In its ‘RSPCA policies on animal welfare’ it states under its Objects of the RSPCA that ‘The charitable objects of the RSPCA are to promote kindness and to prevent or suppress cruelty to animals

The RSPCA’s vision is, ‘To work for a world in which all humans respect and live in harmony with all other members of the animal kingdom

Under its Mission Statement, the RSPCA declares ‘The RSPCA as a charity will, by all lawful means, prevent cruelty, promote kindness to and alleviate suffering.’

And under their General Principles, the RSPCA states ‘The general principles on which the RSPCA operates, derived from extensive scientific evidence, is based on the fact that vertebrates and some invertebrates are sentient, and can feel pain and distress.’

What happened to all those honorable and admirable objects, visions, statements and principles when RSPCA inspectors arrived at an address in South Wales and proceeded to slaughter ten German Shepherd dogs with a captive bolt?

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Squirrel killer issues RSPCA prosecution challenge

A MORPETH wildlife campaigner has drowned a grey squirrel in a challenge to the RSPCA to prosecute him.
Norris Atthey, Chairman of Morpeth Red Squirrels, killed the creature last week as part of his grey culling activities.

His actions were meant as a direct challenge to the animal charity following its prosecution of Raymond Elliott at Burton Magistrates Court last month for causing unnecessary suffering to an animal after he drowned a grey squirrel in a water butt.

Elliott, who admitted the charge, was given a conditional discharge and ordered to pay £1,547 costs.

However, the matter is believed to be going to appeal.

Mr Atthey, who thinks grey squirrels should be killed to ensure the survival of Northumberland's red species, said he was incensed by the prosecution and set out to show that drowning was a humane method of culling.

He said the death of the squirrel in the greater Morpeth area last Wednesday was over in seconds, quicker than his usual method of shooting them, and minimal distress was caused to the animal.

"I submerged this grey squirrel for a few seconds in the water and it was dead within 30 seconds," he said.

"Of approximately 250 greys that I have killed, that has been the quickest method. Normally it can take one to three minutes.

"The usual method is shooting them. Ninety per cent have been one-off shots, but it is still possible that you might miss or not kill it properly.

"Another method is to transfer a grey into a hessian sack and hit it with a club. I think that is absolutely brutal so I don't use it."

However, Mr Atthey said he will wait to see if any legal action is taken against him before drowning another squirrel.

"This drowning was a one-off. I'm trying to prove a point. This is to test the RSPCA, it is a challenge. I can demonstrate the trapping procedures if it goes to court," he said.

"This was humane and this grey squirrel was not under stress. What I have done is better because it was quicker so it has to be more humane.

"I believe that under the Wild Mammals (Protection) Act, drowning a grey squirrel is legal as long as it is done quickly as part of pest control. What I am doing is pest control."

The RSPCA refused to comment on the incident due to the ongoing legal case in Burton.

A factsheet on grey squirrels from the charity says killing them should only be considered as a last resort if there is a serious problem and alternative means of control are ineffective or impractical.

It warns that killing is unlikely to be a long-term solution and that it is an offence if any unnecessary suffering is caused to captured animals.

Natural England advises that grey squirrels can be run into a sack and killed by a sharp blow to the head, or shot in a cage, but trapped squirrels should not be drowned as it is considered inhumane.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, it is illegal to release grey squirrels or allow them to escape into the wild.

A Natural England spokesman said: "The Animal Welfare Act 2006 protects 'animals under the control of man' and so squirrels in traps or cages would be covered.

"This Act prohibits causing unnecessary suffering to such animals.

"It would be for the courts to decide whether the method of killing, be it drowning or any other method, caused any suffering and if so if this was unnecessary or not in any particular case brought before them."

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