The number of cats, dogs and rabbits rescued in the year by the RSPCA fell significantly. In respect of cats, rescues fell from 41,000 to 32,000. For dogs the number rescued halved in a year to 8,000.
This is obviously disappointing news for all animal lovers who respect the RSPCA as the world’s oldest animal welfare charity but sadly the charity is facing an exodus of members because of poor decisions made by senior management during the preceding couple of years in which the RSPCA became embroiled in a series of controversies.
Subscriptions to the charity fell by a third over the past decade. The RSPCA has just managed to stay in the black despite the falling members but it appears it has been obliged to impose sharp cuts in welfare activities including micro-chipping, providing health care to animals and neutering.
In addition to the sharp fall in animal rescues, cruelty investigations were down to 143,000 from 160,000. Since 2011 veterinary treatments have fallen by one third. Furthermore, grants from the central charity to local branches have nearly halved to £339,000.
You may remember the controversial decisions made by earlier senior management in ramping up the number of prosecutions that the RSPCA made with the intention of highlighting animal welfare cases through highly publicised criminal prosecutions. This backfired and as I see it the public became disillusioned with the RSPCA because what they want to see from the RSPCA is individual cats and dogs and other animals being rescued and cared for. That is their primary role. It is not to engage in umpteen court cases.
It could be argued that the obsession with running criminal prosecutions resulted in some unfortunate incidents in which innocent people were also prosecuted for supposed animal cruelty when it was not the case.
The shrinking membership base is said to have caused an increase in power within the charity of a hardline faction in order to get radicals elected to the charity’s ruling council.
Cats and dogs need a well-run RSPCA. The public wants the RSPCA to concentrate on old-style rescue and animal welfare as far as I’m aware and I hope that there are able to rebuild a membership base once they have embarked upon a new strategy.
Their spokeswoman does not admit to a problem. This does not bode well for the future.
We Need Parliamentary Representation For Animals
Dan Lyons runs a think tank and he has been elected as a trustee of the RSPCA. He is considered to be a radical and he has explored the possibilities of parliamentary representation for animals. This appears to be regarded as an extreme idea but I don’t see it that way.
I will make a presumption that by “Parliamentary representation of animals” we are talking about a senior minister in government in any country whose sole responsibility is concerned with the welfare of animals.
This person would be the voice of animals within government and if my interpretation of the role is correct I see that as a hugely beneficial advance in animal welfare in a country. I don’t recall anybody in a senior position having such a role, ever.
I would see such a role as a necessity bearing in mind, even a country like Great Britain which is meant to be full of animal lovers, that there is a considerable amount of animal cruelty especially on farms. One of the newly elected trustees of the RSPCA has compared farming to the Holocaust. That may be an extreme view but I get the gist of it. People tend to put to one side, in their minds, animal welfare issues on farms when they are tucking into a steak or a chicken tikka in front of the television.
Source: Times Newspaper.