The union has welcomed a Parliamentary submission by the National Police Chiefs Council to remove the ability of the RSPCA to prosecute animal welfare breaches and instead establish a statutory body funded by government to undertake this work.
“The FUW believes that the move would foster greater accountability and would remove the unacceptable and dangerous conflict of interest between many of the RSPCA’s political campaigns and its non-statutory role in animal welfare prosecutions,” says Dr Hazel Wright, the union’s senior policy officer.
“Indeed, the various conflicting roles of the RSPCA as a lobby organisation, fundraiser and prosecutor have been raised by the FUW over the years.
“For instance, we have called for decisive action to be taken by the Charity Commission in relation to the RSPCA’s lobbying actions, which can only be described as aggressive and threatening.
“In 2012, the RSPCA’s chief executive, Gavin Grant, described the charity as ‘the oldest law enforcement agency still in existence in this country’ and threatened to campaign to ‘stop consumers drinking milk’ if supermarkets were unable to differentiate between ‘badger friendly milk’ and milk from English badger cull areas.
“Over the past decade, the union has also submitted numerous complaints to the Attorney General, Charity Commission and ASA regarding the RSPCA’s use of extreme and misleading rhetoric, warning that failure to take action would merely increase the organisation’s tendency towards militant action,” added Dr Wright.
“We would welcome involvement in the way in which animal welfare cases should be prosecuted in the future and have a dedicated animal health and welfare committee to help shape policy on such issues.”