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.


Watchdog Newsletter Number 72 March
1999 Tel 01293 786166

THE WATCHDOGS 1987 - 1999

We are not arm chair critics. Each one of us is active in the cause of animal welfare inside our own and other societies and in public affairs.

WE WANT greater democracy, in tbe RSPCA. We seek UNITY more VITALITY and DRIVE, less institutionalised bureaucracy and above all an influx of young people who will find scope for their activity within the law and within a FLEXIBLE AND OPEN CONSTITUTION. We want people who can move mountains in order to combat the areas of organised, commercially motivated cuelty to animals where living creatures are treated as raw materials or as packaged merchandise as in Freedom Food.

WE WANT the Annual General Meeting NOT to be a stage managed occasion controlled by the Council but a MORE DEMOCRATIC conference with business conducted at a WHOLE DAY MEETING. The STANDING ORDERS for the Annual General Meeting put forward by the Council are open to serious objection, especially on the INFLEXIBLE TIME LIMIT on speeches of movers and seconders of motions. Rules and Standing Orders should be brought more in keeping with the PRESENT CONCEPTS OF DEMOCRACY and membership participation.

FOR OVER ll YEARS through Watchdog we have tried to qet better treatment for members and staff. In 1982 and 1983, we worked with Lord Houghton to try and end the INTERNAL DISCORD (which still exists today) and to get Lord Houghton's views accepted many of which are quoted in this Watchdog.

WHAT IS DISTURBING is that the Council appears to lack the will or the means to find out what is wrong. Council members fail to realise the duty of fairness and responsibility that the Society and its Officers owe to ordinary members a duty that was emphasised in the Sparrow Report.

The treatment of members by, the Director General and some Council members is disgraceful by any standards. Arrogance, insensitivity and just plain rudeness is the order of the day. Margaret House was very distressed at having a visit from an RSPCA Inspector investigating a malicious and totally unfounded complaint. She felt that there should be a proper system for dealing with malicious complaints. It would be easy to do, would save the Inspectors' time and would not affect genuine complaints. What did the Director General reply? He wrote:

"I will not debate with you the pros and cons of anonymous telephone calls". (The police said the complaint was NOT anonymous!!!!)

Yet another insulting reponse was sent by the Director General to a member who wrote to complain about the Director General's luxurious office when there is not enough accommodation for the animals that Inspectors have to take into 'care'. Consequently the dogs have to be killed. The Director General's reply was:-

"Your comments on my luxurious office are of no interest to me."

Perhaps Davies in his 'smart Georgian Headquarters' as described in the Radio Times 1/l2/98) needs to 'rethink the priorities of a charity supposedly dedicated to the prevention of cruelty to animals - especially as there is widespread speculation about the cost of the new Headquarters. It is rumoured that the cost is already 16 million and rising. A Headquarters for bureaucrats - death for animals!

A MEMBER WRITES

We were upset to receive the following letter from Joan Dell a dedicated worker for animals who finds she is at odds with the path that the Society is now following. So many good members have left the RSPCA. So many members find the admission of blood sports enthusiasts into the Society inexplicable. So many find the concept of animals reduced to 'food products' by the Freedom Food company unaceptable. Joan is right The RSPCA does NOT want members just HOHEY MONEY NONEY.

Middle Rylands Redmoor Nr Bodmin Cornwall PL30 5AR
e mail: joandell@globalnet.co.uk

Dear Watchdogs

Thank you for Newsletter 70. After careful consideration, we too will resign our membership of the RSPCA.

Over the years the Society has become a powerful, multi-million pound corporation with, to my mind, a hidden agenda. It has increasingly pandered to those outside its membership with vested interests in the animal production industry and has gone out of its way to allow membership to those participating in blood sports, senior staff dictating policy and supported by those council members who enjoy their approval and the resulting kudos.

The ordinary committed member of the Society has no rights of suggestion, criticism or the right of freedom of information. In fact, when I was a council member from l990 to 1995 I was informed on more than one occasion that the Society did not want new members, what it wanted was donors. Donors were less tiresome and much more economically profitable

I disagree with Thomas David Graham [Watchdog No 70 Nov 1998] when he says he believes that some of its administrators are incompetent or indifferent...' The senior staff are certainly not incompetent, the majority of which are ex-senior military personnel and who have been head hunted by the best in the land. They are experienced managers who know exactly what they are doing and it is an anomaly that experience of, and commitment to, animal welfare is not a condition of their appointment. However I do believe that among some senior staff and the majority of council members there is indifference to farm animal welfare There are, thank goodness, many grass roots members of staff who are dedicated to the welfare of all animals and are there because of their commitment

We shall of course continue to support the branches and Inspectorate who against all odds do a wonderful job; this criticism does not reflect on them in any way

Joan Dell
4 Dec 1999

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In The Observer On the 6th Decembcr 1998, there was an article:
IN THIS CENTURY, WE FOUGHT OVER 0IL. IN THE NEXT, IT WILL BE WATER.

The article explains how "lakes are poisoned by sewage; in Africa, rivers turn into filthy trickles; around Asia's Aral Sea, millions of people havc been stranded as the waters shrink and dry up. Scientists calculate that 7% of the human race does not have enough to survive. Most humanity faces a future without the most basic of resources - WATER The prospect of mankind battling over shrivelling rivers sounds like fiction. But the arithmetic of conflict looks inescapable. The worlds population is set to rise by a billion every 10 years - until 2050 when the rate is expected to slow. By then the planet will be home to more than 10 billion. Prof.Jim Wallace has said that "We need water for drinking, keeping clean and making things - but most important of all, we need it for farming. About three quarters of the water we use goes on growing food. We therefore have to increase crop yields dramatically, and we can only do that if we make much bette+r use of the water we use for irrigation."

Today, (1st Jan 1999) an article in The Guardian by John Vidal tells us that "Pimhill farm outside Shrewsbury is buzzing. The car park is full, there are queues in the shop and cafe, and a 30ft. high mill is churning out flour even as cooks prepare takeaway meals and others bottle milk." Pimhill farm is an organic farm. Again I quote from the article: "Today Pimhill offers its clientile facilities that are like a corner shop, health store and information point all in one. Some people buy in bulk, others drop in for fresh bread or to give or receive advice about food, or for a chat. I think they feel a connection with the way the food is grown said Ginny Mayall, who runs Pimhill with her father." Her grandfather, Sam Mayall, converted Pimhill to organic system in 1949, even as the government was urging farmers to intensify, enlarge and dose everything in pesticides. "There was no economic or social reasons then for his decision." Miss Mayall said "It was based on what was best for the animals and the soil."

Thc whole article explains how it is bringing the community together. How it employs more people both full and part time. It is a farm that is showing the way the country and indeed, the world should go.

I subscribe to VIVA a very informative magazine. In an article written by Michael Mansfield QC, he said: "In 1991 the World Health Organisation called for an end to the promotion of meat and dairy products and for a revolution in agricultural policies away from livestock towards plants, and added the warning that its recommendations would be strongly resisted

It is obvious to us all that governments past and present, are completely ignoring the WHO's recommendations which they don't give lightly. But what puzzles me most, is why were we, the RSPCA given permission by the Charity Commission, to set up a Ltd. company using charity money to support the Meat & Livestock Commission. We have all read about the slaughtermen who attack the meat inspectors, so anyone who believes the same men are considerate to the animals they kill, are living in cloud cuckoo land. Yes, there may be a few farmers who obey the standards, but we have also seen on television that Freedom Food and meat from 'ordinary' animals is mixed up in the processing plants (which are also the abattoirs. Freedom Food is not the success we are led to believe. How can it be if we have to year on year support it with hundreds of thousands of pounds. (for advertising)

The Charity Commission are quick to tell us that we cannot campaign against anything that is beneficial to mankind, yet give us permission to go against the recommendations of the World Health Organisation

The world cannot support the devastation being carried out upon it - deforestation for cattle ranching, and poisoning the land with pesticides to grow food for the cattle, poisoning the water (for animals as well as for us) and poisoning the rivers and oceans, causing sea creatures illnesses never known to them before. These problems are what we should be campaigning against for all life comes under the same umbrella.

                                                             

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THAT TV FILM Two further views - views fairly generally held
(We have withheld names to protect the writers from victimisation)

"How embarassing it was to watch Peter Davies on TV getting back 'to the shop floor' that he had never walked! Why had he never before tried to 'phone the public' number to find it busy for days on end? Why had he never before gone out with an Inspector or listened to their truthful worries or seen how impossibly thinly they are stretched in their 'patches'? I hope he does something after his public experience and exhibition of incompetence!"

"I was horrified at the contents of the television programme on Peter Davies; he didn't seem to have a clue and, of course, was never actually 'on the floor.' The poor dog, killed after being taken from an apparently better fate with the man banned from keeping dogs - the tragic irony of it. The NCDL would have kept him until a good home was found.

The awful fox 'rescue'; already suffering serious injuries the poor creature was hauled out from under a shed, an admittedly difficult location, but surely not beyond the capabilities of an experienced and sensitive inspector to effect a humane resuce? I winced at every forced and agonising move that poor creature was made to endure."

AN OUTRAGE

On 13/1/99, Princes William and Harry hunted with the Beaufort Hunt. RSPCA Official Charlotte Morrissey said to the press:

"The vast majority of people in this country are opposed to hunting and it's an outrage the Royals are taking part in such barbaric activities. They should be setting a better example...they have obviously been lead to believe that hunting is fine. But it's not. Foxes being ripped apart is not sport it's cruel and inhumane."

WHAT IS ALSO AN OUTRAGE is that the Society admitted into membership those who take part in these 'BARBARIC ACTIVITIES' - that, the Chairman of Council M. Tomlinson has at least one fervid hunter in his branch and that Council member Mrs Unmack promoted and voted for MRS BURTON for election to the Council when MRS BURTON is against the RSPCA'S opposition to hunting with hounds. Mrs Burton is now on the Council.

Quote of the Month

Many of you liked the quote from Henry Beston in W'Dog 70. Here is a further quote from 'The Outermost House A year of Life on the Great Beach of Cape Cod'.

"We patronize them (animals) for their incompleteness, for their tragic fate of having taken form so far below ourselves. And therein we err greatly err. For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older and, more complete than ours they move finished and complete,given with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained,living voices we shall never hear.
Quoted in "After Noah" by Andrew Linzey and Dan Cohn-Sherbok


Article from MSF Magazine....December 1998/January 1999

"Vet nurse Nicola Johnson always wanted to work with animals. After passing her training she worked in a local practice for two years. But Nicola was looking for something else a job with more responsibility. So when she saw the advert to work at the RSPCA animal hospital in Birmingham she jumped at the chance. And like a dream come true she got the job. "I was working at one of only three RSPCA animal hospitals" she explains,"the nost famous one being in Harmsworth in London where the BBC series is set." Working at the hospital was great. "The facilities were fantastic and I could do so much more there than I ever could in private practice. I had a lot more reponsibility and I particularly liked helping in the theatre." But real life is no TV show,and the dream turned into a nightmare. Just six months after her appointment a stray pit bull dog was brought in. All the danger signs were there-but no one saw them. It was an accident waiting to happen.

We were short-staffed and I had to help on the surgical ward. This pit bull was in and I had to clean out its kennel. I had no experience of dealing with pit bulls whatsoever." Nicola put the dog on a 'grasper' and took him outside while she cleaned up. But there was tension between the dog and a great dane,so Nicola tied the dog to a radiator which was common practice. "A supervisor and a vet turned up, but they were busy with other animals. No one questioned what I was doing.I put newspaper down,and then the blanket." She went to put the dog back in the kennel and suddenly, silently, it turned on her. "I felt something on my leg, I fell over and it got a better grip." The dog's jaws locked in and Nicola screamed. The supervisor and vet tried to get the dog off her by throwing water over it and whacking it on the head with newspapers. But to no avail. "I was sat up against the radiator, with my blue marigold gloves. I didn't struggle, I didn't feel any pain at the time, I didn't faint. It was as if it wasn't really happening. The place was in chaos. There was a lot of running around but no one really knew what to do. There was no procedure no set down rules." After 20 minutes of hell the dog was sedated and its jaws were removed from Nicola's leg. She was sent to the hospital. "It was on a Friday. They quickly cleaned the wound, gave me a couple of antibiotics and sent me home."

By the Monday Nicola was very ill. The wound was so infected that she had to have antibiotics intravenously and surgery to drain the poison. She had 75 stitches and was in hospital a week. It was then that the nightmares started. But after only a month off, she was determined to return to work. Nicola's MSF rep Steve Morral told her she might be able to claim compensation and set the ball rolling. But management took this personally. "They told me they were going to put me in for a bravery award, but had changed their mind as I was claiming compensation!" They showed their displeasure by making Nicola work with dangerous dogs. Thirteen months after the attack Nicola's fears were still there. Every morning she was sick before she came to work, she cried, she was frightened to leave her house. She was suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and her doctor sent her for counselling. Management was even difficult about letting her have time off for this. "They did try and find me work in a wildlife sanctuary but there were no vacancies." So in May 1996, 18 months after the attack, Nicola left her once ideal job. ( In 1998 ) Nearly four years after the attack the RSPCA admitted liability and Nicola's case was settled. She is pleased with the result.

COMMENT Would you be surprised to learn that the Council members we contacted knew nothing about the case? They were Mr W Jordan, Mrs D Adams, Mrs C Gunstone and Mr M Phipps. Would you be surprised to learn that only Mr Jordan and Mrs Adams took a positive view and were INTERESTED? It is a PRIME FUNCTION of the Director General's office to draw serious matters to the attention of Council members. We think Nicola's case was a serious matter.

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From the Hillgrove Campaign Newsletter

Again we must say that we know there are a lot of good, genuine people working within the RSPCA but the head office and most importantly the Research Animals Department have left astonished with their comments and actions.

When we received, a letter from the RSPCA saying there is no evidence of cruelty in the breeding records we were stunned

The breeding records of Hillgrove Farm are full of evidence of cruelty. To take just one example - the 5 week old kitten that was sent to Oxford University. Five week old kittens are very small and unsteady on their feet - they NEED their mother! To take a 5 week old kitten away form its mother is CRUEL. That is a fact. It is not up for discussion or debate. That is it, end of story.

For the RSPCA to say otherwise is an utter disgrace.

 

EYES THEY HAVE AND SEE NOT - EARS THEY HAVE AND D0 NOT HEAR

Maggy Jennings of the RSPCA Research Animals Dept. made a pre-arranged visit to the Hillgrove Cat Farm and without entering the sheds where the cats are kept said she saw no evidence of cruelty. Maggy also likes Ethical Committees. Here is another view:

"The value of these ethical committees should be called into question since they are so much better at managing ethical questions than actually addressing them. One perhaps two token animal welfare representatives provide insufficient means of ensuring detailed ethical discussion especially when government committees are heavily weighted with individuals representing bio-scientific and bio-technological concerns which have a direct, vested interest in maintaining the very practices under ethical scrutiny."

(Committee to consider the ethical implications of emerging Technologies in the Breeding of Farm Animals HMSO London p.43)

Those RSPCA members who wish to be better informed about the Hillgrove cats can ring 0121 632 6460. The man who breeds these cats to sell for vivisection (at 5 weeks old) when asked where the cats and kittens end up said

"When you buy a car, no one asks where you are going to drive it."

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Thomas Hardy who wrote the poem on the left wrote another poem about a cattle market called BAGS OF MEAT. Nowadays it would be called Freedom Food Products.

The Puzzled Game-Birds.
(Triolet)

They are not those who used to feed us
When we were young - they cannot be -
These shapes that now bereave and bleed us?
They are not those who used to feed us,
For did we then cry, they would heed us.
- If hearts can house such treachery
They are not those who used to feed us
When we were young - they cannot be!

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Mary Chipperfield and her husband have been found guilty of cruelty to animals on evidence provided by the Animal Defenders (NAVS).

Here is a weird coincidence. The name of the Stipendiary Magistrate who presided at the trial is ROGER HOUSE. 21 YEARS AGO IN 1978 another Roger House, Chairman of the Nuneaton RSPCA Branch visited a circus in Nuneaton and wrote a report on Mary Chipperfield's animals. As a result and with help from Stefan Ormrod, circuses with performing animals were banned from council land. What did RSPCA HQ do? They persecuted Roger House until the day he died in 1984. The present Director General spurns the past a pity - because the staff and Council might learn from the past and not leave it to others to relieve the suffering of circus animals, the Hillgrove cats, the Huntingdon Life Sciences dogs and the Shamrock monkeys. Need we say more.

PLEASE keep your support for Watchdog We are grateful-

THE WATCHDOGS

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