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 88 October 2001
As the RSPCA Members’ Watchdog newsletter enters the 15th year of its existence it is time for a review of its purpose and expectations of the future. In the last few weeks there has been signs of the stirring of a wind of change from within the Council which is very encouraging.
On 1st November 1987 an introductory letter was circulated prior to the circulation of the first Watchdog newsletter. Those involved in the newsletter were described as:
‘A loose liaison group formed as a result of continuing concern, voiced over many years about the way in which some branches and individual members of the RSPCA have been treated with contempt and disdain by those wielding undemocratic power within the hierarchy of the RSPCA.’
The aims of the newsletter were
1. To obtain justice for those members who have been treated
unjustly and to attempt to ensure that all members are treated fairly and
with a respect due to dedicated voluntary workers.
2. To ensure that the RSPCA’s present policies on animal welfare are not diluted but rather are actively pursued.
It was emphasised that
‘We do not intend being a secret clandestine section of the membership out to overthrow the Society. We are not seeking to divide but to obtain greater democracy for the membership and the branches who undertake such a large part of the Society’ s work.’
The numbered newsletters are circulated to RSPCA members and to individual Council members. NO RSPCA MEMBER HAS EVER BEEN REQUIRED TO PAY A CONTRIBUTION towards the cost of the newsletter. Appeals have been made for donations towards the postage costs and some RSPCA members have responded. Accurate financial accounts have been kept by Dave Wetton and all expenditure has been covered by receipts.
|French National Assembly.|
|Article 11 in the Declaration of Rights of Men and Citizens, in August 1789: "Free communication of ideas and opinions is one of the most precious rights of mankind: all citizens may therefore speak, write, print freely,excluding abuse of this freedom in cases determined by law".|
The main costs are for photocopying and postage. Used envelopes are reused for environmental and economic reasons. Writing paper has been donated by friends.
FROM AUGUST 1999 the newsletters have been photocopied by the firm Port Talbot Photocopiers. Before that it was photocopied on a friend’s photocopier.
The original liaison group has been reduced temporarily to 2. Richard Farhall had to give up due to pressure of work, Angela Walder had to resign on 7/7/01 due to a resolution passed by the Council forbidding Council members and staff from having any contact with Watchdog. Sadly, Joan Watson died.
RSPCA Members Watchdog Newsletter on the Internet.
In November 1999, Rosemary Rodd of Cambridge wrote to Margaret House asking her if she knew that the newsletter was on the Internet, Margaret House immediately informed Mr. Goodfellow (Solicitor RSPCA Legal Services) on the 24/11/99 and the 2/12/99. Mr. Goodfellow replied on 6/12/99 stating that he was informing the Director General immediately. Meanwhile Margaret House wrote to Mrs JW Slark and to Ms. A Kasica to ask if they were involved. This was denied and correspondence from Mrs. Slark and Ms. Kasica’s telephone call was reported to Mr. Goodfellow. A statement was put in a newsletter which received a reply from the person who was responsible - an RSPCA member (not Joe Harris).This response is printed below.
from the one who puts the Watchdog on the Internet
BY MARGARET HOUSE
am very angry with the cowardly and stupid people who have put the Watchdog
newsletters on the Internet. I call them cowardly because whilst they
are quite happy to broadcast my name, address, phone number and signature
on the internet,
are reproduced on the net in their entirety, the text is copied exactly
from the copy I receive, this I believe gives the internet published ones
the same honesty and integrity as the ones that Margaret House publishes.
they do not have the guts to
include their own names or ask for my permission to publish my name.
|Cowardly, Yes I have
to agree with you on this. I apologise for not asking your permission.
Had I asked I would be known and you would not have trusted me.
|They are stupid
because they have failed to understand the purpose of the newsletters.
maybe for doing this. Stupid for failing to understand the purpose? NO!
I do understand.
want to have OPENNESS in the RSPCA and an atmosphere and time at which
informed discussion can take place with the members at an easily accessible
Annual General Meeting.
|You say openness and
informed discussion surely the internet gives you openness and I, and
others here, can tell you it does provide discussion.
|The RSPCA member's
discontent is with the RSPCA COUNCIL and NOT the RSPCA and this can only
be resolved by working WITHIN the Society.
|There are many people
out in the world who are unhappy with the way that the RSPCA is going,
they have no grumbles about their local branch, but many about the main
management. Only by getting them to join and use their vote in a sensible
way can reform come about.
|NON RSPCA MEMBERS
who have a grudge against the RSPCA should write their own newsletters
and not copy other people’s work – that is if they are capable of doing
so and have genuine complaints.
|Being a member I have
to agree with you on this.
WATCHDOG NEWSLETTERS FROM THE INTERNET!
|NO! I believe from the comments that I hear that they are a power for good and will help to bring about the long needed reforms.|
The contents of the newsletters reflect the concerns of RSPCA members who write to Watchdog. They are concerns about the treatment of voluntary workers, the AGM, expenditure on the Southwater Palace, the War Memorial, staff salaries, Freedom Food research animals, lack of information for members, excessive secrecy. The promotion of candidates for Council follows accepted practice started in 1981 by Council and continued recently by the Chairman of Council Mr. Tomlinson and by Council member Mrs. Unmack.
Any questions arising from this review will be willingly answered.
Of all the cruelties inflicted on animals, using sentient creatures for experiments 'to benefit mankind' is the most cynical and most revolting. Please read the review of Professor Croce's book published in the British Medical Journal and then ask yourselves if the RSPCA is doing enough to help these poor animals. If Charity Law forbids charities to campaign against animal experiments because they are said to be of benefit to humans is it not time that Charity Law is changed? Would not RSPCA funds be better used taking legal advice to do just that instead of campaigns against members?
British Medical Journal's
favourable review of
Professor Pietro Croce's
landmark bookThis review is reproduced below and can be found in the BMJ issue of 13th January 2002 (BMJ200I;322215) and also on their web site:
www bmj.com/cgi/content/ full/322/7278/115/a"Animal rights activists have made the headlines several times already this year. However, if you think that antivivisectionists are just fanatical arsonists, weird hippies, or old ladies who feed stray cats, then think again. In this disturbing and thought provoking book Professor Pietro Croce, an Italian scientist who used to experiment on animals himself explains why he now believes this is unethical. Surprisingly, this view is not based on his love of animals but rather his "concern for the health of other human beings."His main argument is that using animals as an experimental model for humans is methodologically flawed and unscientific and has led to many people being harmed or even killed He gives many examples of this, including the case of thalidomide. This drug was first prescribed to pregnant women in 1957 and marketed as a harmless tranquiliser In 1961, after "repeated and rigorous animal experiments," British Distillers distrtbuted the drug around the world, resulting in the birth of thousands of children with phocomelia. Croce argues that catastrophes like this are inevitable given the biological differences between animals and humans, and supports this with some fascinating examples. For instance, sweet almonds, the basic ingredient of marzipan, are poisonous to dogs, foxes, and turkeys; chloroform is toxic to cats and rabbits, and isoprenaline is tolerated by cats in doses 175 times greater than considered safe for humans.Croce also says that experimenting on animals is a slippery slope to experimenting on humans This may sound far fetched, but Croce gives many examples to bolster his concerns Hepatitis B vaccine, for example, was first "tested" by Dr Krugman on institutionalised children without their consent. Krugman had started off experimenting on animals.So what is the alternative? Croce explains in great detail how epidemiological methods, computer simulation, and in vitro studies can be effectively used instead of animal experiments, in fact he takes great exception to these methods being called "alternative" and instead calls them 'scientific."Although Croce doesn't mince his words, this is a balanced and thoroughly researched book. It also has a long history. it was first published in Italian in 1981 and was translated into English in 1991. This is an updated edition of what is generally regarded as "the Bible of antivivisection"If you want to read a book that challenges everything you think you know about science and research, then this is the one for you It certainly changed my view."
".............and when the man of science, looking forth over a world which own no other sway than his, shallexult in the thought that he has made of this fair green earth, if not a heaven for man, at least a hell for animals." Lewis Carroll.
A MEMBER WRITES"Your desire for a nationally known person with experience in animal welfare as Chairman of Council is excellent and in fact very necessary. Yes, I have been very disturbed at the number of volunteers who have been treated very unfairly. It is quite incredible that people who give up their time for a cause should be treated so shabbily. This must stop if there is to be any progress.I believe the RSPCA should shout a lot louder about the unacceptable cruelties that are sanctioned by Government i.e. vivisection, mass killing of alien species and the import of primates and other animals for vivisection which should be banned.
I am very angry about the word 'terrorist' being used by most of the press and the Government to describe peaceful protest against HLS and other establishments of this type."
A former Council member, Joan Dell, objected strongly to the delegation of trustee powers to the Officers of Council. We thought that you might be interested in the statements; she made at the meeting when the trustees decided to delegate their powers in 1993."As I see it this is probably the most important document placed before Council since its inception in 1905. Exactly because 'Council members must familiarise themselves' with this document, I asked that our Solicitor explain to Council members the benefits and consequences of such delegation; this was refused on the ground of lack of staff time.In the absence of explanation, it seems to me likely that this document is not legal. It is asking me to delegate my powers as Trustee to persons who in the future may be unprofessional or negligent and I shall be responsible. If there is a majority vote in favour of this paper, it will mean that my power as a Trustee has been taken from me willy nilly, but for which I shall be responsible."
(Needless to say powers were delegated and the reign of secrecy began Ed.)
QUOTE OF YEAR
The Director General, Peter Davies told the Sunday Express (15/7/01) that the reason his wife went hunting was:
"She went out because she had horses and it was a good way of exercising them."
(Are there not better ways of exercising horses?
30 September 2001
Fury over secretive monkey BSE tests
EUROPEAN Union scientists have secretly given their blessing to controversial experiments in which live monkeys will be infected with mad cow disease, writes Andrew Osborn.
In a move that has outraged animal rights campaigners, the EU's most powerful scientific committee has concluded that 'valuable information' can be gained from such experiments.
They believe the information will help scientists better understand how BSE -and the human variant CJD version - is caught. The monkeys will be fed brain matter from British and French meat infected with BSE.
The Observer has learnt that the European Commission, which relies on the Scientific Steering Committee for advice, chose not to publicise the news despite new rules over public access to information. Instead it buried it on an obscure Internet page and did not issue a press release despite the fact it is routine practice to do so.
The British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV) has reacted with fury to the news. 'At a time when the moral justification for I using primates is being questloned this is a backward step,' said Sarah Kite, BUAV's Information director.
'Scientists are now realising that even using our closest relatives, chimps, in Aids research is misleading.'
30 September 2001
36m pheasants bred to be shot for pleasure
MILLIONS of pheasants are being bred as 'living shooting targets' for gun users in what campaigners say is the most grotesque abuse of animals ever seen in Britain, writes Anthony Browne.
More than 36 million pheasants were reared in industrial hatcheries last year before being released into the wild a month before the hunting season - which starts tomorrow - so that they could learn to fly.
The pheasants are bred in captivity because wild birds are wary of humans and difficult to kill. During the hunt, 'beaters' frighten the birds from the grass so that they fly directly into the line of fire.
As there is little demand for the birds as food, the animals are then buried in specially dug holes.
The animals rights organisation, Animal Aid, has exposed this practice in a new report. Its director, Andrew Tyler, said: 'Pheasant rearing and shooting combines the worst aspects of factory farming with a live-target shooting gallery.'
Experienced hunters are also condemning the practice. Julian Murray-Evans, the edltor of Shooting Times magazine, said: 'It is more than a little embarrassing that many shooters don't eat the game they shoot'
9 July 2001
After his 'life of Riley", in the day or so before the fight, the bull may he beaten with sandbags, fed strong laxatives, have a strong irritant rubbed on his legs, his horns cut or filed, vaseline put in his eyes and cotton wool in his nostrils, have a needle stuck through his genitals or his ears stuffed with cotton wool.
During the fight, the bull charges the hard wood of the burladero, breaking horns and concussing himself That's the thunderclap Ms. Cole enjoyed. Then he gets the picas (lances) 6 inches deep in his neck-muscles, followed by the barbed banderillas, which stay in and continually tear his flesh. At the end, if he's not killed properly, he may be alive while his ears and/or testicles are sliced off as trophies.
Many Spaniards hate all that barbarity. It's the tourists who keep it going, even though most who attend never attend again. What the heck is the Guardian doing promoting such evil'
THE FUTURE AN APPEAL TO ALL MEMBERS
Cruelty to animals has increased on a vast scale. Too many good and valuable members have left the Society. Too many innocent members have been unjustly treated. Freedom of expression has been stifled at the AGM. There is too much secrecy and too much bureaucracy. Regional Representatives are not democratically elected as described by the late Lord Houghton, former Vice President of the RSPCA.
The horrors of animal experimentation are being exposed by young people in OTHER organisations. The immensely rich RSPCA MUST use its money and help the animals EVEN IF it means abandoning charitable status and starting again. A way MUST be found to campaign against animal experimentation not only for the animals sakes but for the benefit of humans as well.
The great strength of the RSPCA has been its Vice Presidents, a small group of eminent people, active in the cause of animal welfare with the power to warn and advise. PLEASE, Council members NEVER be tempted to appoint 'celebrities. Other organisations may have done so in the past. The world changed after September 11th and fortunately the triviality of 'celebrities' compared to the value of real people has been recognised. Always remember that Vice Presidents have to be re-appointed each year -so mistakes can be corrected.
With best wishes.
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