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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Newsletter Number 86 May 2001

The Secret Society (cont)

The statement below appeared on the front page of newsletter no 10 in 1988.

The following statement has been received from three former Vice Presidents of the Society, the Very Rev Edward Carpenter KCVO MA PhD, Mr. Clive Hollands and the Right Hon Lord Houghton of Sowerby CH:

As former Vice Presidents of the RSPCA, we are signing this issue of "Watchdog" to register our disapproval of the Council’s decision, reported below, to expel members of the Society, including an elected member of the Council, under Rule 27.

We consider the action of the Council in this matter to be reprehensible, undemocratic and against natural justice.

We do not necessarily agree with or support all the Watchdog group is attempting, but we believe that members of the Society have the right to meet together and express concern over the policies, organisation or methods adopted by their Society and, if necessary, to communicate that concern to other members by way of newsletters.

We therefore endeavoured to persuade Council not to proceed with the Motion to expel five members merely because they had been guilty of publicly expressing their views and had signed a document criticising the running of the RSPCA.

In this we failed, and therefore as former senior honorary officers of the Society, we have taken this unusual step to make our views known since we believe that the reputation of the Society suffers and all it tries to do for animals is threatened by ill-advised action such as these expulsions which can only result in bad publicity and further loss of public support.

  Clive Hollands  

Houghton of Sowerby


Edward Carpenter


We believe that many members of the present RSPCA Council may not be aware of the wise words in paragraph 3 of the statement of the three former Vice Presidents, Lord Houghton, the former Dean of Westminster Dr. Edward Carpenter and Clive Hollands. The RSPCA would be a happier Society for members as well as for animals if there was less secrecy about the work of the Council. Trustees should feel free to discuss their work with members, to allow criticism and to LISTEN in order to make informed decisions. If Council members merely do as they are told by staff, it will give rise to the question – do we really need an elected Council?


A Darkness over the Land

The dreadful slaughter of farm animals and the stench from their burning corpses has dominated our lives and the news. We congratulate the RSPCA for speaking out against the cruelty involved. When this crisis is over, the suffering of farm animals must not be ignored. At the AGM 2000, a resolution was passed to congratulate some farmers. We feel that you should read the response from Dave Wetton who opposed the motion.

"Right. As far as I am concerned this motion is too imprecise and far too premature. I am not saying that there aren’t any decent animal farmers out there. There doubtless are. Ones who genuinely care for the needs of their animals while they are on the farm. But at the end of the day let it not be forgotten that practically all those animals will be introduced to the dubious delights of the abattoir with its electric tongs, its captive bolts, its knives, its scalding tanks etc. How are we supposed to choose the good farmers? Take cattle – its rare to see any these days. They seem to spend most of their time in barns rather than in the fields. According to a Veterinary Record study in December 1998 mastitis was present in 40% of the country’s cows. I don’t call that good husbandry. 44 bullocks were dumped on Carla Lane’s doorstep by Somerset farmers because of the BSE crisis. Well who introduced the crisis? It certainly wasn’t vegetarians of vegans. Unless someone has proved otherwise it appears to have been inflicted on our cow herds by farmers feeding scrambled sheeps’ brains to herbivores. Not one of them appears to have questioned what was actually in the feed sacks. Where were the NFU and MAFF when this unnatural muck was being used?

A quote from Viva! The safe alliance Sustainable Agricultural Food and the Environment has published a report called The Perfect Pointer which examines the environment, environmental and social effects of dairy farming. It slams just about every aspect of the industry including poor animal welfare which has led to a variety of diseases reducing the average life span of a dairy cow from 20 years to just 6. And don’t forget the cattle farmers who are waiting in the wings for the live export trade to begin as far as calves are concerned.

We come to sheep. Is there a field in Britain that hasn’t got a lame sheep in it? I found and reported a ewe with a prolapsed womb covered in flies. How long had she been like that? Poor husbandry is to blame for countless deaths of lambs and adult sheep. Usually the fox gets the blame but more often than not it is down to the farmers leaving their animals out in atrocious weather presumably on the basis that it is not worth the petrol these days going and rounding them up when snow is forecast. Then there is the farmers’ ferry, sailing off regularly to the Continent with cargoes of mainly Welsh sheep destined for the notorious abattoires of Greece, Italy and Spain and the amateur ritual slaughterers in the killing fields around Paris. Surely that’s not good husbandry.

Chickens: battery cages won’t be phased out entirely until January 2009, so it will be perfectly legal until then. Do we really want to be seen congratulating those farmers who will continue to indulge in this filthy business until the last moment. Broiler chickens have to tolerate various forms of mutilation for the sake of the farmers’ pockets. De-beaking, in which the top of the upper mandible is cut off to deter pecking in over-crowded conditions. Spur removal using a hot wire. Dew and pillar claws removed from chicks with scissors. Specific toes sometimes removed for identification purposes, all practices considered unnecessary by the Farm Animal Welfare Council.

58 young Chinese men and women sadly died in that lorry in Dover docks in last Monday’s heat. On the same day 50,000 chickens died in the heat of inadequately ventilated battery units, and this is in England. I don’t call that good husbandry.

Then there are ducks. These are now bred in quantity in factory farms. Female ducks have been bred to produce twice as many ducklings as five years ago. Cherry Valley in North Lincolnshire boasts that it is the world’s largest producer of ducks. It hatches 15m ducklings each year. They are genetically altered to produce more meat and eggs. The farm proudly states that only one person looks after as many as 85,000 birds. The ducks never get to swim in water.

Pigs: most are still intensively reared. Legal farrowing crates make it impossible for the sows to respond naturally to their youngsters. There is no chance to build nests as they would normally do. Pigs are still getting exported to countries which use sow stalls and tether stalls.

A yes to this vote would give too bland a reassurance to the farmers and it’s definitely not on the cards as far as I am concerned. And how many of them allow hunting on their land and badger culling?"

Dave Wetton was opposing the following motion:-

"that the majority of British farmers be congratulated on leading the world in high standards of animal husbandry and that the findings of farm animal welfare science be further publicised by the Society."

Voting 421 in favour, 87 against, 80 abstentions.


Below is a view point from a former RSPCA member about "high standards of animal husbandry."

"For years no I have written that the very foundations of our so called society are based on cruelty and injustice to animals. I am convinced that all the wonderful sages and writers of the past were correct in stating that, until we stop the abuse of innocent creatures, darker and even crueller roads lie ahead. This is being proved right now. One now sees and hears weeping suicidal farmers appealing for help and sympathy. These are the same individuals who on a daily and regular basis mutilate these poor animals (lamb castration, tail docking of piglets, de-beaking of hens, castration of calves ED) then cruelly transport them to prod and poke saleyards or even worse export them to evilly cruel destinations abroad and always, but always the final HELL: those slaughterhouses.

When one considers the sheer waste of feeding these poor unnaturally bred creatures they call farm animals in order to kill and eat them . . . the mind boggles (and we are supposed to be ‘progressed species?’

So, cry ... by all means cry if you must but also learn at the same time that these poor creatures being slaughtered by the minute as I type this (15/3/2001) are enduring a fate not all that dissimilar to their normal one.

STOP BREEDING ANIMALS TO EAT … it’s wrong, it’s immoral, it’s obviously unhealthy and it should be brought to a timely end."

(Extract from a letter from Mary Ashton.)


Carla Lane

The Guardian

The vital message from the foot and mouth outbreak is that farming must never go back to the way it was. The brutal carting of animals up and down the country for slaughter – and, worse, for export to countries which have little feeling for their welfare – has without doubt contributed to the spread of the foot and mouth disease. The live export trade has long evoked the grief and anger of animal campaigners. The fight against it – which began six years ago with the haunting images of five – day – old calves crammed into trucks on their way to the French veal crates – has escalated. As people have become more educated about what really goes on in this horrendous trade, a great and irrepressible passion has arisen against it.

Sheep can travel from one end of the country to the other, passing many abattoires in search of cheaper slaughter. Animals being exported after a gruelling journey from Scotland to Dover and a rough sea-crossing on a small, unstabilised ship to France can, after a 24 – hour rest in a French lairage, have the papers of their origin legally altered. This makes them eligible for another journey. The system makes it possible for sheep leaving Aberdeenshire to end up in Africa, there to be slaughtered. In the meantime, we are importing carcass meat from other countries for our own consumption.

Meat eaters should demand cruelty-free food. The world of meat is a sick and fearful place for our animals and intensive methods of farming should not be tolerated, especially by those who choose to eat them.


The Animals’ Friend,     July 1984


One great difficulty with which we have to contend in our efforts to suppress Vivisection arises from what I may term the solidarity of sin. Have you not often observed how one kind of wickedness is perpetually being put forward as an excuse for another? Here is an example. In a "Review" which at one time had a large circulation, there appeared many years ago an attack upon those who banded themselves together to get rid of drunkenness. Why, it was asked, did they not attack the Opium Traffic in India instead of the Liquor Traffic at home. Now, however, that an earnest effort is being made to stop the Opium Trade in India, the promoters of the agitation are twitted with the prevalence of drunkenness in England. Just in the same way when we demand the prohibition of cruelties to animals in the name of Science, we are reminded of the cruelties committed upon them in the interests of Sport. Well, we probably have no manner of sympathies with these cruelties, but if we try to prevent them, we shall probably be reminded of those which are committed in the pursuit of Science. One form of iniquity is advanced as a reason why we leave another to flourish. Is there then to be no improvement? Are we never to begin to get rid of vice? Is all moral progress to be stopped because there is much that is amiss in this world? Are we to do nothing because there is so much to do? Are cultured English gentlemen in cold blood to go on inflicting agonies of pain on sentient beings, because a number of others thoughtlessly find delight in killing and maiming inferior animals? Is a new horror to be tolerate because an old one exists?



"I was standing on the block the other day and some sheep were coming though and one came running up to me and licked my hands and I said to my husband ‘Why is he doing that?’ and he said, ‘You should know, you fed him on the bottle three years ago.’ They’re quite wonderful really, they’ve got tremendous memories. I can’t bear to see a sheep suffering. They don’t make a fuss at all, they’re a gentle sort of animal, very under-rated. And I wonder if it’s all worth it really. I ask myself, have we got the right? That’s ,my problem."

Alice Pritchard, sheep farmer’s wife, Trecastle, in Powys.


1894--------- 2001

And the suffering of animals continues


The extract below from George Hendrick’s biography of Henry Salt called ‘Henry Salt – Humanitarian Reformer and Man of Letters’ was sent by former Council Member Joan Dell.

Joan commented –

"The attitude of the Society hasn’t changed much since the article was written in 1895 – 106 years ago."

IS THIS THE REASON that animals continue to suffer? The backwardness of the Council?

What a pity that RSPCA staff had to be given such high – flown and absurd titles.

How much better SECRETARY sounds to describe the senior employee rather than the arrogant title Director General. Perhaps that is why the Council is so timid"

Mr. John Colam, for many years Secretary of the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals … had a great reputation for astuteness. Wily he certainly was, with the vast experience he had acquired in evading the double pressure of those who cried "forward" and of those who cried "back"; and he was a veritable Proteus in the skill with which he gave the slip to any one who tried to commit him to any course but the safest. He used privately to allege the backwardness of his Committee as a cause for t his seeming timidity; thus he told me in 1901, when the fate of the Royal Buckhounds was hanging in the balance, that the R.S.P.C.A. was unable to take any public action, not from any remissness on his part, but because certain members of the Committee were afraid of alienating subscribers, including King Edward himself. Personally I liked Mr. Colam; he was humane so far as his interests permitted, and when one had realized, once for all, the uselessness of attempting to bind him to any fixed purpose, it was instructive to have an occasional talk with him …….



If these letters do not persuade Council members who support Freedom Food that they are sending the wrong message to the public, then nothing will.

There is nothing wrong in trying to raise the welfare standards of animals whilst they are still being farmed for food. WHAT IS WRONG is the promoting of meat and dairy products when there are known health hazards for humans and pain, distress and suffering connected with their brutal and profit orientated slaughter.

Sheppey Gazette

This new slaughter’s no worse

Please, please can we stop this crocodile tear scenario for the animals being slaughtered on-site at farms. These animals were never destined to live out their lives, dying of old age.

We kill half a million of them each week for public consumption. Those of us truly concerned about animal welfare are, in many ways, relieved that the animals seen burning on the ferry road did not face the horrors so many others have endured in the past.

Transported all over the country, often suffering hunger and thirst, exported out of Dover to foreign slaughter houses. Sent for Muslim ritual slaughter – many Kent sheep have been identified dead on a pavement, having had their throats slit with a blunt bread knife.

Calves are transported abroad to be put in veal crates until they become so anaemic they cannot walk as they are released to foreign slaughter houses.

Farmers sell them at markets, knowing nothing of the fate that may await them. As someone who cares deeply for all animals, I think, if given a choice, they would much prefer to be killed on-site.

Food animals do not miraculously appear dead and wrapped in cling-film in your local supermarkets. There is a lot of pain, distress and suffering before they reach that sanitised state.

If we find it so horrific, there are, of course, alternatives to being party to the is animal genocide.

Angela Walder,
Oak Lane,

The Guardian

Madeleine Bunting is outraged at this government presiding over what she sees as the "biggest mass slaughter of animals in human history" (Who are the brutes now? March 31). Forced to see on the TV what normally happens behind the closed doors of the slaughterhouse, she blames everyone but herself for this holocaust. In Britain we kill each and every week 15m poultry and 600,000 sheep, pigs and cattle for the dinner table. The animals now filling the pits and pyres are fewer than a normal day’s killing quota – if you count the 2m poultry, shackled by their brittle and broken legs, which have their throats slit each day.

Where are the animal rights protesters? We are here, trying to tell the public that for the animals it does not make a lot of difference. The fact that the public, like Ms. Bunting, are being made to face their guilt at what eating meat actually entails for the animals will, I hope, mean that their eating habits will change.

Sara Starkey


Animal Aid – in common with other animal rights groups – has sent out a ceaseless flow of press statements and letters to editors around the country. We have staged demos in numerous towns and cities and have sought to take part in radio debates and TV programmes on the FMD theme. We have mostly been rebuffed because, I assume, our straightforward message is unpalatable.

Does Ms. Bunting really believe that producing meat for 60m Britons is, or ever could be, a smiley cottage industry?

Animal farming is brutal, squalid and ruthless. That infectious disease flourishes in such systems in no accident. Salmonella, E.coli, bovine TB, campylobacter, BSE, swine fever, foot and mouth signal that industrialised farming is in a state of perpetual crisis.

Andrew Tyler
Director, Animal Aid


The one positive thing is that the animals are not having to face the horrors of the slaughterhouse, where they are beaten and kicked before they even get to the killing line. Slaughterhouse workers are on piecework, so the more animals they kill, the more money they get, which means that many animals are not properly stunned before being slaughtered. This means the animals are still conscious when they are shackled by a chain around their hind legs to a conveyor an moved to the bleeding area where, still a live, their throats are cut. The heart must still be beating to pump out the blood and ensure blood loss. This is how they doe – they bleed to death.

That is why those of us who do genuinely believe in the rights of animals are not diverting our energy and time away from educating the misinformed public about the truth hidden behind the closed doors of places such as Huntingdon Life Sciences. By killing even the healthy sheep, cows and pigs now, the government will soon be asking the EU for a huge subsidy, so the whole meat and dairy industry will rise from the ashes of the dead animals.

Pat Kinnuen



Another circular letter from MS Tomlinson (written by HQ?) enclosed with the Spring 2001 Animal Life. We had not heard the rumour that the Southwater Palace (the new HQ) will cost £38 million – only the rumour that the eventual cost will be near £20 million.

If we had a more open Society, there would be no need for rumours.

There is another rumour that the Southwater Palace will have mechanical blinds costing £90,000. And the sickest rumour? That Freedom Food staff will have the corpses of Freedom food cattle and pigs served in their canteen. True or false Mr. Tomlinson??

"The time will come" wrote Leonardo Da Vinci (1452 – 1519) "when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men."

But not yet apparently in the canteen of the Southwater Palace.

Is it not ill judged to build such an expensive office block when there is a desperate need for more and better equipped Inspectors and when branches need money to stem the flood of unwanted cats and dogs?

Why does MS Tomlinson think that members will be proud of the Southwater Palace? The new HQ is merely a building – we reserve our pride for the number of living creatures that have been rescued from suffering. We keep our eyes fixed on a future that was seen by Leonardo Da Vinci. It will happen but it could be reality sooner if the RSPCA forswore grandiose schemes and set an example by campaigning FOR animals but NOT eating them.

It is rumoured that at a Council meeting in September 1999, a Council member attacked the Watchdog Newsletter saying that it was now made up of more personal attacks on individuals than anything else. We looked through the newsletters of the year before this statement was made. Out of 36 pages only 58 lines (about 1 ½ pages) commented on individuals. Two comments were about the letter Mrs. Unmack circulated to her Branch members promoting Mrs. Burton for election to Council and for calling Mrs. Adams an unpleasant name. We commented on Mr. Tomlinson’s letter promoting people for Council whilst he was Chairman of Council and for telling people not to vote for Mr. Mawson. A comment was made about Mr. Saxton having Mrs. Burton as a nominee and on the motion for the 1999 AGM proposed by Miss Reid and Mr. Thomas. We will provide these newsletters if the Council member concerned wants them.

Thanks to all those who help us and please help with our postage costs if you can!!!


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