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 87 June/July 2001


The Secret Society (cont)

The RSPCA is a secret bureaucracy, riddled with hierarchy and an ongoing disregard for the membership. If there is to be success in the prevention of animal abuse, the Society must become a democratic organisation with freedom of speech and information and an ending of witchhunts. The Council has been described as treating members as delinquent foot soldiers rather than as volunteers and colleagues. Members should be able to know how Council members behave on Council and why they are so frightened of members learning the truth that everything has to be shrouded in secrecy.

There are many questions that Council members should answer. Would you like to ask a Council member to tell you what is happening?

Read the letter from Lord Mancroft on the left and the reply from the Director General. If Peter Davies did not suggest that hunters should join the RSPCA WHY DID the Council decide to admit hunters into membership just one month after the Director General met Lord Mancroft?

Why did Council members allow the Director General to plan a year long secret inquiry into David Mawson's private life which ended up costing the Society almost £40,000? David Mawson was not expelled for alleged 'leaking' of information. Congratulations are due to those who supported David - we think it is likely that some of these members included Dorothy Adams, Angela Walder, Chris Flood, Celia Hammond, Daphne Harris and Richard Ryder. What qualifications do Council members have that entitles them to sit in judgement on colleagues and to humiliate and subject members to kangaroo courts?

Why did Council members vote to give £80,000 towards a stone memorial to the outside Animals in War Committee? WHAT hypocrisy when animals are still being tortured in Porton Down ready for another war!

Why did Council members give £28,695 to WSPA in 2000 when it has to appeal to the public for £800 to pay the quarantine fees of a cat in need of a home? (see below) Why give to WSPA when WSPA had enough money to be able to give some away to Davies Animals in War Committee?

Why is the AGM STILL reduced to a mere 2½ hours in distant venues? Is it to silence members? Why should ALL Council members get travelling expenses, hotel accommodation, be able to submit resolutions and to vote? Are they not at an AGM to listen to members?

WHY 27 years after the expensive Sparrow Report have the Council failed to implement ALL the recommendations - especially the ones about the Chairman of Council and Branch Officers?

April 30

RSPCA policy on animal rights

From Lord Mancroft

Sir, I am appalled, but not surprised by the RSPCA council's extraordinary attempt to expel one of its foremost members, the Olympic medallist Richard Meade (reports, April 25 and 30; letters, April 26 and 30).  It appears that Meade's outstanding record in promoting animal welfare, and in particular that of horses, throughout the world, is less important than his support for hunting.

I was one of those who encouraged Meade to form the Countryside Animal Welfare Group, so that country people, who had left the RSPCA in droves, when t he RSPCA turned its attention from animal welfare to animal rights, might be persuaded to rejoin, in an attempt to counter the antics of the fanatics on the council.

The idea, however, was not mine.  It followed a meeting held in my office in February 1996, when the director general of the RSPCA, Peter Davies, came in to see me.  Major-General Davies was accompanied by Stuart Harrop, at that time the senior legal officer of the society, and I was joined by Robin Hanbury-Tennison, the chief executive of the British Field Sports Society.  During this meeting Peter Davies made the suggestion that we should encourage our supporters to join the RSPCA.  This was not aimed specifically at changing its policy on hunting, but to try to act as a counter to the extremism on the council, which Peter Davies believed would seriously damage the RSPCA's reputation.  How right he was.

The meeting (which was the first of several) was held at the instigation of Professor Ian Swingland, at the time Professor of Conservation Ecology at the Durrell Institute.  Swingland had been chairman of the RSPCA's Wildlife Advisory Group, and had concluded that, whereas the RSPCA did much good work in respect of domestic animals, it lacked any real expertise in dealing with wild animals.

Yours faithfully,

House of Lords,
April 30 

In a statement, General Davies said:
"I categorically deny that I have ever suggested that the British Field Sports Society or any other group should be encouraged to become members of the RSPCA.

"What I have always said is that the RSPCA is a broad church and we have al ways encouraged applications for membership from well intentioned individuals who wish simply to contribute to the debate on animal welfare.
"I am firmly opposed to hunting with dogs … I would never support any moves to infiltrate and thereby damage the society."


Plea to aid
stowaway cat

The RSPCA is appealing for someone to adopt a cat that survived a six week journey from Israel to Britain inside a shipping container and foot the £800 bill for its six month quarantine


More money should be spent on preventing cruelty to animals and not on stone monuments, legal fees, a luxury headquarters, high salaries, too many committees and working parties which entail more money spent on committee expenses.



We are circulating the first two pages of Watchdog 87 at the AGM. The rest of the newsletter with a report on the AGM will be circulated, as usual in July.

Many soldiers are believed to be deeply unhappy at their role, as is reflected in a letter winging its way round the farming network claiming to be from a member of the Green Howards, involved in slaughter operations in Worcestshire. "My regiment," he writes, "has got all sorts of battle honours for fighting Britain's enemies all over the world, but we are now engaged in hand to hand-to-combat with lambs."

He describes how his unit was ordered to finish off lambs by hitting them with a "blunt instrument" or drowning them in a river. "One of my mates," he goes on, "was detailed to stand by a pig which was giving birth; as each piglet was born and crawled away, he had to smash it with the back of a shovel." Worst of all was having to finish off cows shot by slaughterme. "Some are still crawling around, others clearly still alive but unable to move. We have to beat them to death with lorry spanners. If people really knew what was going on I think there'd be a revolution."




No information in this newsletter has came from a Council Member.

There were 14 motions submitted for the AGM - from ordinary members and 5 from Council Members. Of these ONLY TWO were accepted from ordinary members by the Council but Council Members had 3 of their motions accepted.

Margaret House and Dave Wetton submitted 6 motions and ALL WERE REJECTED. The 6 motions and comments from Council are printed below. Our comments are printed after the motions

1 ‘That the Council in order to protect necessary confidentiality instructs the Chief Executive and the Chairman of Council to produce Agendas for Council meetings that are divided into two parts, the smaller part being devoted to matters that must be kept confidential such as matters relating to staff to prosecution proceedings and complaints made against RSPCA members and that the main non confidential part of the Agenda and the minutes of that non confidential part are made available to RSPCA members for a fee so that members can assess the effectiveness of Council members when they seek re-election
That it is the Council and not the members who are responsible for the management of the Society and the resolution, if passed, would create a mixed message regarding the work of the Society.
It was felt that he arrangements proposed would be impractical.
Consequently, the resolution, if passed, would ineffectual and therefore discussion of it would be likely to send out the wrong message to the membership.

2 'That the Council is urged to appoint as the next Chief Executive an individual who has a proven record in animal welfare.'
* That it is the Council and not the members who are responsible for the management of the Society and the resolution, if passed, would create a mixed message regarding the work of the Society.
* A proven record in animal welfare is one of the factors that the Council would take into account when appointing a Chief Executive.

3. That the Council ensures that the contents of Animal Life and the Annual Report are upgraded to give better information on animal welfare matters and that RSPCA members have access to Council seminars in order to have a well informed membership.
* The resolution, if passed, would give the wrong message to the membership since new arrangements for the Annual Report and Review were agreed recently at the AGM held in June 1999.
* A readership survey has indicated that Animal Life is a publication with a style and content that encourages wide readership.

4 That the Council ensures that never again will there be a long and secret investigation into the’ private life of any member of the RSPCA and that no recording of any members telephone conversation will be made without his or her knowledge.
  It is likely that the inclusion of this resolution on the agenda would result in negative publicity for the Society and is likely, therefore, to be detrimental to the Society’s ability to raise funds.
  There was a risk that the discussion of the resolution would in itself be divisive among the members present and generally throughout the Society.

5 That in order to prevent cruelty to animals, the Council stops the promotion of dairy products through Freedom Food and ensures that only vegetarian food is served at RSPCA events and at events funded by the RSPCA and is not served on RSPCA premises.
* That it is the Council and not the members who are responsible for the management of the Society and the resolution, if passed. would create a mixed message regarding the work of the Society.

Council believes that members should be able to choose the type of food they consume and the Society provides Freedom Food products where available together with vegetarian and vegan food at Society events.


6 That every effort should he made to introduce into the leadership of the RSPCA a person with national standing as well as the qualities for leading the Royal Society and preferably such person should be Chairman. However, the required leadership could be provided by a President and Chairman working together and the role of the Chief Executive be limited to ensuringefficient and less costly management of the day to day running of the Society.
* There was a risk that the discussion of the resolution would in itself be divisive among the members present and generally throughout the Society.
* That it is the Council and not the members who are responsible for the management of the Society and the resolution, if passed, would create a mixed message regarding the work of the Society.
* That the resolution, if passed, would simply be ineffectual and therefore discussion to send out the wrong message to the membership.


1. It is very interesting to learn what RSPCA Council Members consider detrimental to the Society. Briefly it is detrimental to want open management with limited confidentiality, having a Chief Executive with a proven record in animal welfare, having a well informed membership, by treating members in accordance with the Human Rights Act and the rule of Natural Justice, by following recommendations from the excellent Sparrow Report on the election of a Council chairperson and a president and on having a ban on the eating of animal corpses on RSPCA premises and at RSPCA functions. Perhaps the most cynical reason the Council gave for rejecting motion 4 is that the inclusion of the motion would result in negative publicity for the Society and detrimental to the ability to raise funds! OK then to carry out long and secret investigations into members lives as long as the press are kept in ignorance. Is this the style of the corporate management that has been adopted by the Council?

The reasons for the rejection of motion 3 are odd. The new arrangements for the Annual Report agreed in June 1999 do not alter the requirement for the Council to report on the work of the Society. In 1999 the Council passed A VERY IMPORTANT Resolution giving the Director General unrestricted authority to conduct secret inquiries into members’ private lives. No mention of this appears in the 1999 and 2000 Annual Reports EVEN THOUGH it affects the right of RSPCA members to respect for their private and family lives and their homes and correspondence. This resolution still stands.

Re Motion 5 Quote from The Guardian 22/6/01 -
‘A succession of studies have illustrated the health benefits of giving up meat. An Oxford University study of 11,000 people found that a vegetarian diet can reduce the chances of suffering from a variety of cancer types by up to 40%.’
These studies show that eating meat whether it be fron Freedom Food sources or other sources is not beneficial to human health. By providing FF meat at RSPCA events the Society is promoting the eating of meat.

Re Motion 6 We are delighted that Richard Ryder has been re elected to Council and we commend him for stating his concern to see that the Society is run in a democratic way and that members who really care about animals can keep the Society up to the mark. Richard Ryder is the sort of person recommended in the Sparrow Report to be Chairman of Council. He has national standing and proven qualities for leading the Royal Society. His qualities were evident when he was Chairman of Council from 1977-1979. Will the present Council members have the sense to realise this and re elect him as Chairman?

1992 was the last year that the Annual General Meeting fulfilled the function described in the Annual Report of involving members in decision making. In her 1993 election address, Eileen Chamberlain quoted from the 1993 Annual Report which said that the Council in true democratic manner interpret and implement the wishes of its electorate. (The Society’s members.) She disagreed saying that resolutions passed at the AGM are shelved. But her comments were too late as 1993 was the year that the AGM was decimated and from then on Council members occupied most of the pitiful time allowed for members motions. So much for Council listening to ordinary members before making policy decisions. Things have got worse — is the RSPCA on the way to having a Society run by highly paid staff with a few hand picked trustees and no members only subscribers? The lack of information for members, the destruction of the AGM, the pathetic trustees report and the obsessive secrecy seem to deter voluntary workers and so could account for the increase in cruelty to animals which, by now, the RSPCA should have controlled.

WATCHDOG has no connection with nor had knowledge of the green book circulated at the AGM.

The 172nd Annual General Meeting June 30th 2001                
a view by Margaret House

There is only one word to describe the 172nd AGM BORING

More than that it was an insult to every ordinary member who had left home early in the morning, travelled hours in a car, hunted for a parking space and ended up sitting on a wretchedly uncomfortable seat with less leg room than in a cheap chartered aircraft.

After delivering an uninspiring speech and reaching the point on the Agenda where members’ motions were to be heard, the Chairman managed to give the impression that the most important issue was to rush through the meagre one hour allowed for this item in order to get to lunch on time. Speakers were interrupted and we felt particularly sorry for Ron Kirkby when his interesting speech was rudely interrupted by the said Chairman, Malcolm Phipps. I wondered how many members in the audience could remember the day in 1981 (before petty bureaucracy and the men in grey suits took over) when the AGM was the most important meeting of the year when Richard Adams was President of the RSPCA and gave a speech of welcome. When he sat down, everyone in the audience stood up to applaud and were inspired and motivated to work for animals as never before. I even remember his closing words about the animals looking over our shoulders begging for help. Is it surprising then, that twenty years on that (excluding stalf, hunters and Council) less than 100 members attended the AGM? Or that only 24% of the membership voted in the Council elections? This is not apathy - members want more better paid Inspectors not hordes of overpaid management staff and members find little comfort in the candidates election addresses to encourage them to vote. THE WHOLE PROCEEDINGS brought to my mind the quotation from Tacitus -

"When they make a wilderness they call it peace." (Ubi solitudinem facient pacem appellant) The staff called it a peaceful meeting. Unfortunately, until staff and Council stop confusing debate and freedom of speech with terrorism, attending an ACM will be like sitting by the death bed of a cherished friend.

Praise must go to David Mawson and Mr K Schofield who gave moving and well prepared speeches in proposing their motions. But the news this morning (2/7/01) that the government is to fund Huntingdon Life Sciences gives little hope that any notice will be taken of their resolutions even if the Council take action. Dorothy Adams made a brave and truthful speech and did not deserve to be attacked by the Chairman and the Director General.

WE NEED A FULL DAY AGM IN LONDON WITH A SPEAKER WHO CAN INSPIRE AND MOTIVATE MEMBERS, MORE DEBATE. Are you listening Council members? Stop hiding away in endless committees and useless working parties. WE WANT ACTION. IT is YOU Council members who are creating a desert and calling it peace!


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