anirnals be quartered or carted except cheaply?
Profit lays on the whip of punishrnent, money heats the prodding iron,
Cramps cages. Oh away with it, away with it, it is so disgraceful and aborninable.
Weep the disgraces, Forbid the abominations.

Stevie Smith.

First published in: Not Waving but Drowning - Andre Deutsch 1957



In the last newsletter seven words were accidentally left out of the last paragraph of Mrs Shorter’s article. We are reprinting the last paragraph with the omitted words underlined.

"It looks unlikely that the results will be worth anything if and when they are finally produced, but the killing continues. In May cubs were starving to death again except for one found wandering almost dead near Devizes, which has been nursed back to health by Pauline Kidner of Secret World. This cruelty goes on with the approval of the RSPCA. WHAT ARE THE VlEWS OF THE MEMBERSHIP? Many are in blissful ignorance : in the past three weeks and without specially looking I have come across five active members who knew nothing about this policy. "They’re not supporting that!!" one of them said incredulously."

My apologies for the error.................Margaret House



Members will have read in the press about research into the connection between cruelty to children and cruelty to animals. 1t is interesting to speculate about the unkind and at times cruel treatment of RSPCA members by council members, branch committees and staff belonging to the same Society. What effect does this have on the work of preventing cruelty to animals, the funding of this work and the recruitment of volunteers?

There is a long list of members who have suffered unjust and at times cruel treatment. A few have been able to take legal action and rectify the injustice but too many have left the RSPCA in disgust.

The first case to come to the attention of Watchdog some 13 years ago was the treatment of the Mid Glamorgan Branch Committee. Their crime was to live in a very depressed area and to give priority to the desperate plight of the animals living there so that they had no money left to pay the quota to the money guzzling Headquarters. To this day, the Mid Glamorgan Branch Committee has not been reformed.

Every Council member should consider their suitability to sit in judgement on voluntary workers who are unprotected by Trade unions. The Council’s disciplinary hearings are a very nasty business indeed and are unnecessary. The Chairman of Council and the other three officers should make it a priority to recommend better ways of HELPING not disciplining branch committees that fall foul of overbearing bureaucracy



Before the Protection of Animals (Amendment) Bill was passed to The House of Lords on 21 July 2000, Mr David Maclean MP (Penrith and the Border) in his summing up said:-

"My appeal to organisations such as the RSPCA and other single issue pressure groups is, for goodness sake, consult the other organisations. I am not sure whether the RSPCA consulted Pet Care Trust or the International League for the Protection of Horses, which wrote to me,but it is my experience that it has tended not to do so. It takes the view:

"We’re the RSPCA, We’ll do what we like and draft the whole Bill and tough luck on all the small fry."

No comment!


This is a copy of a letter I wrote to Commissioner D. Byrne, Commission for Health and Consumer Protection, European Commission, Rue de la Lou 200, B-1049, Brussels:

Dear Mr Byrne,
     l’ve been told that you are determined to stop Eid-El-Kebir in France next year, so I’m writing to support you.
A friend who witnessed it this year said: "Not only was it cruel, but all the health and hygiene laws in the book were broken." (The Koran as well.)
Sheep were being killed with blunt knives, scissors, screwdrivers, etc.
Children were throwing stones at the terrified animals. Bloody carcasses were being carted off in wheelbarrows.
When I was teaching her son, one of my Moslem mums said ritual slaughter is only carried out by a qualified priest, with an extremely sharp knife, out of sight of all other animas!
Eid-El-Kebir is just a time of year when rich Moslems give poor Moslems extra meat.
In France every year, outside EU law (Directive 93/119/EC) this Pagan festival is allowed to take place.
As a retired teacher of young children I am very concerned about the effect of witnessing such a horrific spectacle could have on their minds.
I’m surprised the RSPCA don’t object more to our English animals being exported alive to suffer such barbarity.
The more letters the better, so please write now.
Thank you.

Sonia Odds.,
Kingsley Road,



Those of you who read the articles in the Daily Express of September 21st and 22nd revealing the shocking suffering of baboons used in experiments to try and solve the problem of human organ rejection will want to ask the RSPCA Council many questions. For those who did not see the two articles, information can be obtained from "UNCAGED Campaigns 2nd Floor, St Matthew’s House, 45, Carver Street, Sheffield S1 4FT TEL 0114 2722 220.

The inforrnation in the Daily Express came from documents released to Uncaged Campaigns " This is another small poorly funded Animal Rights organisation that has uncovered the reality of animal experimentation. In spite of all the highly paid staff at RSPCA Headquarters, it has been small groups who have closed down Hillgrove cat farm, Shamrock monkey farm and the Regal rabbit farm NOT the RSPCA.

We suggest that you write to a Council member (anyone will do) and ask the following question.

"How many visits have RSPCA staff members made to Huntingdon Life Sciences by invitation of the firm, and what report was made on these visits" (of course the answer may be so secret that even Council members (trustees) have not been told!)
DR GILL LANGLEY -a member of the Government’s Animal Procedures Committee is quoted in the Daily Express as saying
"These documents reveal the PR image and the reality of xenotransplantation research. It seems even the scientific community isn’t being given the full facts."
ln view of Dr Langley’s comment we ask of what use are ethical committees?

The areas of greatest cruelty to non human animals are in animal experimentation and farm animals. Surely the ONLY way forward for the RSPCA is:–

a) To set up without delay a non charitable arm to campaign against this treatment of laboratory animals. FUNDS CAN BE FOUND FOR THIS! and
b) For Council members to set an example and to stop eating animals (if only for the duration of their time on Council) and to be non smokers, reasons for which should be apparent.


A Member Writes

"You were spot on with your description of this years AGM location. I have always enjoyed my trips to London for the AGM. Easy to get to by train. Plenty of nice places for lunch (I don’t waste my money on the food provided, I’d heard it was poor quality.) I certainly won’t be travelling around the country to attend second rate venues with inadequate facilities."


Thank you for all your letters and comments about the badger cull. We will be writing about this in the next Watchdog. IF ONLY the RSPCA Council members would do away with all the secrecy and let members have more information. Thanks for help with the postage it is badly needed!


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