|Watchdog Newsletter Number 63 November 1997||Tel: 01293 786166|
(There are some portions that we could not read on the copy we have, these have been marked: [*].)
Call for a ban on all hunting with dogs
Hunting an animal with a pack of hounds causes unnecessary suffering to the pursued, as well as disturbing other wildlife in the area. Current legislation offers no protection to animals against cruelty caused during a hunt. It’s time the law changed and the RSPCA will continue to campaign vigorously for a total ban on the sport of hunting with dogs.
Extracts from an RSPCA leaflet and from a letter from Mrs. Burton
Terriers are often used against foxes underground. The RSPCA has investigated cases where foxes have been dug out of their earths and brutally killed by terrier men. The terriers often suffer injuries.
Question Would Mrs. Burton have been elected to the Council if her ‘strong reservations’ about fox hunting had been included in her Election Address? Was it dishonest of her not do do this?
Question Should Mrs. Unmack have promoted Mrs. Burton as a candidate who was opposed to hunting with dogs without first finding out the facts?
Question Should Mrs. Burton resign from the Council?
Question Can Mrs. Burton fulfill her duty of facilitating the objects of the Society in relation to the suffering inflicted on foxes by the unnecessary activity of fox hunting?
Question What instructions did the Charity Commission give to the RSPCA about admitting fox hunters to membership? Does the Council know in exact detail what was said by the Charity Commission?
Dear Mrs. Chandler
Thank you for your letter dated 7 September.
I note the concern raised in your letter, however, the Charity Commission have not found it necessary for the R.S.P.C.A. to accept certain persons into its membership and it is not within our powers to do so. It is for the members of the Society, acting in accordance with the Rules, to make amendments including those affecting membership. In certain circumstances the Charity Commission have to approve any changes which have been passed by the members.
We are in discussion with the Society on varies amendments passed at the Annual General Meetings in the last two years. These discussions are confidential.
In the circumstances I would suggest that you contact the Society and raise your concierns with them directly.
(the signature will not reproduce from the copy we have)
Jenny Jordan (Mrs.)
The Charity Commission did NOT find it necessary for the RSPCA to accept pro-hunting applicants into membership. So WHY were hunters admitted?
It is rumoured that Owen Perks and Roy Forster proposed and seconded a motion to accept them. You might like to write to them and check if and why they did so. How many Council members voted for the motion? Who were they? Is there any reason why we should not be told? It might affect the way we vote in Council elections.
RSPCA literature states that hunting with a pack of hounds causes unnecessary suffering to the hunted. To hunt with hounds is therefore against the objects of the RSPCA. Are the Council members guilty of doing this?
It seems that instead of taking the lead in promoting kindness to animals, the RSPCA Council members are lagging behind. The National Trust has reaffirmed the ban on stag hunting on its land – CIFW has achieved sentient status for animals – the RSPCA has a growing band of hunters and hunt supporters in its membership!
It is difficult to understand the thinking of the majority on the Council. In the RSPCA Council, talent and knowledge is wasted. It is a disgrace that BILL JORDAN for example is not an Officer of Council or Chairman of a committee. It is beyond belief that ordinary members are denied branch membership and are subjected to trial by Council. The European Court found that British Courts Martial are illegal – is it not about time the RSPCA Council is condemned for cruel and unjust treatment of member s.
‘The nobler a soul is, the more objects of compassion it hath.’
Francis Bacon 1561 – 1626
Food, a wholly owned subsidiary of the RSPCA inspects pork and eggs available
in Tesco and the Co-op.Their
standards are slightly better than the (BQAP?) standards and EU legislation
on the welfare of chickens but meat and eggs sold under the Freedom Food
banner are not always free range. Pigs must not be tethered or kept in
stalls, but farrowing crates and tail docking are still permitted. Although
the stocking densities for hens are lower than the EU standard, they might
not be free range. Beak (tipping?) and prophylactic use of drugs is permitted.
Not only is the term "Freedom Food" misleading but many consumers
find it incredible that the RSPCA, a well respected animal welfare charity,
would endorse intensive farming systems.
Living Earth July 1996
Many consumers find it incredible that the RSPCA would endorse intensive farming systems. Many members find it shocking that Tesco, in partnership with the RSPCA, can write about the ‘Freedom Food range of products’ when referring to what were once living SENTIENT beings.
‘I think it is important that Branch members should know how their Chairman is voting.’ Mrs. E. Unmack Council member and SE Branch Chairman.
Comment. VERY important in Mrs. Unmack’s case seeing that she voted for Mrs. Burton without checking her facts. It is even more important to know if Mrs Unmack voted to admit hunters into RSPCA membership and if she checked BEFORE voting!
No wonder that everything that they Council does has to be swathed in secrecy.
This colour lithograph published in the publication Lustige Blatter in 1910 proves that the debate over vivisection is nothing new. The rabbit is saying: ‘Now, no phoney sentimentality!’
The principle of free research requires that I vivisect this human for the health of the entire animal world.
The RSPCA and Commercial Animal Abuse
(Sitting on the Fence) by Angela Walder)
The history of the RSPCA in relation to commercial animal abuse has either been keep its head down and do nothing, enter a compromise position which achieves nothing or enter into talk shops with the abusers.
Even in the recent case of the laboratory beagle breeders (Consort) going bankrupt it was left to smaller organisations and (k***?) individuals to purchase and re-home them to stop the receiver selling them to a research laboratory whilst the RSPCA stood on the side-lines saying it was not in (***) rules as a charity to purchase animals therefore they could not intervene. Yet more laboratory animals let down by the RSPCA.
As many suspect the R in the Society’s (****?) stands for respectability and rules and seldom for real reform.
I believe the brave founder of the RSPCA, Arthur Broome would scarce believe the commercial animal abuse we face today (o***** ?) Society’s cowardice of purpose in dealing with it. He threw himself into helping animals with such fervour that he incurred debts on behalf of the Society and went to jail for so doing. It is interesting to note that law-breakers working today on behalf of animals are barred from the Society whilst hunters and vivisection supporters are welcomed in. We have had vivisectors and their supporters on our committees (****?) sit on their committees giving them an air of respectability. It is interesting to note that a number of laboratories which have been exposed by the media (*****?) up within them RSPCA ethical committees! You may well ask how one can ethically poison a dog with weed killer, send a primate insane with ‘hard drugs’ or make animals suffer and die for a new product. Some may argue that the RSPCA can only move just a little faster than public opinion but in fact now they appear to be lagging behind it as far as experimentation is concerned. Never in all the years of my involvement with the Society have we done so little in this area or been so weak.
It appeared in the early 70’s with a strong animal experimentation committee which I was proud to serve on with the late Kit Pedlar (a medical doctor deeply committed to reform) who felt a deep guilt for having been involved in the training of Colin Blakemore who has committed abhorrent experiments on cats and kittens, that we might at last be moving towards trying for real reform of these animal torture houses. However Kit resigned due to the Governing Body and the staff giving him little support for his strong line. I have little doubt he would turn in his grave if he knew we now sit on a committee with Colin Blakemore and run to his defence when criticised. (**********) were constantly thwarted and when I did in fact successfully get the Governing Council to agree to campaigning on this issue and give finance to it we were suddenly told of the limitations we were faced with due to being a charity and no effective campaign was ever launched. A few adverts were placed which brought in the funds but little else transpired. The animal experimentation committee with its committed experts has been closed down – instead we share committees with researchers who feel there is little wrong.
We know next to nothing about what is happening in research laboratories and yet again attempts to put this right were agreed by the Council but never implemented. Indeed it was as a direct result of this lack of knowledge that the RSPCA invited the Director of the exposed Huntingdon Research laboratories to an RSPCA symposium on the subject just one day before the television companies exposed the cruelties in his laboratory. My own attempts and those of others to keep him from this meeting were shouted down by persons on Council calling us extremists. If it is extreme to not want to mix with such persons whose sole purpose in abusing animals is profit, then I remain an extremist.
I do not believe a single laboratory animal has ever been helped by the actions of RSPCA resolutions at AGM’s on this subject. They are largely ignored in spite of clear membership concern. We write erudite papers on the subject which largely stay in house. We discuss the pros and cons ad nauseam and put up constant reasons why we can do no more. The fact is the RSPCA has no fire in its belly over this subject – just an intellectual interest and an eye to the fact that if they have a policy on the subject it could well be a good fund raiser as long as no one asks about our achievements in the subject.
I suppose in the light of the Society setting up their ‘just a bit kinder’ meat marketing industry known as Freedom Foods we must be grateful they have not set up a laboratory of their own where the poison dose is a little less or the electric shock of a slightly lower amplitude.
I used to think that if the seemingly less committed council members were to go into a laboratory to see for themselves how bad things are for the animals, they might become fired up enough to act. I am no longer sure of this. After the appalling undercover film showing beagle dogs being punched at Huntingdon Research labs, I could not even get the matter on the Council agenda.
When it comes to this area of animal abuse, the animals must look elsewhere. At present to the groups the RSPCA condemn. Those who rescue animals from their persecutors and by so doing bring the matter to public attention. We need an effective campaign in this area but don’t look to the RSPCA for it as they fear upsetting the vivisectors with whom they share committee meetings.
Comment In its definitive catechism published on 9 September 1997, the Roman Catholic Church states that:
‘IT IS NO LONGER PRESUMED THAT MEDICAL AND SCIENTIFIC EXPERIMENTATION ON ANIMALS CONTRIBUTES TO CARING FOR OR SAVING HUMAN LIVES.’
On the following page is an item from the British Medical Journal of 13 September 1997. We congratulate the Assistant Chief Veterinary Officer William Swann for his excellent response to the BMJ Editor. William Swann wrote ‘To make a deliberate attempt to run down an animal –"I put my foot down and awaited the satisfying squelch" – is contemptible; to write about it beneath contempt. Dr. Farrell evidently dislikes cats " the only good cat is a squashed cat" I vehemently dislike Dr. Farrell’s views but I have no desire to subect him to the agony and suffering which may result from a road accident. The Doctor would be well advised to review the law as regards animals cruelty.’ Well done Mr. Swann!
Home visits, within reason, remain a pleasant and sociable part of rural general practice. There is a daily closeness to nature, which I think our colleagues in the cities and towns miss out on; the sense of order, of renewal and change, of rhythm, that gift which, as C S Lewis observed, allows us to celebrate both the joys of newness and of familiarity at the same time. In the teeth of winter the snowdrops, then the crocuses; by March the daffodils; April ushers in the transient fragility of the cherry and magnolia blossoms; early May is the best time, meadows lush and fresh and moist with bluebells and morning dew. After that it gets a bit hectic, June busting out all over, wild parties, weeds in wheels shooting long and low and lush. Gerard Manley Hopkins must have had occult foreknowledge of my garden.
But as usual in my life experience, there is a Dark Side to this bucolic existence, and a closeness to nature presumes its own responsibilities.
Last night as I was driving home from a house call a Hunter's Moon was gleaming down and the mist was luminous in the headlights. A cat ran in front of the car; as to me the only good cat is a squashed cat I didn't shirk my duty. I put the foot down and awaited the satisfying squelch of a confirmed kill, and only realised too late that it was in fact a young fox. It was under the wheels in a second. And I love foxes; I love their wildness, their feistiness, their sparkiness, the way their eyes shine in the starlight.
I stopped and got out to see something very distressing; the fox was squirming madly in the middle of the road, its eyes bloody with pain and fear and ruin, its hind legs dragging uselessly. I'd obviously given it a serious spinal injury. It was late at night and the little creature and I were alone; I knew what I had to do. I lifted it off the road, although it was trying to bite me, took the wheel jack from my boot, and crushed its skull with one swipe. It was brutal stuff, and I had to keep my eyes open all the while, as it was a moving target and I could not bear to miss and have to try again; "One shot," just as Robert De Niro said in "The Deer Hunter."
Like most doctors I've often had to administer drugs in that twilight zone of relieving symptoms while possibly or probably hastening death, but I don't recall any of them disturbing me as much as having to kill that little fox so bloodily with my bare hands. Those actions were aseptic, surgical; the violence is invisible, unacknowledged, cloaked. I wonder how much being removed in this way from the actual act diminishes the import of what it is we are actually doing. If euthanasia involved smashing somebody's skull would anyone admit to 50 successful swings?
A stowaway fox who tried
to move in with a Thurmaston family has been taken in by the RSPCA.
The pages in this Watchdog make sorry reading. We hope that they show how important it is to get the right people elected to Council. We need to know more about the candidates than the Election Addresses reveal. We desperately need fair minded Council members who will LISTEN and QUESTION what they are told by the staff – in other words living, informed people and NOT clockwork robots. Above all else, we DEPLORE the unjust and unkind treatment of members. It was the reason that Watchdog was started and the reason we continue to publish.
Thank you for all your letters of support. You urge us to carry on and because we care for people as well as animals we will. A lot of dedicated people have been desperately hurt by their cruel treatment. Yet, no attempt is made by the Council to improve matters. Those who voted to admit hunters and their supporters to the RSPCA should be ashamed. Fortunately, members are starting to question the actions of the Council.
The story on the left is missing the final chapter; what happened to the fox? The fox pictured above was euthanased by the RSPCA Inspector. When asked as to what was wrong with the fox he replied
‘Something was obviously wrong with it because it entered the house and in addition to this it smelled". If the lady didn’t want the fox to come in the house anymore perhaps to stop feeding it and closing the door so the fox couldn’t get in would have been a more humane way of dealing with the problem. (*****************************************************************************?)
NATIONAL FOX WELFARE