RSPCA "Put politics before animals"

The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable - Oscar Wilde

Moot point: If hunts go,what happens to 20,000 foxhounds?

Activists drove senior worker into working for the Countryside Alliance

Jo Knowsley

[Disclaimer: This article is written from a position which appears to support hunting animals and therefore does not represent my views.My rebuttal is given at the end of the article -LB]

A SENIOR staff member of the RSPCA has resigned and is now working for the Countryside Alliance because she believes that the RSPCA has grown too political and "no longer puts the interests of animals first". Angela Egan worked as a branch development adviser for the RSPCA's London office for more than l0 years, drawn to the job by a deep- seated affinity with animals, particularly dogs. However, over the past 18 months she has become disenchanted with the society' s attitudes towards a number of issues, including foxhunting. She is concerned about the future of Britain' s 20,000 foxhounds if hunting is banned and says not enough emphasis is being placed on "grassroots" animal welfare issues such as the care of cats and dogs. She is also critical of city members who she says "often have no real under standing of country issues". However,the final straw came when she learned that the society had applied to the High Court to block the membership applications of people who also belong to pro-hunting groups "RSPCA volunteers do a fantastic job on the ground," she said "I cannot praise them enough But the society has become too political. The RSPCA has played a large part in my life for many years but I have become increasingly alarmed that its traditional, laudable concern for the key animal welfare issues and priorities are being subverted."
Turncoat:Angela Egan
High hopes: Angela Egan in her first week at the society

Miss Egan campaigned for the abolition of foxhunting in 1978. But 20 years on, "after closer examination of the issue and looking at the facts, I seriously began to doubt those views" I believe now that hunting is actually humane. And a ban on foxhunting would leave thousands of hounds redundant," she said "The RSPCA has said that they can be retrained and , rehomed". But these dogs are not welI adjusted to, or suitable for, a domestic environment. The more I researched the issue the more I knew that this could not happen. The RSPCA also knows this - I have raised the issue with them myself - but they will not publicly admit it." A spokesman for the RSPCA confirmed the society's line that the 20,000 foxhounds in Britain could be retrained or rehoused following a hunting ban. However, an internal RSPCA memo to Miss Egan, dated last month, shows that the society is aware of the potential problem. It advises her to use "a kind of catch-all statement" when discussing the issue but adds: "The onus [for the dogs] has to be on the Masters as responsible owners." Miss Egan said she became " very concerned" when she learned of the RSPCA's move to block membership of people who belonged to pro-hunting groups. Shelving of applications from members of the Countryside Alliance and the Countryside Welfare for Animals Group began in December last year, but RSPCA staff were told only last month. The RSPCA has applied to the High Court for a decision on whether it could legally prevent people from joining the society. Miss Egan said: "We had been dealing with complaints about a backlog in membership for months and we were telling people, in good faith, that this was because of problems with the computer. It was only in April that we received an internal memo which told us that 300 applications were being held in abeyance, and why. I was deeply uncomfortable. "I have always been involved in country-life and I know that animals are central to the lives of rural people. To deny them membership, or to imply that they are not animal lovers because they take a different view on an issue, is wrong." At the time the RSPCA denied that the charity was trying to exclude pro-hunting members. But another internal memo to Miss Egan, also dated last month, states clearly that "the main reason for this exercise is the society's national annual general meeting in June". The delay in processing applications meant that hundreds of would-be members missed the March 24 deadline for the right to propose resolutions, or vote, at the AGM on June 24. There had also been moves from within the RSPCA to become a vegetarian society. "Over the 10 years I watched things change at the RSPCA," she said. "It just seemed to me that the society's grassroots activities - looking after the welfare of cats and dogs - were being sidelined by the amount of time being spent on more political issues." An RSPCA spokesman said the society would not be drawn into "a slanging match" with Miss Egan "All the anti-hunting evidence we submit is scientific and well researched," he said.

Miss Egan is one of those dog-matic (!) and entrenched people who think that society's and organisations should not change with the times. The RSPCA,having a Royal patronage has for a long time been stuck in the paradox of trying to protect animals,whilst having its patron participate in shooting and barbaric practices where animals are concerned.The RSPCA rightly,is moving with the time and with public opinion towards actually living up to its remit and protecting those creatures that are supposed to come under its wing. The hypocrisy has been apparent to many who have supported the RSPCA in the past.If Miss Egan thinks that "animal lovers" in the Countryside Alliance should be allowed into the RSPCA then she is sorely mistaken.The RSPCA has to take a political stance,since the animal welfare issue is a political "animal",so to speak.If the RSPCA allowed pro-hunters into its fold,they would like as not bias policy within the RSPCA to go soft on hunting,and maintain the hypocrisy that has made the RSPCA look foolish in the past. The Countryside Alliance's silly and antiquated views no longer fit into a modern civilised society.The idea that they in some way represent a special relationship with the environment and that they are guardians of greenery is absurd.One only has to make a short tour of any area of green land to see that those who are supposed to be protecting it are exploiting it and tearing it apart.Farmers block rights of passage,and public footpaths or render them inaccessible by making them slurry pits.Animals in their care are invariably treated with contempt.Hedgerows and habitats are uprooted in order to make more profits,or so that the landowners can own more land for their private use and to stop prying eyes from watching their barbarism.It is the "townies" who "do not understand", who value green land since they get very little chance to actually make use of it.They so rarely see such animals as foxes that they relish the chance to see a wild creature living as it should do. Miss Egan has quite clearly been brainwashed into accepting the wholly unworkable myths of the Countryside Alliance.20,000 foxhounds it says will have to be destroyed if hunting is banned.What baloney! If these people were true animal lovers as they claim,then they would look after their hounds whether or not those dogs go hunting,as we "Townies who do not understand the ways of the country" do all the time. If they can afford to keep them now,why can they not should they not be there to hunt? If I do not understand the country ways Miss Egan it is because those ways are anachronistic, barbaric,unsympathetic to animals and the environment.
The idea that "local yokels" and "hooray Henry's" know better than I,is absurd.I doubt any one of them has studied population dynamics or is aware of the kind of feedback effects induced by their murderous antics.If the RSPCA is supposed to support murder,whilst claiming it is looking after animal welfare,then the organisation is a sham. If the RSPCA has taken a decision to eject ignorant and barbaric murderers from its fold then all well and good. It maybe true that I have no idea of horse husbandry or any of the practical things associated with country life,but I will never get a chance to as long as aristocratic air-heads prance around the countryside acting as if they own it (which to be fair they mostly do) and destroying anything that dares poke its head above the parapet. My "townie" ways are based on respect and care for animals,I don't define "love" as shooting something stone dead in cold blood.Any "country" person who extols the virtues of "loving" as being "to kill" clearly has a warped value system and distinctly should not be listened to as a guardian of our countryside.In every case where a natural predator poses a problem to man's wants or needs,there is a way of "out foxing" the creature,by using the brain that apparently is supposed to credit us with "superior intellect".If we actually used that part of us which the animal haters pompously and arrogantly profess is the reason why we are entitled to kill,there would be no need to kill a single thing. But the country air-brains are a victim of their own lack of reasoning,if man is superior and entitled to take advantage,then it is upon the premise of a far superior intellect.It is not so apparent,this superior intellect in these red-coated nonces,who even treat the human beings who try to stop their brutality,with as much contempt as they do the animals they kill. They claim they have "rights" and "entitlements",in the town we call them "privileges".Up until now the aristo gentry has had the privilege to be hypocrites and expect others to have higher standards that they do themselves.The time has come when those same standards are being demanded of them,and how do they react? Like spoilt brats whining and bleating about what losses they will incur.Have they never heard of self sacrifice? Giving something up for the net good? Perhaps not.These are the countryside ways that townies do not understand,of selfishness, greed, spite, arrogance, ambivalence and elitism. "We do not tolerate your sort around here" they may carp.Well this is the year 2000,and we will not tolerate your sort either here or in an organisation that is supposed to protect animals from suffering,and they clearly do suffer.This,Mr Waugh,is why pain is high on the agenda.If you actually tried using some of your "superior" brain it might be readily apparent,it is so obvious to me why it is not so readily apparent to you. If the RSPCA is thinking of advocating a vegetarian policy then it has only of late deduced the same thing of those of us who care for creatures discovered long ago.One cannot be a hypocrite.You cannot eat something you claim to protect and care for.The RSPCA would not be being infiltrated by "sentimentalists" Mr Waugh,they would be reaching a natural logical conclusion,buy use of their "superior" brains. It's relatively simple,we are either base beasts or responsible moral beings.If the former,then we are no worse or better and cannot claim any right to utilise animals as we see fit by virtue of being "superior".If the latter then there is an onus upon us to act responsibly and in keeping with a "superior" brain that can figure out what is "right" and what is "wrong". Either way we have no right to go on a killing spree,trying to justify it as a wholly viable activity. I think most people would conclude that they are a something beyond a base beast,and thus we have a moral responsibility to act with fairness and compassion to other creatures as we would expect from and deliver to other human beings. Placed in a cage with a lion I doubt it would care much whether I was pro or anti hunting,and if its responses in attacking me are purely motivated by base instincts,then this might be reason to suppose it "inferior".But that only serves to suggest that any thinking of man's "superiority" may have foundation,and thus incurs moral responsibility upon that basis.You can't have it both ways,either you're morally responsible by being "superior" or you are a base instinct driven apex predator with no feelings and heightened callousness. Going off the activities of the countryside Henry's,one is liable to deduce that they belong in the latter category,if so then there is an onus on the rest of us to protect ourselves from them.Indeed under our laws they claim the right to shoot people to protect material wealth and property,valuing even objects above life.These are the people who are supposed to set our standards and who tell us that their ways are best.Lawbreakers,liars,hypocrites and cheats.The RSPCA is well rid off any such people. If the Prince of Wales actually lived up to his patronage,he'd do better to give up shooting and killing,instead of carping about GM.I am not liable to listen to a hypocrite's concerns about food technology,which may indeed actually turn out to be beneficial. To me hooray Henry's with guns professing that they are on some moral high ground are much scarier than anything that science turns out.Science can be used for good or bad depending on the use.Someone who claims evil acts are good,and tries to justify it represents the worst kind of perniciousness,as do all those who claim the Holocaust never happened. We do not need "little Hitlers" in animal welfare organisations,and just because Miss Egan is one of the reprobate turn-coats whose values now clash with policy,does not mean the RSPCA is wrong in its changes. We keep child molesters out of schools,and murderers out of hospitals,and sex pests out of rape clinics for very good reasons.The RSPCA is only utilising the same reasoning and keeping those who would do harm to animals out of an organisation whose remit is to protect animals.If it did anything else,it would be an absurd organisation. The people who think they understand but actually fail to understand countryside issues are those who have spent so much time isolated from other human beings and other values that they have created a clique mentality equivalent to a commune that has defaulted into a dictatorship.Such a commune thinks it is exempt from the wider community's laws and values. The countryside people think they are smarter and know better about the country just by virtue of living there. If I see someone beating a dog in the town it is just as wrong in the town as in the country, there is no separate "countryside wisdom" that magically renders a contemptious act into one of charity.My values do not revolved around my geographical position.As Richard Dawkins points out with regard to religion,if values vary with geography,they are most liable to be fallacious,since they are probably the by product of social peer pressure, culture,and whimsy instead of actually having any foundation. These are the same people who send their own offspring to boarding kennels and then wonder why those offspring act like dogs when they become adult.They do not listen to social psychologists about the effects and lovelessness produced from having no relationship with one's parents.It is quite sad that these people devolve into such gutter behaviour and then have the audacity to laud it as being the height of etiquette.No doubt somewhere in Debrett's it sanctions killing animals,and if one does not rub blood in someone's face then this will be the cause of social offence. Their social rules or "beliefs" are an anathema to civilised behaviour,and if the Prince of Wales was to gain any credibility among the people of this country for being anything more than a perfunctory vestigial hang-over from a bygone period,the best thing he could do is to follow suit with the organisation that bears his patronage,and move into the new millennium,shedding the "tradition" that is valued so much by these horse-born snobs,and adopting civilised behaviour that would be in keeping with so-called "superior" human beings.-LB


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Sunday Telegraph 14 May 2000 File Info: Created 21/9/2000 Updated 25/1/2008 Page Address: