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.

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Watchdog Newsletter Number 84 January 2001


It was interesting to read in Richard Ryder’s book "Animal Revolution" that

"‘The society’s very bad publicity throughout the 1960’s and early 1970’s had compounded the council’s natural fear of the media. By the time that Reform Group members arrived on the council in 1972 they found that the shutters were down; the council was attempting to keep all its deliberations secret. Almost every council document was labelled 'STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL' and meetings were held in an aura of conspiratorial self- importance."


Nearly 30 years on and nothing has changed — in fact this ‘information— deficiency disease’ has got worse with endless enquiries set up to investigate alleged ‘leaks’. At what cost to the money given for animals?

Members who write to or ring Watchdog want to be given proper information about what the Council is doing. So why are Council members so afraid of open government? Is it that


They have handed over much of their authority to the council officers and some cannot be bothered to check on what the officers are doing in their name? Or that

b) Their prime objective is to stay on the council at all costs- enjoying the social life with all expenses paid? Or
Do they get a thrill from acting like little dictators?


This obsession with secrecy is destructive. It creates a ‘them and us’ situation and causes good voluntary workers to leave the society and prevents high quality candidates standing for council. Arrogance is the Order of the day.

One member wrote to Watchdog and commented on our newsletter. She said

"It’s refreshing to find literature that states things as they are and not the usual flannel."

It seems that every year fresh moves are made to reduce even further information given to members. First the AGM was shortened to a mere 3 hours. Then the venues for the AGM were changed to places impossible to reach in time by public transport. Then in 1999 council members George Taylor and Jean Reid proposed a successful resolution to restrict full and audited annual accounts only to those members who requested them. Even then council members failed to notice that in their own Trustees Report incorrect information was given about the number of voting members attending the AGM.

If other animal organisations can provide good information for their members - why not the RSPCA? What is wrong with freedom of information?

(acknowledgements to Frances Wheen and the Guardian for the term information deficiency disease.)


As you can see from the letter below, Animal Defenders are continuing with their excellent campaign to get animal circuses banned.

Circus cruelty

The Animal Defenders, the group responsible for the 'Chipperfield' cruelty convictions, have today published a shocking new leaflet to warn the public about the reality behind the glitz and glamour of the big top, and encourage people to contact their Member of parliament to demand action.

The new leaflet describes the findings of the Animal Defenders' 18-month study into the use of animals in circuses, published in a report 'The Ugliest Show on Earth', and presented to the Members of Parliament, together with video evidence.

The group's study was comprised of 7200 hours of observations, backed by nearly 800 hours of videotape.

The findings were devastating; every species of animal studied showed abnormal behaviour, caused by severe confinement and environmental deprivation; and daily life for circus animals is all too often punctuated by screaming, terrorising, banging of cage bars, punches, kicks, and sometimes full-blown beatings.

Part of the study was used last year in the cruelty trials of Mary Chipperfield, her husband Roger Cawley, and their elephant keeper, Michael Stephen Gills.

Circus animals have fallen through a legal loophole. There are no legal standards to protect animal welfare in circuses. Circuses are exempt from the 1976 Dangerous Wild Animals Act, and the 1981 Zoo Licensing Act.

The Animal Defenders is calling for a complete ban on the use of animals in circuses, and for the performing animals training centres (as featured in the Chipperfield trial) to be drawn under the 1981 Zoo Licensing Act.

These proposals are supported by over 270 MPs, and a host of celebrities including Jenny Seagrove, Twiggy Lawson, Richard Briers, Richard Wilson, Phil Collins, Sir Elton John, Stella McCartney, Samantha Robson, Wendy Richard, Martin Saw, Jay Kay, and many others, together with thousands of members of the public.

The Animal Defenders are asking people not to attend circuses; write to your MP and ask them to support our Bill, due in Parliament this autumn, for circuses to be drawn under the 1981 Zoo licensing Act; lobby your local council to implement a ban on animal circuses renting council land.




"I have heard so many adverse comments about the Society from people who campaign on behalf of animals, that I have stopped wearing my badge, having been made to feel responsible for the shortcomings of the Society. If only they would form a campaigning group who organise demonstrations such as that recently organised by CIWF at Dover."

"When I became a vegetarian about a hundred years ago (for ethical reasons) I had little idea about the health implications . . now a non dairy vegetarian and seeing what is unfolding, I wonder why more are not alerted to the truths behind these rich and powerful vested interests of animal exploitation."

"What happens when members complain to HQ? Written complaints get lost and telephone complaints blow out of the window and persistent complaints are referred to the BDO. Then the BDO comes back to the committee and says the time gap is too big and the complaint must be forgotten."

"It seems that a lack of commonsense prevails. While MAFF are allowed to waste millions of pounds of tax payers money our own powers that be are squandering membership money doing a computer study to show where there is the greatest need for cat neutering.

They could have given me or anyone else working at street level the money and we could have told them EVERYWHERE."


Huntingdon Life Sciences

In April 2000 I visited Huntingdon Life Sciences experimental laboratory near Huntingdon Cambs. and was taken on a 3hr tour.

On my arrival I was told I could go anywhere, enter any building and ask any question. However I soon discovered that what HLS said was different to what they meant. I was refused entry to the Rat unit,the pathological laboratory, the toxicological inhalation unit and any questions they considered awkward were brushed aside or not answered at all.

I did see numbers of dogs, cats, pigs, calves, cows, sheep, horses, hens, ducks, fish and monkeys all undergoing tests with various drugs and agro-chemicals.

There are no adequate words to describe my emotions. However try and imagine how I felt surrounded by young Beagles that had never seen daylight, had never run in the open air or basked in the sun now being slowly poisoned until they are killed and yet still licking my hand and climbing up my legs begging for affection.

In the primate unit there were approximately 120 monkeys in stainless steel cages being tested with so-called anti aids drugs. The unit manager actually boasted that the monkeys loved and trusted humans and that it was quite alright to experiment on them because they had been bred specifically for experimentation.

One of those monkeys reached out to me through the steel bars, caught hold of my finger and gently stroked the back of my hand. That loving gesture caused three hours of pent up emotions to bail over and I burst into tears of sympathy, rage and frustration.

The fact that my wife was then given a copy of the front page of a Cambridgeshire newspaper bearing the photograph of an RSPCA Superintendent who was praising HLS in glowing terms and condemning animal rights campaigners for trying to close them down, made my experience even more nauseating.
P. Richardson


Every minute ,every day, every year thousands of animals endure terrible treatment in laboratories. Paul Richardson found the sight of their suffering unbearable.

The need to stop this cruelty to other species is URGENT. Yet, always so-called reasons are given as to why this cannot happen. But a start CAN be made and Council members can make it by setting an example to RSPCA members and the general public. We quote from 'Animal Liberation' by Peter Singer.

"Can we justify forcing thousands of animals to inhale cigarette smoke so that they develop lung cancer, when we know that we could virtually wipe out the disease by eliminating the use of tobacco? If people decide to continue to smoke, knowing that by doing so they risk lung cancer, IS IT RIGHT TO MAKE ANIMALS SUFFER THE COST OF THIS DECISION?"

We ask those Council members who persist in smoking cigarettes to take a principled decision to either stop this dangerous habit or to resign from the RSPCA Council which should have a 100% committment to prevent cruelty to animals.





THE SHOCKING truth behind Britain's most high-profile animal experimentation project is revealed today in confidential documents seen by the Daily Express. The secret papers show horrific animal suffering despite claims to the contrary. They also reveal researchers have exaggerated the success of work aimed at adapting pig organs for human transplant.

The project, carried out by Cambridge-based Imutran, involves transplanting genetically modified pigs' hearts and kidneys into monkeys. Thousands of pigs, monkeys and baboons have been used.

Over the past five years Imutran - the world leader in xenotransplantation - claims to have been close to solving the crucial issue of organ rejection which has so far prevented trials on humans.

But the Daily Express found scientific papers declaring new breakthroughs did not give the full picture. In one published paper it is claimed no baboons died from "hyperacute" reaction when two excluded from the published study did.

A second publication describes a baboon which survived for 39 days with a pig heart - the company's greatest success to date - as healthy throughout. But records show that it was suffering in the last days of its life. Its heart had grown in weight by three times, a significant fact not mentioned in the published article.

Internationally, the company admits to being a long way off targets set by the American Food and Drug Administration for trials on humans. It wants "substantial" improvements from its scientists in the next 18 months.

The experiments are being carried out at the Huntingdon Life Science's animal research laboratories in Cambridgeshire.

Imutran says the animals do not suffer. But the laboratory technicians' own detailed records of the animals post-transplant lives paint a different picture. One monkey which had a pig heart attached to the blood vessels in its neck was seen holding the transplant which was "swollen red" and "seeping yellow fluid" for most of the last days of its life.

Animals are described as quite, huddled, shivering, unsteady and in spasm. Some had swellings, bruising or were seen with blood or pus seeping from wounds. Others vomited, or suffered from diarrhoea.

Imutran was given a special dispensation by the Home Office to carry out this work because of potential benefits to Humankind. It has a duty to ensure the animals suffer as little as possible.

But documents show that over a quarter of the animals died on the operating table of within a few days because of "technical failures" in the surgical procedures. In one experiment, this accounted for 62 per cent of lives. In another, 13 out of 22 monkeys died within two days of the operation, a fact not mentioned in their published paper. Imutran maintains all the relevant data was included in the scientific paper. There have been a number of awful mistakes. One monkey had to be "sacrificed" when researchers discovered the pig kidney it was about to be given had been mistakenly frozen. In the documents, Imutran acknowledges that it has had "severe problems" with the data. The documents have gone to animal rights group, Sheffield-based Uncaged Campaigns, which compiled a report - Diaries of Despair - to present to the government calling for a halt to xenotransplantation research and an independent judicial enquiry. The groups' director Dan Lyons said: "The documents show the true extent of the suffering of these primates. This atrocious suffering must stop."

An Imutran statement yesterday said: "We should like to emphasise that animal welfare is very important to Imutran. The conduct of our animal experimentation is closely monitored by the Home Office."

Last night Dr. Gill Langley, a member of the Government's Animal Procedures Committee, expressed concern. "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."

Some animals are found dead in their cages and others are "sacrificed" when their condition goes past the point of no return. Many deaths are wasteful. In one experiment, 33 out of 61 monkeys died within 24 hours of a transplant due to "technical failures". The company's correspondence shows an average of one in five animals lost this way.

Imutran says its work is monitored by the Home Office and regards animal welfare as "very important". There is much evidence of shoddy work inside the centre. The documents show animals have been wrongly re-used in experiments, medicines have been left unlabelled and uncapped, and in hundreds of occasions scientists have failed to take readings and measurements from animals following operations.

Worse still, there are mistakes which lead to painful deaths. A monkey perished because a swab had been left inside his wound during the operation, causing his spleen to go septic. Another had to be "sacrificed" when researchers discovered the pig kidney it was to be given had been frozen by mistake.

A female monkey had to be euthanased the day after she was given a dose of a drug four times higher than recommended.

The records note that she was shaking and grinding her teeth. Imutran later wrote to the laboratory, saying the mistake was "unacceptable".



Pheasant shoot is no sport

Following the article about pheasant shooting in mid-Wales (Feathers are flying, October 4), I offer my own account as one of the residents concerned. As a witness to the mass shooting of specially-bred game birds on Cwm mountain, I am now altogether against this activity.

One Saturday, a group of us found ourselves in the middle of mass gunfire while walking on a public footpath near our homes. The shooters, standing directly on the path, broke what I believe to be the laws of safety - and common sense. My wife, myself and others were deeply upset, intimidated and enrages, feeling ourselves to be physically endangered.

Birds were reduced to pathetic bundles of feathers, crying, maimed and struggling on the ground. Later, they were gathered by the gamekeeper, still struggling, with no merciful dispatch to end their suffering. Where is the clean sporting kill professed to be the aim?

The shooters were grim, stony-faced men, too intent of their "sport" to care for us mere locals, or our safety. Any belief that this is sport as we know it, far less that there is any honour of a skilled hunt - forget it!

David Price,



Whatever the original intention of those who set up the Freedom? Food scheme may have been, it is clear that Freedom? Food has now become a meat marketing organisation.

The latest promotion that we have seen is a glossy pack called ‘The Freedom Food Celebrity Recipe Collection’ for -(wait for it!) for people who care about what they eat!

Never mind the revelations by the Hillside Investigation team into a Freedom? Food hen farm, a Freedom? Food Turkey Farm and a Freedom? Food pig farm or all the continuing exposures in the press and on TV and despite the BSE fear in cattle, pigs, sheep and poultry, the RSPCA is Still funding Freedom? Food and promoting recipes for people who care about animals!! Here are a few of the recipes-

Pork (pig) sausages, Lamb fillets, steak (cattle) au poivre, and Turkey noodle bake.

One of the chefs promoting the eating of sentient creatures is RICHARD Crawley. He makes the following breathtaking claim-

"Animals can be reared and killed humanely -and profitably."

Has he never been inside a slaughterhouse? In order to be "profitable" animals have to be raised in larger and larger numbers inside artificially lit sheds and killed in faster and faster time. Is this humane?

An RSPCA member who regularly visits cattle markets wrote to Watchdog in August 2000 describing sheep being loaded on to a 4 tier transporter-500 plus animals packed like sardines with barely enough headroom. Some sheep had as little as ½" clearance above their heads whilst the heads of others touched the tier above- this was their final journey. Placed on the back of the transporter was a FREEDOM FOOD STICKER! On the front of the lorry was the name M E Edwards. This information with photographs was given to a council member who gave it to HQ. The result? Guess?

We were not surprised therefore to see a photo on p21 of Agscene (CIWF) of an ME Edwards transporter passing through the streets of Brightlingsea in 1995 protected by a police cordon- on its way to export live animals for slaughter abroad.

When was M E Edwards awarded a Freedom Food sticker?

Freedom Food Turkeys

On one FF farm, our undercover team worked as turkey catchers where they found some birds with large, untreated, festering wounds. They witnessed turkeys being callously kicked and punched before being thrown, forcibly, by a leg and a wing into metal crates where they landed heavily against metal bars. The crate doors were used as levers to crush the required number of oversized live turkeys into each compartment and, often in doing so, trapping their legs in the doors. While the investigators were there, word came back from the slaughterhouse, via a lorry driver who was transporting the birds to the abattoir, that the stunner had broken down and several thousand turkeys were sent through the slaughter line to have their throats slit without being pre-stunned.




With reference to the Badger Cull, I am a member of the Forest of Dean Badger Patrol, part of the NFBG.

When the cull was scheduled to come to our area, I joined with hundreds of protesters at The Speech House, a local tourist spot. With the owners permission, we took over a large field, and using people standing in rows we spelt out the words - NO CULL. This was filmed from overhead by a helicopter. This footage was used for a Channel 4 documentary about the pros and cons of the cull. It looked very impressive on TV. Many of the people who attended knew of my involvement with the R.S.P.C.A. I was asked frequently what the R.S.P.C.A. were doing about the cull, very embarrassing to have to say "nothing". I too had scanned ;Animal Life; for references but did not find.



Ozone link to TB-infected Badgers?

From Mark Purdey,

Sir - I was saddened to suddenly receive a visit from the Badger Survey Agency informing me that my farm falls within a newly-formed trial zone where culling will be carried out. How can culling begin to resolve a problem that stems from the environment?

An increase of atmospheric pollution and ultra-violet radiation has combined to give us a toxic escalation of 'ozone' formation at ground level - especially prevalent over upland and coastal localities within the industrialised mid-latitude regions of the northern hemisphere - e.g. the UK.

Superimpose the UK map of ozone distribution onto the map of TB outbreaks and you'll see a direct correlation between TB outbreaks and the ozone-intense areas.

Ozone is a highly-reactive gas that is heavier than air. Therefore it will stick close to ground level, filling up badger's setts etc. Once the gas is taken into the lugs it generates free radical damage to the immune defence of any tissue that it makes contact with, particularly tissues that are low in antioxidant activities due to genetics, selenium deficiency etc. It seems likely that the primary cause of the current TB epidemic can be attributed to toxic levels of ozone in the environment.

TB is endemic and all around us, but will only take a hold when the relevant component of the immune system is impaired by free radical damage. Witness the immune-depleting AIDS syndrome, where TB usually erupts as a secondary complication.

Krebs and his co-workers have completely ignored the common toxic denominator of the TB environments. They follow that same old stereotyped approach by jumping to the 'BSE - nvCJD - tyoe assumption that one species must be catching the 'infection' from another. Their final farcical solution of 'badgerogeddon' will prove a costly timewaster.

My research gas recorded average summertime levels of ozone at 62 ppb in the mouth of badger setts in TB areas in relation to 28 ppb recorded at setts in TB-free areas.


Mark Purdey is a Somerset farmer who has also been arguing since 1988 that scientists have overlooked the root causes of BSE. The Ministry of Agriculture has now promised to start funding Mark Purdy's research which is related to the use of organophosphate pesticide given to cattle at far higher doses than given elsewhere in the world. Cattle are also being given feed supplemented with chicken manure from birds dosed with manganese.


At a meeting of the TB Forum in July 2000, it was a greed that the plan to kill badgers outside the existing culling trial would NOT be pursued. (The RSPCA, thank goodness, was one of the organisations opposing the plan.)

For further information contact NFBG, 2, Cloisters Business Centre, 8, Battersea Park Road, London SW8 4BG


For too long - too much suffering for animals

Compare the information on animal experiments in 1999 given in Animal Life Winter 2000 with the analysis of the statistics given in Outrage Winter 2000,the Animal Aid journal. Or, compare the report on Huntingdon Life Sciences by Dr Maggy Jennings (RSPCA) with Andrew Tyler’s report (Animal Aid),then ask the question are RSPCA members less intelligent than Animal Aid members so that the RSPCA has to ‘dumb’ down the contents of its magazine?

In case you missed it, we include a copy of a letter in Animal Life from the Chairman of RSPCA council M. Phipps. He states that it is wrong to assert that the greatest cause of suffering to animals in this country is ignorance and neglect. Many would disagree with M. Phipps. Vast numbers of animals suffer in intensive farms, in slaughterhouses and in laboratories. Apart from scientists and managers why do ordinary people work in these places if it is not due to ignorance? Are they sadists? What motivated two animal experimenters to leave their laboratory work to go into RSPCA employment? It would be interesting to know.

M. Phipps says that the Society has a duty to "continually challenge" cruelty when it is wrongly thought to be necessary. Is it necessary then for humans to eat meat? It is known that eating red meat is bad for human health and great suffering is caused to food animals. So why is Freedom Food Ltd promoting the eating of red meat?

Is it necessary for the Society to allow beak trimming and tail docking in Freedom Food farms instead of addressing the problem of overcrowding? (8,000 - 9,000 birds are routine on a Freedom Food farm and up to 16,000 are permissible under Freedom Food standards. The Soil association flocks are limited to 500 birds.)

For over a thousand years, the Christian religion has taught: that humans are superior to non humans and that non humans were put on this earth for man’s use. Even Charity law states that charities cannot campaign against animal experimentation if it is of ‘benefit to man’ . So why does the council not "continually" challenge Charity Law?

Why did the Society not prosecute Mary Chipperfield when a much poorer and smaller organisation was able to do so?

M. Phipps would do well to look around the Council table and see how many Council members are (perhaps through ignorance) allowing unnecessary suffering of animals by inaction or indifference.

Is it not obscene to use the words animal welfare in relation to animals shut in bare cages and repeatedly used for experiments? In reality, animal welfare and animal rights go hand in hand- there can be no welfare without rights The RSPCA Council should be able to see this and not treat members who believe that rights must be given as ‘extremists’.

Necessary suffering?

It is certainly true that ignorance and neglect play a major role in the suffering of animals (article entitled Early Learning, issue 40 summer 2000).

However, when one takes into account the number of animals suffering in intensive rearing systems, research, and captivity - little of which can be attributed to ignorance and neglect - then it would be wrong to assert that the greatest cause of suffering to animals in this country is ignorance and neglect.

From the animal’s viewpoint suffering is suffering regardless of the cause. This suffering amounts to cruelty when it is unnecessary. It is arguable that much of what now passes as necessary is nothing of the kind and our Society has a duty to continually challenge such outdated assumptions.

Malcolm Phipps,
RSPCA Council chairman

IGNORANCE we used the Oxford dictionary definition of ignorance as ‘lack of knowledge’.

Here is some of the information on animal experiments in 1999 published by Animal Aid. (The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1AW) We suggest you join Animal Aid in order to be well informed about all matters relating to the suffering of animals.

CATS Cats were subjected to 1,623 ‘procedures’ in 1999; 360 more than in 1998. The actual number of cats used was 683 (down 39%) Many animals are used for more than one experiment

Dogs 8,185 procedures were carried out on dogs in 1999, 1,400 MORE than in 1998. 5,230 (64%) of them were toxicology (i.e. poisoning experiments). The total number of dogs used was 5,933 up 6% from 1998.

Primates 4,003 procedures were performed on primates in 1999 an INCREASE of 300 over the previous year. 2,721 (68%) were toxicity tests. 418 primates were imported from non-designated dealers in non EU countries any number of whom could have been taken from the wild.

35,000 animals are poisoned to test new drugs for humans - a deeply flawed and unsafe practice.

Too many committee meetings - working parties etc. - too much talking - too little action. Too much secrecy - too much bureaucracy - too much victimisation and sheer unkindness towards colleagues - too little information available for members - arrogant and unaccountable - these are the complaints we get about the RSPCA Council.

The suffering of animals has gone on for too long! 2001 TIME FOR A CHANGE!

Quote of the Month


We’ve sent our new postcard to all UK MEPs and are receiving good feedback, much of it sympathetic, though not in every case! Roger Helmer (Con. MEP, East Midlands) thinks we are "rather anthropomorphic": "Because you would not like to live in a cage... you think that battery cages are cruel." Oh dear!!! We thought most people, other than those actively engaged in the battery egg industry, had progressed beyond this stage...

So-called ‘traditional battery cages are to be outlawed throughout the EU by 2012.

The ban does not extend to modified/enriched cages. These will contain perches, nesting boxes, claw shortening devices and litter for scratching and dust bathing. But minimum cage space is set at 600cm of ‘usable’ space per hen, scarcely more ‘generous’ than the 450 cm allowed to the ‘traditional’ battery hen! Hens in enriched cages will develop brittle bones and suffer the misery of gross deprivation. Farm Animal Welfare Network.

(Roger Helmer MEP is an RSPCA member AND a branch member. ED)


Thank you for your support of the Watchdog Newsletter. We want RSPCA members to be better informed and to question everything.


We recommend that you read ANIMAL REVOLUTION by Richard D Ryder revised and updated edition published in 2000 by BERG 150 Cowley Road Oxford 0X4 1JJ.

Perhaps branches could have little libraries, firstly for the benefit of committee members and to make certain books like ‘Animal Revolution’ required reading for Council candidates. At least it would ensure that Council members have a ‘wider perspective.’



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