MPs recommend RSPCA ‘withdraws from acting as a prosecutor’ in animal welfare cases
This morning Countryside Alliance, Chief Executive, Tim Bonner was on BBC Radio 4 Today programme discussing the report (click here and scroll to 2:38-2:46) and Simon Hart MP, Countryside Alliance Chairman was interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast (here between 2:17-2:24)
The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee report published today (16th November) following an inquiry into the implementation of the Animal Welfare Act recommends:
“That the RSPCA should continue to its important work investigating animal welfare cases and working closely with the police and statutory authorities. It should, however, withdraw from acting as a prosecutor of first resort where there are statutory bodies with a duty to carry out this role. We are not convinced by the arguments that it’s in a better position that the CPS to prosecute on animal welfare cases.”
Chair of the Committee Neil Parish MP said:
“The RSPCA should step back from making prosecutions itself, continuing instead to work closely with the police and prosecution service to protect the welfare of animals.”
Following the publication of report Chief Executive of the Countryside Alliance, Tim Bonner said:
“The Countryside Alliance has consistently argued that the RSPCA’s roles as investigator, political campaigner and fundraiser are incompatible with that of an independent prosecutor. Even if it is making objective prosecuting decisions there will always be questions about its motivation. We are glad that the EFRA committee has supported that view.
“By voluntarily withdrawing from bringing cases against farmers and hunts the RSPCA has already accepted that it does not need to prosecute to protect animal welfare. In Scotland, where the SSPCA does not prosecute, there is no evidence that animal welfare cases are dealt with less effectively than in England and Wales.
“The RSPCA has a vital role in investigating animal cruelty and holding those agencies which have a statutory duty to prosecute welfare offences to account. The evidence put before MPs, however, made it quite clear that there is no justification for the RSPCA continuing with its historic and outdated private prosecution function.
“We hope that the RSPCA will see this report as an opportunity to reform and modernise its role in the best interests of animals and their welfare.”
For more information and to read the report in full click here.