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 89 January 2002


One of the worst aspects of a secret society is that reputations of individuals can be damaged without the victim’ s knowledge or having the right of reply. This happens to some members in the RSPCA— it could happen to YOU Unfortunately, decisions made by the RSPCA Council could be based on untrue information.

As an illustration of this bad practice, we are publishing a series of untrue and misleading statements made by a Mrs Owen at a Region 8 Board meeting and minuted. Two  members were named and no attempt was made to check the truth of Mrs Owen’ s statements. We believe that Mrs Owen should apologise and that the minutes of the meeting should contain her apology. It is unacceptable to minute unchecked allegations and the Regional Manager has a duty to see that minutes are recorded in a proper manner.

Statements made by Mrs Owen (Doncaster amd Rotherham Branch)

[1]  Mrs Owen said that at the Society’s AGM , Dorothy Adams distributed a leafletfrom Uncaged and that there [2]  was also a paper distributed by Watchdog calling for the rejection of the Annual Report, a vote of no confidence in the Director General and a vote of no confidence in the ruling Council. She felt that as a Regional Board they should strongly object to the behaviour of those involved, namely Watchdog.
[3]  Mrs Owen said that during the AGM , Dorothy Adams made what she considered to be defamatory remarks against HQ staff. She also said that 6 Council members were  reported in Watchdog as being supporters of Watchdog.
Mrs Owen said that the Regional Board knew nothing about the case of a man called Mawson but Watchdog did [4]  and she asked why Council matters were kept secret from Regional Boards but not from Watchdog. She presumed the information came from the 6 Council members mentioned in the newsletter.

[5]  Mrs Owen claimed that Mrs House/Watchdog were behind the Mail on Sunday article and said that seeing the Society could remove Richard Meade from membership why not do something about Mrs House and Watchdog and the people giving the information possibly the Council members mentioned in the newsletter.

[6]  Mrs Owen made a claim that Mrs House had got her teeth into Mr. Spencer over something to do with an
aggrieved branch member. She wanted to know how much money Mrs House/Watchdog had cost the Society.
[8]  Mrs OWen wanted a complaint made to the Director General about offensive remarks made by Dorothy Adams and those of Watchdog at the AGM.

[9]  Mrs Owen claimed that she had spoken  to Mrs Eileen Chamberlain who wished it to be recorded in the minutes that she is “totally annoyed and distressed at the antics of Dorothy Adams remarks at the AGM and the activities of Mrs House/Watchdog.
The Regional Board agreed that a letter should be sent to the Chairman of Council to complain about the activities of Dorothy Adams and Watchdog. The proposal was seconded by Jan Robertshaw of the Bradford branch.

We have included the response from Mrs House below and Mrs Adams’ response is on page 5. A copy of this newsletter will be sent to Mrs Owen and if she has any questions we will gladly answer them.

Whenever an injustice happens it should be exposed. I realise that Mrs Owen spoke from ignorance but minutes MUST NOT contain misleading information.

It is UNTRUE that the paper calling for the rejection of the Annual Report was distributed at the Society’s [2]  AGM. It was put on the seats during the lunch break by Mr J Harris. This was observed by RSPCA staff. This ‘paper’ had nothing whatsoever to do with RSPCA Members Watchdog and the page from the newsletter no 87 was inserted without permission. Mr Harris informed Dr Suckling of these facts and will restate the facts if contacted.

[3]  It is UNTRUE that six Council members were reported in the newsletter as being supporters of the organisation.  It was a speculation that they might have been the Council members who voted NOT to expel David Mawson.

FALSE speculation. The information about David Mawson was published in the press and that is where Watchdog obtained the information.

[6] [7]  TOTALLY UNTRUE Mrs Janice Jackson (called an aggrieved Committee member) wrote to Mrs Dorothy Adams in response to Mrs Adams’ letter to branches.  Mrs Adams phoned Mrs Jackson, listened to her complaint and told her to ring Watchdoq. This she did. Mrs House listened to her complaint, which seemed serious and told her to put it in writing and send it with any supporting documents to Mrs Adams. Mrs Adams photocopied the documents and letter and sent them to Council members Chris Flood and David Mawson. When Mrs House heard this she wrote to all three Council members asking them to investigate. No further action was taken by Mrs House who was content to leave it to the Council members. Mrs House does not know Mr Spencer, has never seen him or spoken to him but was merely following usual procedure when complaints are received.

[8]  UNTRUE  Mrs House did not speak at the AGM nor did she take any action. She left during the Lunch break together with Mr and Mrs Wetton to go home. They met Mr Rolls and another member of staff in a motorway cafe.

[9]  If Mrs Chamberlain will put her complaints, about Mrs House’s activities in writing with the proof of her allegations, her letter will be published in the next newsletter with an answer to her complaints by Mrs House.

We would also like Mrs Chamberlain to note that before she requests any further recording of her opinions about Mrs House/Watchdog, she remenbers that at the time of the publication of newsletter no 87 there were THREE original founders of the newsletter ALL responsible for its publication.

Some extracts from the interview given to OOZE by RSPCA Vice President Bill Jordan
OOZE Are Zoos useful for conservation?
I say why do we need zoos? They’re a Victorian relic. The conservation issue is a red herring as the animals will not be released beck into the wild. They can’t be.
OOZE The RSPCA is building a war memorial to commemorate the animals that served world wars. What do you think of that?
BILL It is an appalling waste of money. lf those animals had had the choice, they wouldn’t have been in the war. The RSPCA should spend their money on living animals not dead ones  (The RSPCA donated £80,000 to the memorial fund. Ed)
OOZE Should the RSPCA be making a stand against vivisection?
BILL The RSPCA should be saying that all experiments that cause animals pain should be banned.


The RSPCA always seems to come in at the last minute for the PR.
BILL Yes,they have a huge PR department that’s what they’re good at.
What changes would you like to see?
BILL People need to realise that they have a responsibility to treat animals the way they ‘d like to be treated themselves. As far as the enviroment is concerned if you look after the animals in the broad sense, then the environment comes with it, it is a whole package.


(For decades, the advice of Vice Presidents has been of great value to the work of the RSPCA. We remember with affection the support of Lord Houghton, Dr Carpenter and Clive Holland. On 3rd October 2001 we sent a letter to Vice President Bill Jordan who is Founder of Care for the Wild International, trustee of CIWF, renowned vet, college lecturer and author to express our concern about untrue and misleading information being given to Council. We were shocked to receive the following information from him.

“You may not know that Vice Presidents are no longer permitted to attend Coucil meetings nor receive Council papers, in other words,  any influence which Vice Presidents could have on Council has to all intents and purposes been blocked.”
(Whose idea was this? Ed)

     “We have to have intensive farming in this country because of the demand for protein meat products and dairy products. You could not do it from a backyard system-its impossible. Freedom Food is one of the most important things we do, in my view.” RSPCA Director General Peter Davies to the BBC Watchdog programme.


"I can only speak my own personal truths via animal welfare and rights work, every time it looks as if we are going to win against the CRUEL AND FORMIDABLE POWERS, whatever the area of cruelty or abuse (and the list is endless!) suddenly we find ourselves blocked! Now isn't that odd? Great minds through the centuries have condemned cruelty in all its horrific forms, so the moral case was proved centuries ago….one has to conclude that those 'in charge of the world 'are evil. Wasn't it the Gnostics who wrote that the planet was in the hands of evil forces? It all sounds so dramatic but the masses seem to find it so difficult to face such a terrible truth they'd rather play at pretending everything is all right and such 'plots' are just the stuff of entertainment or literature. Facing the hideous truth head on is not easy and yet I believe we owe it to ourselves and all the exploited and abused and tortured people and animals to own up to it and spread the honest facts. I keep hearing that sentence "the Truth shall make you free!"


"Disciples of the Buddha, you should willingly and with compassion carry out the work of setting sentient creatures free ....... Should you see a wordly person intent on killing an animal, attempt by appropriate means to rescue or protect it and free it from its misery."

"Whilst there are slaughterhouses there will be battlefields."


Mrs Dorothy Adams' Reply to the allegations made by Mrs. Owen Region 8.

It has come to my attention that at the Region 8 Regional Board Meeting, once again my name was introduced to the members by a Mrs. Owen, of Doncaster & Rotherham Branch. Concerning Mrs. Owen, the Minutes state "She said that, at the Society's AGM as well as a leaflet from 'Uncaged' (which during the course of the meeting, she learnt had been distributed by Dorothy Adams), there was also a paper which called for rejection of the Annual Report, a vote of no confidence in the staff, vote for dismissal of the Director General , and a vote of no confidence in the ruling Council, with a copy of RSPCA Watchdog, copies were distributed."

Mrs. Owen, by what she has said in the Minutes, is insinuating that I placed the copies of Watchdog on the seats at the AGM. She is wrong - I did not. I did not even see it until I got home, as my husband had picked a copy up and put it in our bag. Yes, I put the Uncaged leaflets on the chairs. I did not make it a secret. What I was assuming was that members of the RSPCA were people who cared about animals, and as the leaflet contained a card that could be sent to the Prime Minister in an effort to try to make the Prime Minister honour the commitment be made before he was elected to office in 1997, regarding setting up a Judicial Review on vivisection, and would gladly send the cards off in an effort to do something about the information contained in the leaflet. Did Mrs. Owen read it? I wonder.

Mrs Owen comments on my remarks about our Research Animals Dept. An AGM is not a PUBLIC meeting, it is a closed meeting, and the AGM is just the place where people can criticise. It is called FREE SPEECH, allowed by the European Union.

I also understand that Mrs. Owen had spoken to Mrs. Chamberlain about me, and says that Mrs. Chamberlain wishes it to be recorded that she is "totally annoyed and distressed at the antics of Dorothy Adams remarks at the AGM". It would be nice to know what Mrs. Chamberlain is alluding to. It is easy to say things about people when they are not present and able to defend themselves.

The Times
Monday November 19, 2001,
Valerie Elliott Countryside Editor

RSPCA ousts critic to make way for stars

THE RSPCA is facing a constitutional emergency after senior figures were stripped of their powers as a result of an attempt to recruit celebrity ambassadors such as Geri Halliwell, Sir Elton John and Sir Cliff Richard.

The charity's three vice-presidents will no longer be able to attend or speak at the monthly meetings of the RSPCA's ruling council. Instead they will receive a quarterly newsletter and be expected to attend publicity events with celebrities.

Some members believe that the move was an attempt by the RSPCA's director-general, Peter Davies, to silence Bill Jordan, a veterinary scientist who is seen as a "progressive" opponent of animal experiments.

The other two vice-presidents affected by the council's decision are Angela Cope, a longstanding fundraiser and volunteer, and Dame Janet Fookes, former deputy Speaker of the Commons and Conservative MP, who championed animal rights issues.

Dr Jordan and Mrs Cope are said to be "very upset" by their departure from the 26-strong council. Dame Janet, who rarely attended, has accepted the move. Dr Jordan, who set up the RSPCA's wildlife division and has served on the council for 15 years, has frequently criticised RSPCA policy, particularly in relation to circus animals.

He believes that the RSPCA should adopt a hard line against the use of animals in scientific experiments. "The RSPCA should be saying that all experiments that cause animals pain should be banned," he told the new animal welfare magazine Ooze. Dr Jordan criticised a Pounds 10,000 contribution to a war memorial for animals that "served" in the World Wars.

Some RSPCA council members were incensed that, by voting in a new all-star vice-presidential cast, they had unwittingly voted to ban longtime colleagues from attending.

One council member said: "Bill is a progressive and he really wants to improve things for animals. The trouble is there may be progressives and Young Turks on the council but we are outnumbered by more establishment figures.

"I do think it is disgraceful to treat people like this and it is unacceptable. There will be an attempt to overturn the decision, but no doubt someone will try to block it."

About 30 candidates from showbusiness, media, the arts and animal welfare have been approached to be the charity's new ambassadors. A list of names will be published in the new year. The RSPCA is awaiting responses from Sir Elton, Ms Halliwell and Sir Cliff.

Invitations have also gone to the gossip columnist Nigel Dempster, the actor Simon Callow, the broadcaster John Humphrys, the astronomer Sir Patrick Moore and the wildlife film-maker Sir David Attenborough.

Other council members are angry about the move but are too afraid to speak out in case they are banned. Under RSPCA rules, members of the society and council can be removed if they bring the charity into disrepute.

A backlash is expected at a council meeting on December 12 in Central London.

RSPCA members believe that the issue need never have arisen if Mr Davies and senior officials had chosen a different name for their celebrity champions. "Patron" was ruled out because the Queen and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother hold that title. The Archishop of Canterbury is the RSPCA's vice-patron.

The charity vehemently denies any attempt to silence Dr Jordan or the other vice-presidents. "We are not a closed society, but we are trying to draw a distinction between non-working and working trustees," John Rolls, director of communications, said. "We felt we should create a cadre of new people to promote what we do."

He regretted any upset felt by Dr Jordan and Mrs Cope but said that Dame Janet agreed with the change and had helped to define the new-style vice presidents.

The RSPCA, founded in 1836, has 50,000 members, 500,000 supporters and 193 branches. It raises between Pounds 60 million and Pounds 80 million a year towards animal welfare.


The Guardian
November 23, 2001
James Meikle

Television ban on 'political' ad to improve poultry rearing

The RSPCA has been banned from advertising its campaign to improve the production of broiler chickens for eating because it defied the television industry's code on "political" issues.

The charity said the Broadcasting Advertising Clearance Centre's decision was "extra-ordinary" and claimed a 30 second clip comparing the growth rate of a broiler over six weeks with that of an egg-laying hen had been refused "on the basis it was controversial and seen to attack the (poultry) industry". The RSPCA hoped the TV advertisment could be run in breaks during the peak viewing programmes Coronation Street and Who Wants to be a Millionaire? A broiler, slaughtered after 42 days, is about four times the weight of a bird used in egg production and has a different body shape. A voice at the end of the clip asks: "Do we really want our food this fast?"

The campaign will be featured in newspapers and cinemas, where it can only be shown in programmes with 15 or 18 certificate films, and follows mounting concern by government advisers and EU scientists over welfare standards in the industry.

The RSPCA said it was trying to educate consumers so they could put pressure on super markets to demand less crowding and more night rest periods for hens in huge sheds where the floors can hold up to 50,000 chickens at a time.

It also wanted breeders to change the genetic make-up of broiler chickens back to producing slower growing birds. It argued present methods led to premature deaths of 100,000 birds a day in Britain as well as lameness and disease.

About 820m broilers are produced each year in the UK alone to satisfy consumer demand for the nation's most popular meat.

The advertisement was checked by the clearance centre representing terrestrial and satellite broadcasters against the code drawn up by the Independent Television Commission. This says: "No advertisement may show partiality as repects matters of political or industrial controversy or relating to current public policy."

The British Poultry Council accused the RSPCA of making "a cynical attempt" to promote its own Freedom Food labels, whose assurance schemes were little different from other industry standards, it claimed.

The council's spokesman, Peter Bradnock, said the charity's report on broiler chicken production was "bordering on the deliberately misleading . . . it is disappointing it is attacking high standards of chicken rearing".


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