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Campaigners slam statistics

A CAMPAIGN group have slammed the RSPCA’s cruelty statistics and many of the claims made in their report The state of animal welfare in the UK 2005.

Anne Kasica of the Self Help Group for farmers, pet owners and others experiencing difficulties with the RSPCA (SHG) commented: "The RSPCA claims that cruelty figures have risen. Their own figures for the past ten years show that cruelty convictions are actually lower now than in 1995.

Over the past decade the figures peaked around the turn of the century and then steadily declined.

"We can only see one independent measure of the state of animal welfare in the UK, and that is the number of successful prosecutions brought by an independent prosecutor who has no political agenda.

"The RSPCA appear to be attempting to find a way to get themselves into positions of power within both companies and government departments. Who is the ‘welfare representative’ they have in mind? Someone from the RSPCA? In that scenario it would be even more important to have a representative from an organisation such as the SHG present to represent the Human Rights position in order to protect people and their animals when the Animal Welfare position is proposed and considered.

"On page 18 of their report, it would seem that the RSPCA agrees with our figures and the fact that they been falling for the past 5 years with a sudden small increase last year. Note that they only show the convictions and defendants for 2004 and 2005 – they apparently did not want to show the drops in the previous years! It would be interesting to have access to the raw data and to see if the change in the method of recording the figures actually hide a continuing decline. Note that the number of cases investigated is somewhat irrelevant if those increasing numbers did not translate into a proportionate rise in successful prosecutions."

The SHG go on to query the RSPCA’s views on the microchipping of animals in their care, saying that many people have concerns as to the safety of microchips and the use to which the data will be put.

Anne Kasica adds: "The number of unwanted animals coming into the care of the RSPCA is not a good measure because one of the main complaints that people who call the helpline have is that the RSPCA put great pressure on them to sign their animals over to the RSPCA. The number of unwanted animals killed is also a difficult number to equate with welfare because people may find themselves out of a job and unable to pay for their animals continuing care.

"The other factor which has not been taken into account is the high cost of purchasing an animal from the RSPCA. This has to be compared with the much lower costs for other sources of the same animal and inevitably leads to people preferring to pay less."

SHG website: