RSPCA Statement

Today's article in the Daily Mail about the RSPCA is utterly inaccurate.

We are deeply disappointed in the bias in the Mail's article. The journalist was fully aware of the truth and has chosen not to report it, as such the RSPCA is examining the appropriate way forward and we are demanding a right to set the record straight in accordance with the facts.

This is the latest of a number of one-sided and misleading articles following the RSPCA's successful prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt; our application to seek judicial review on the live export of farm animals and the defeat in the House of Commons (by overwhelming majority) of the government's proposed badger cull.

In this current Mail article, the journalist has taken a one sided approach; stooped to personal attacks and replied on the opinions of unnamed sources and those who were not even present when the horrific events described at the port of Ramsgate took place - in which 47 animals died.

Just as we stand by our successful efforts to bring to justice the Heythrop hunt and its members for breaking the criminal law, so the RSPCA also stands by the actions it has taken in our opposition to the proposed badger cull and in drawing attention to the barbaric export of live sheep and calves from Ramsgate - and the actions taken by our inspectors at the port.

We reiterate that Animal Health as the agents of DEFRA was the relevant statutory body in control of these events at the port.

RSPCA Inspectors were present at the explicit request of the Port Authority, Thanet District Council to ensure that animal welfare laws (designed to protect the welfare of the animals) are fully implemented. This was made very clear to the paper but not reported as such.

The Daily Mail also failed to mention that several vets including two Defra vets were supervising the operation on 12 September 2012 and advising Animal Health.

The decisions on the day were being taken by Animal Health, as the competent authority recognised in law, and not by RSPCA inspectors. Again this was made very clear to the journalist but not clearly reported.

Parts of the Daily Mail feature, including comments made about the suitability of the truck used to transport the sheep and the unloading of the sheep, are part of a live criminal  investigation by Kent Trading Standards which could result in charges against a third party. Consequently it would be inappropriate for us to comment to avoid prejudicing their investigation.

The journalist compounds his misrepresentation of the facts in relation to the  membership of the RSPCA. We are honoured to have millions of supporters and donors. Without them, we would not be able to do the vast amount of animal welfare work we do every year.

There are many different types of supporter and charities define them in a number of different ways. For example constitutional members of the RSPCA, who have voting rights and are eligible to be trustees, number around 25,000 while we also have over 60,000 campaigners, over 300,000 facebook supporters and millions of donors.

Support for the RSPCA is growing, not declining.

The RSPCA is proud to speak out for animals who cannot do so for themselves and we will not be distracted from delivering the charitable purpose of the Society both to care for animals in need and to bring to justice those who abuse our fellow creatures.

Blatantly biased articles such as this simply increases our resolve.