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Newsletter Number 85 March 2001
THE SECRET SOCIETY (cont)
From RSPCA Council Member Chris Flood
Having been shown the January copy of Watchdog I feel I must write to correct the assumption that all council members are frightened of open government and do not check what is happening. At the time of writing this letter I have a copy of a 15 page deposition which has been submitted by "staff" to legal council to ascertain if I as a council member am entitled to correspondence written by staff prior to me being a council member. I cannot comment on the financial cost of this exercise as yet I have not been informed of this but must confess that what ever the cost incurred it could be put to much better use. I would also add that I did not instigate this legal action. I requested a full copy of a letter written by staff not one with a paragraph removed as "staff" have decided it would be inappropriate for me to see this paragraph.
C J Flood
From former Council member Joan Dell
I have seen a copy of WATHDOG No 84 which makes interesting but frustrating reading As it says ‘they |Council | have handed over much of their authority to council officers and I would add the Director General by its Resolution 'Delegation of Powers' which delegated some important powers to officers and senior staff. I thought at the time it was a strategic move and was one of the reasons why I resigned from Council. Council being mere paper tigers. Astonishingly, the majority of Council voted for the motion, being those council members, it seemed to me, who were blissfully ignorant of the dangers or not courageous enough to make up their own minds but deferring to the advice of staff who had little or no previous experience in animal welfare.
Another complaint voiced by a member in newsletter 84, was what happens when members complain to HQ? Many times when I was speaking with two members of senior staff I was told ‘we don’t want membership or branches; we just want supporters. They are not so much trouble’.
I noticed that Mr Taylor and Miss Reid ‘proposed a successful resolution to restrict full and audited annual accounts only to those members who requested them’. Whatever possessed them to bring this resolution?
I wonder who instigated these resolutions to be brought by various council members and officers and could they have been prompted by the most senior member of staff?
Perhaps the day will come when THE ROYAL SOCIETY FOR THE PREVENTION OF CRUELTY TO ANIMALS will (a) cease to be a secret society; (b) extend its vast reserves of wealth for the alleviation of suffering of ALL animals to include those animals that are tortured in laboratories and those that are farmed intensively; and (c) set up low cost neutering clinics.
Yours sincerely Lilian Joan Del
Council Member 1990-1995
From RSPCA member Margaret House
Having been unjustly expelled from the RSPCA in 1988 for being involved with RSPCA Members’ Watchdog I was reinstated as a member when the expulsion decision was overturned by legal action. My application for membership of the Surrey East Branch was rejected without a reason being given. I appealed to the Director General P. Davies who refused my appeal again without a reason being given. In September 1993,1 received a letter from an RSPCA Council Officer to whom I had appealed about Davies1 decision. He said that at an Officers’ meeting in London, he asked Davies for the evidence which resulted in my exclusion from membership of the Surrey East Branch. Davies said that he was not prepared to divulge it! This is yet another instance of P. Davies refusing to give information to a Council member.
You can imagine my distress when I discovered that I had been defamed in Council minutes in April 1993. The minute read:
"During discussion, Mrs Adams expressed concern that Mrs House was not permitted to be told the substance of the allegations against her, which she felt was against the laws of natural justice. It was pointed out that the relevant Rule required that "under no circumstances shall the reasons for the decision be communicated to the Appellant Member without the consent of the Director General." DG added that steps had been taken to ensure the accuracy of the evidence against Mrs House by asking the person concerned to be prepared to sign an affidavit and if necessary defend the statement in court."
(No step was taken to hear my answer to the allegations!!!!!!!)
To refuse to give a reason is contrary to the second rule of natural justice which states:
"The second rule is known as audi alteram partem (hear the other side) . It states that a decision cannot stand unless the person directly affected by it was given a fair opportunity both to state his case and to know and answer the other side’s case."
The rules of natural justice are rules of fair play, originally developed to control the decisions of inferior courts and then extended to apply equally to any authority exercising an administrative power that affects a person’s status, rights or liabilities.
Any decision reached in contravention of natural justice is void as ultra vires.
When we vote for candidates for Council we are told that Council Members monitor the work of the staff. The Council has delegated their powers to the Council Officers but are still responsible for seeing that the Officers carry out this duty or are capable of doing it. So how can the Officers monitor the work of P. Davies, Director General if he refuses to give them the information they request? In 1996,the Chief Charity Commissioner made it quite clear in a letter to P. Davies by saying "Obviousiy, though, the terms of any power of exclusion must be consistent with the requirements of natural justice."
ANIMALS IN WAR
In October 1998,the Finances and Resources Committee decided to give £80,000 to an outside private committee which included P. Davies which was planning to erect a memorial costing £850,000 on Park Lane island close to Marble arch. The RSPCA’s £80,000 was used to pay Architect’s fees, artists drawings etc.At a time when living animals are desperately in need of help, this waste of £80,000 is Inexcusable The cold stone monument is an insult to animals who did not ask to go to war and an insult to those poor animals still being tortured in Porton Down as live targets for testing weapons for future wars. The Director General P.Davies has said"A memorial to the sacrifice of animals in support of the British and Commonwealth forces in the 20th century is long overdue."What does he mean? Is he admitting that animals were sacrificed (slaughtered) just as sheep are sacrificed in the Eid-el-Kabir Festival? Is he objecting to this abuse of animals? If so, why no mention of Porton Down?And why was this donation kept secret from RSPCA members? There is no mention of it in the 1998 or 1999 Annual Reports. It would take an expert to find where the £80,000 is hidden in the Financial Accounts.EVERY RSPCA MEMBER should ask if the full RSPCA Council VOTED to approve the gift of £80,000 to another organisation and if it did not vote either by a show of hands or on paper in order to approve the action of the Finance and Resources Committee request that the Chairman of Council gives an explanation to the membership for his reason for neglecting to carry out what is accepted practice in any well run organisation.
More Money Given Away
There is another large sum of money that has been given away in the year 2000. See if you can find mention of it in the Annual Report and Accounts for the year 2000 when you receive them. Do not forget that you have to specifically request the accounts or you will not receive them — more secrecy!!!
In 2000,the Council gave to WSPA (World Society for Protection of Animals) £28,695 it may have been more.
£2,750 for voting rights
£13,250 Annual Grant
£12,695 for World Congress extravaganza’ in June
This sum, of course does not include the expenses of the Council members and staff who attended.
Did you know that the RSPCA Director General is also President of WSPA? Do you know the history of WSPA? The World Federation for Protection of Animals (WFPA) was started in Zurich after World War 2 and had political links with the Council of Europe. In 1976,1977 and 1978 the RSPCA gave £10,000 a year to WFPA. In 1980,the RSPCA persuaded WFPA to join with its own ISPA to form WSPA. In the 1999 WISPA Annual
Report it was reported that this charity had doubled its income in 3 years instead of the planned 5 years. WSPA has produced a ‘Universal Declaration for the Welfare of Animals’ in June 2000 and the RSPCA Council approved this very shortly afterwards just before the RSPCA June 2000 AGM. Will RSPCA members be allowed to see this document?
Did you have the impression that the Director General P Davies was paid to manage the day to day affairs of the RSPCA? As he can find time to be President of WSPA and chair their board meetings as well as work for the ‘Animals in War’ committee would the RSPCA be better off with a full time Director General, fewer paid staff (no reduction in Inspectors) and a more accessible new Headquarters????
A Member Writes
"The dreadful Eid-el-Kabir Festival takes place on 6th March and it is thought that sheep are already being exported for the barbaric event, the information having been provided by Kent Action Against Live Exports. Amongst the membership of this group are dedicated people who gather information at Dover Dock, recording the details of transporters carrying animals to the Cap Afrique - the ship operated by Farmers Ferry. Two people stand at the entrance to the dock recording vehicle registration numbers whilst two more stand on the cliffs overlooking the dock noting the procedures taking place within the dock. They are often there until 3am."
"I wonder if anyone else has this problem?
I live in Horiey, Surrey and I would like to meet other people who are interested in Animal Welfare. I have been a member of the RSPCA for many years and have asked about having local meetings (once a month perhaps) every time I rejoin. I never receive a reply!
We have a very busy Auxiliary Secretary and at our last Surrey East AGM I asked the Chairperson about forming a group but she said "Only the Committee meet together in this area."
I know several people here shake a tin once a year and we get a very generous amount. If we could get together occasionally we could help animals much more and recruit some new members.
"At the moment I am torn between peaceful campaigning and direct action as no one seems to be listening, there is a conflict of interests it seems to me because the DG is a director of Freedom Foods. An RSPCA official should NCT be involved in the meat market and promote it on one hand and be a part of an organisation which promotes kindness to animals on the other, you cannot believe in both.
How the Society can condone Huntingdon Life sciences is a scandal. I think by writing this letter I have answered my own dilemma and I will send a sizeable donation to SHAC instead of the RSPCA. SHAC are not in it for the status and salaries but are a group of people dedicated to closing down the hell holes where animals suffer unimaginable pain in the name of science.
Appalled by use of RSPCA cash
I AM aghast to hear that the Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) has given £80,000 to a committee (chaired by the Director General of the RSPCA) set up to erect an 'Animals in War’ memorial in Park Lane. London.
There are hundreds of thousands of animals suffering in the UK. These animals are entitled to expect respect and help from the RSPCA. Why are their needs being subordinated to an inanimate salute to the egos of a few prestige-seeking individuals?
It the report of this donation is correct, then I hope that anyone who currently supports the RSPCA will be as appalled as I am. Maybe they will consider whether their compassion and money could be pot to better use.
Tavistock Times 18/01/2001
There are several puzzling aspects to the donation of £80,000 to the charity ‘Animals in War Memorial Foundation Fund’. They are-
1.We understand that Charity Commission rules state that money donated must not be given to another charity1 the above mentioned charity was registered as a charity on 19/03/1998 and the £80,000 was donated on the 6/10/1998 by the Finances and Resources committee of the RSPCA AFTER Animals in War etc. had been registered.
2.This donation was made conditionally on the Memorial promoting feelings of kindness towards animals and discouraging their ill treatment. Did the Finance and Resources committee know the OBJECTS of the Animals in War etc. (see below) BEFORE making their decision?
Do YOU consider that these objects promote kindness to animals? These objects are promoting the use of animals in war and the erection of a monument salves the consciences of those who use them in this cruel and unnecessary way - especially at Porton Down. That is our view.
There is another point in connection with the donation. Did the minutes of the Finance and Resources committee (which we understand are circulated to other trustees) on the 6/10/1998 give ANY indication that the donation was for another charity and what the objects of that charity were? Were the other trustees misled into not complaining about the donation? We believe that present Council members should insist on withdrawing the Delegation of Powers decision it is a bad idea.
(A) TO PROMOTE THE MILITARY EFFICIENCY OF THE ARMED FORCES OF HER MAJESTY'S GOVERNMENT, IN PARTICULAR BY PROMOTING THE IMPORTANCH OF ANIMALS IN WAR IN ASSISTING IN THE EFFICINT DISCHARGE OF THE DUTIES OF OFFICERS AND OTHER SERVING MEMBERS OF THE ARMED FORCES; AND (B) TO ALLEVIATE AND PREVENT CRUELTY OR SUFFERING TO ANIMALS SO AS TO PROMOTE THE MORAL IMPROVEMENT OF MAN, IN PARTICULAR BY THE CONSTRUCTION OR ERECTION OF A MONUMENT OR MONUMENTS TO THE SUFFERING OF ANIMALS IN WAR SO AS TO PROOMOTE SUCH MORAL IMPROVEMENT
The objects of the Animals in war charity were on the internet - just in case scmeone gets all upset about leaks! Also on the Internet Peter Davies, Chairman of the Memorial committee has stated that he works for the committee in his spare time — even when he was asking for the donation at an RSPCA meeting? Oh and Princess Anne is President (the well known hunter) of Animals in War.
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