Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals by KuxlGOk


									Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to

                  Quinn Robinson

                     AnS 495

                 Background Report
       When Americans think of animal welfare organizations, PETA or Humane
Society of the United States may come to mind. However, overseas there is an
association that has been in place for over 150 years and has saved countless animals.
Being one of oldest animal welfare organizations, the Royal Society for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) has been the predecessor to other associations like the
Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and the American Society for
the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
       It started in 1824 by a few people led by Reverend Arthur Broome, William
Wilberforce, and Richard Martin or “Humanity Dick”. The RSPCA began at an old
coffee shop in London and now has grown to thousands of members. But this
organization didn’t immediately start with the Royal label. It wasn’t until 1840 when
Queen Victoria allowed the SPCA to add the “Royal” prefix that is seen in the name
today. The RSPCA has not only grown since the 1800’s but has also adapted to the
new challenges that are presented with every year.
       Originally, horses were one of the RSPCA’s main animals that were supported.
These animals had a very tough life where they were often half starved and abused as
coach horses or used in horrible conditions as “pit ponies” working in coal mines. The
organization was pivotal in enforcing laws like Martin’s Act of 1822 that was passed two
years before but hadn’t been effective until the RSPCA was formed. This law helped
ease the suffering of many types of production animals like horses and cattle but soon
there were other types of animals that would be added to the organization’s focus.
        Years later in 1919, the RSPCA helped to pass a law that restricted the use of
the plumage of several different birds because of the vast amount of the birds that were
killed simply for their feathers. This plumage was used in fashion during this time and
was in very high demand but the RSPCA was still able to accomplish this goal. Through
the years, the RSPCA continued to support animal welfare and did so even during times
of war. During the Great War or World War I, the RSPCA raised money to buy
veterinary supplies for the horses that were on the front lines. This act of kindness
aided the troops who relied on them and some high ranking commanders even thanked
the RSPCA for their help after the war.
      Recently, the RSPCA was integral in helping pass the Animal Welfare Act of
2006 which replaced the Protection of Animals Act of 1911. The older law was very
much out of date and didn’t address the concerns many people see today. Now,
animals can taken away before they are put in a situation where there needs are not
met before the cruelty or neglect can take place. It also makes it a legal duty of the
owner to provide basic needs of the animal or they could be punished by law.
Currently, the RSPCA is attempting to add legislation that will focus on circus and lab
        The RSPCA headquarters can be found in Horsham, West Sussex which is
South of London. Additionally, it has 169 branches all over England and Wales where
some employees and an immense amount of volunteers work. The RSPCA’s
leadership is made up of several vice-presidents and a council. The council is made up
of trustees who volunteer and therefore do not receive compensation for their services.
These council members have a three year term and are voted into the position by the
members of the organization.
       According to the website for the RSPCA, the council is the primary source for
leadership and is in charge of making sure the funds are being used properly and for
the greatest good. The council members are currently Kathryn Airey, Robert Baylis,
Kay Bluett , John Bryant, David Canavan, Ted Dowling, Paul Draycott, Barbara
Gardner, Sally Hyman, Ray Ings, Ken Instone, David Mawson, Sally Phillips, Richard D
Ryder, Patricia Slinn, Jill Thompson, Christina Tomlinson, Jane Tredgett, Elly Unmack,
and Angela Walder. In the council, they select four executive positions that each
consist of a one year term. The chairman, vice-chairman, treasurer, and deputy-
treasurer are Daphne Harris, Michael Tomlinson, Margaret Baker, and Tim Bray
       The numerous vice-presidents are appointed by the council and are chosen
because of their passion for the prevention of cruelty to animals. There are seventeen
of them and they are Norman Baker, Ian Cawsey, Angela Cope, The Baroness Fookes
of Plymouth, Jill, Duchess of Hamilton, Bill Jordan, Lou Leather, Caroline Lucas, Sir
Patrick Moore, Sheila Parness, Julian Richer, Peter Singer, Sir Colin Spedding, Dominic
Walker, Ann Widdecombe, and Elliot Morley. These people also seem to be chosen
because they can use their influence to spread the ideals of animal welfare. Therefore,
they usually have a position of social influence. Additionally, there is a vice patron who
is the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Royal Patron who was originally Queen Victoria
but now is her majesty Queen Elizabeth II. These positions seem to be simply
ceremonial position and don’t have much to do with the daily affairs of the organization.
        But before someone can become a leader in the RSPCA they must be a
member. There are several ways for someone to become a part of this organization
such as being a joint member, being a friend of the member or just becoming a
standard member. To become a member one must be interested in helping suffering
animals, be 18 or older, cannot pursue other goals using the RSPCA’s resources and of
course pay a small fee of 24 GBP a year or 750 GBP for life. Joining as a joint member
with a spouse lowers the cost to 36 GBP per year and 1000 GBP for life but you have to
live with your partner and will usually only receive one of the perks. Also, you must live
at the same address to receive the joint membership. To be a friend of a member, you
must know someone that has a membership and become their friend with the RSCPA.
There is a small fee of 3 GBP a month but you can receive many of the same perks as
the members but cannot run for a council member position. With many of the
memberships, the members receive a few small things like a member pin, newsletter,
and magazine but voting ability and council member eligibility are the main perks to
having a membership with the RSPCA. These are the main ways to become a member
of the organization but there are many other ways to become involved. For example,
there are junior memberships and the Animal Action Club for people under 18 years of
      Also, they have many opportunities for people wanting to volunteer. Whether
you are a person who wants to physically work with the animals or just want to have a
secretarial duty, RSPCA will gladly take any help you can give. Anyone can volunteer
and it is easy to do so. Simply contact your local branch and they will help you find a
job that fits your skills.
       The mission of the RSPCA is short and simple but at the same time appeals to
same ideals of which the organization began. Here is the mission statement as seen on
the website: “The RSPCA as a charity will, by all lawful means, prevent cruelty,
promote kindness to and alleviate suffering of all animals.” Preventing cruelty and
promoting kindness to animals has always been a goal of this group and has continued
into the 21st century. But it also has a mark of adaptation to the modern era. The end
of the statement includes “…all animals” as opposed to the focus of the RSPCA of the
early 1800’s that included only production animals.
        The RSPCA is largely funded by donations from individuals but also gets some
money from different funds or trusts. Therefore, they rely on the people and their
support to continue preventing injustices from occurring with animals. The RSPCA has
several methods to receive funding from the public like charity shops, RSCPA weekly
lottery, TV/radio appeals, and even door to door fundraising. Through all of these
modes of collecting money, the RSPCA is able to operate its very large budget.
       In 2008, the RSPCA reported an income of 119,926,000 GBP and operated on
about 114,090,000 GBP. However, this year there have been a few events that cost the
RSPCA more money than a normal year. For example, recently they sent supplies and
funds to Haiti to help the animals left homeless and dying after the earthquake. But the
organization is known as being one of the wealthiest charities in the UK and has a lot of
money saved for difficult times or other disasters. The RSPCA uses these funds for
many things like paying employees, fundraising, lobbying, prosecuting offenders and
education among many other uses. According the website, only about 10% of every
GBP donated is used for governance, fundraising, and administration combined.
Therefore, the rest is spent on the many projects, operations, and programs that the
RSPCA has in place to prevent animal abuse and cruelty. However, 10% of their
annual income of almost 120 million GBP is not a small amount of money and is more
than enough for the administrative costs.
       Although the RSPCA has done many great things over the years, there are still
controversies affecting the public’s opinion of the organization. For example, the
Scottish version of the RSPCA that was formed a little after its British sister has recently
been in a “turf” battle with the RSPCA. The SSPCA accuses the RSPCA of collecting
money from the Scottish area without mentioning that it only spends the money in the
England/Wales region. Therefore, if true, the RSPCA has been taking funds away from
a smaller charity as well as hurting animals in the Scottish region that desperately need
the aid.
       The RSPCA has also run into trouble with cultural aspects of animal welfare.
There was an incident where a sacred 13-year-old cow was euthanized to ease its
suffering. The Hindu community was furious that the RSPCA “murdered” the animal.
They said the animal was recovering and the RSPCA trespassed onto the property to
euthanize their sacred animal. The RSPCA refuted this charge by claiming that a
veterinary surgeon had alerted them about the animal and the suffering of the cow was
confirmed by two independent veterinarians. Later, the RSPCA apologized for
euthanizing the animal and had to donate another cow to reconcile with the very angry
Hindu community that hold all life sacred.
       But these little discrepancies should not taint the years and years of great things
the RSPCA has done for the world. Whether it is saving a cat from an abusive home or
sending aid to Haiti, this organization never finds a cause too big or too small. The
RSPCA has been helping animals for over 150 years and will continue to save
creatures in need for years to come.

Michigan State University College of Law. 2010. Animal Legal and Historical Center:
      The History of the RSPCA.
      /arukrspcahist.htm Accessed March 24, 2010.

Pigott, R. 2008. RSPCA sorry for killing sacred cow.
        2/hi/uk_news/7780665.stm Accessed March 28, 2010.

Reid, M. 2009. RSPCA accused of dirty tricks in Scotland. Accessed
      March 28, 2010.

RSCPA. 2010. RSPCA in Action: About us.
    Accessed March 24, 2010.

United Kingdom GuideStar. 2008. Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
      Accessed March 29, 2010.

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