Thursday 21 March 2013

It is a nonsense to say that the RSPCA squanders funds on prosecutions which could have been spent on protecting and rescuing animals. Prosecutions are one of the most effective ways of doing exactly this.

Every legal case is the result of the alleged suffering of animals. Many are victims of terrible neglect and/or cruelty and can only be removed from places of danger and protected from further harm through legal means. Once in our care animals can be properly looked after and wherever possible restored to health and rehomed. Cases also bring people who have abused animals to justice and deter others from committing similar offences.

Upholding the law is not a political act – behind each prosecution there is an animal’s story to be told. The RSPCA is simply upholding the law. Without it there would often not be much we could do to stop the appalling suffering we see.

If the RSPCA did not deal with investigating allegations relating to cruelty to animals and prosecuting offenders, it is unlikely that any other agency could or would undertake this important work. Like many charities, we fill a gap which other organisations do not have the resources to pursue.

If more individuals abuse and are cruel to animals then it is very likely that there will be more prosecutions and more convictions secured. This is a sad indictment of our society and not a measure by which the RSPCA can be criticised for fulfilling its charitable  objectives.

Info about inaccuracies in Karl McCartney’s blog

The figures quoted in Karl’s blog are inaccurate. He says these are 2012 figures, which have not been published yet.

The prosecution costs listed for 2011 in our Trustees Report, which he is quoting, includes the welfare costs of boarding and providing veterinary care for the animals taken into RSPCA care – which came to nearly £4million in 2011.

The number of convictions have not doubled since 2008. In 2011 there were 3,114 and in 2008 they were 2,574. We are not quite sure which prosecution figures from 2008 Karl is referring to.

There are also several other inaccuracies. Most of our prosecutions are taken under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, not the Prosecutions of Offences Act 1985.

Following Simon Hart’s complaint to the Charity Commission about the cost of Heythrop Hunt what the Commission actually said was: “Decisions to undertake prosecutions are properly for trustees to make, and are not normally matters of regulatory concern for the Commission. We are not investigating the RSPCA.”

The RSPCA has been enforcing the law since its inception.