Today the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail broke the news that Government sources are supportive of the position adopted by the EFRA Select Committee in November that the RSPCA should refrain from prosecuting in relation to animal welfare cases:

The Countryside Alliance welcomed the news. Responding to the news, Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, Tim Bonner, said:

“I welcome the news that the Attorney General is supportive of the recommendation made by the EFRA Committee in November.

“We have been making the case for many years that though the RSPCA does a fantastic job in investigating cases of animal cruelty, it should refrain from becoming involved with prosecutions. It cannot be right that an organisation that is involved in political campaigning, fundraising and investigating is also the principal prosecutor. The conflict of interest is currently too obvious and too great.

“There is no reason why local authorities or the CPS cannot take up these cases. The RSPCA’s prosecutions budget is a fraction of the total CPS budget (approximately 1 per cent), therefore surely the CPS is surely best placed to be the prosecutor of first resort.”

Daily Telegraph: “CPS prosecutors can easily handle RSPCA cases, Government sources say in blow to charity”

Daily Mail: “RSPCA may be forced to stop prosecuting in hunting and animal cruelty cases over ‘conflict of interest'”