A number of animal rights extremists have secured election to the RSPCA’s Governing Council: Annual General Meeting . RSPCA members voted on who should fill 5 vacant positions on the charity’s 25 member governing council. The results of the membership ballot were announced last Saturday (24th June). Over the past few years the RSPCA’s membership base is believed to have fallen to under 20,000 and it’s thought that only a few hundred members voted in the elections. The Charity has been beset with difficulties over the past few weeks with news that its Chief Executive Jeremy Cooper has resigned, meaning that the Charity has now gone through 3 Chief Executive’s in the past 5 years. Yesterday the Charity announced the appointment of a new Interim Chief Executive: Change of chiefs at RSPCA as leader quits after a year

Questions have also been raised about the Chairwoman, Ms Daphne Harris, whose daughter Katie Toms appears to have lived rent free in a desirable property in rural Kent that has been funded by the RSPCA: What’s gone wrong with the RSPCA? How a cherished charity which symbolised Britain’s love for animals has been hijacked by zealots who care more about pets than humans (and has now lost its third chief in five years)

The Countryside Alliance has raised concerns about some of the individuals who have been elected to the council. Mr David Thomas, who has just been elected to the council and has previously served on the council, is also a member of the animal rights group Animal Aid and has acted as their legal representative on a number of occasions. Animal Aid’s Campaigns Director, Luke Steele, has a criminal record for harassment linked to his attempts to promote the organisations aims: Luke Steele in police custody following arrest in Leeds , The animal rights ‘lone wolf’ feared by the ferry firms . Another one of their employees, Kate Fowler, has also received a criminal conviction. One of the questions put to Mr Thomas in the hand book sent out to members along with the voting ballot was, “Do you confirm that you are not nor have been within the last three years involved with any organisation that condones or carries out illegal acts to further the welfare of animals (or other cause) and that you condemn such illegal acts?”, Mr Thomas replied in the affirmative. Mr Thomas was proposed by the prominent animal rights extremist, Dr Richard Ryder. Dr Ryder is referred to by many as the “founding father of the animal rights movement” and also coined the term, “speciesism” which is effectively what he regards as discrimination against ‘non-human animals’. Dr Ryder also seconded another successful candidate, Joseph Piccioni. Mr Piccioni is seen as being the driving force behind the RSPCA’s decision to call for Crufts to be boycotted.

Commenting on the case of Mr Thomas, Chief Executive at the Alliance, Tim Bonner, said:

“The CV that Mr Thomas presented to RSPCA members makes clear that he is an Animal Aid member and has also served as their legal representative. Due to the fact that a number of Animal Aid employees have carried out illegal acts over the past few years and remain employed, it’s wrong that he claims to have not been involved with an organisation, over the past three years, that “condones or carries out illegal acts to further the welfare of animals”. If Animal Aid didn’t condone such illegal acts then the individuals in question wouldn’t still be employed.

“The fact that Mr Thomas was proposed by Richard Ryder says it all. Yet more evidence that the RSPCA has been taken over by a close knit clique of animal rights extremists.”

Mr Thomas was embroiled in controversy over a decade ago whilst serving on the RSPCA governing council. As the chair of the selection panel for a new Chief Executive, Mr Thomas came under fire for a potential conflict of interest: Lawyers called in over selection of new RSPCA chief . He was accused of aggressively lobbying for the then Chief Executive of the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection (BUAV), Michelle Thew, to be appointed. Whilst serving as panel chairman Mr Thomas was allegedly working as a solicitor and legal consultant for the BUAV.

The scandal hit Chair of the governing council, Ms Daphne Harris, proposed 2 of the 7 candidates standing for the council, seconded 1 and has supported the nomination of 2 others by providing a signature (4/5 candidates supported by Ms Harris were successful). Where Ms Harris and Dr Ryder didn’t propose candidates, Mrs Peta Watson-Smith did. Mrs Watson-Smith is another scandal hit animal rights extremist who was slammed by Jewish groups two years ago for comparing farming to the holocaust: Vegan who said farming is like the Holocaust elected as top new RSPCA official prompting fears charity could alienate its supporters . The two unsuccessful candidates, Mr George Hammett and Mrs Christina Tomlinson were seen as being more moderate in their views.

Alliance Chief Executive Tim Bonner said:

“As is so often the case when it comes to elections to the RSPCA’s governing board, the same extremists appear to be wielding all the influence. It’s hardly surprising that their former Chief Executive ran a mile.”