A Number of Extracts from 'From Dusk til Dawn' on the work of the RSPCA:

So obscene has been the RSPCA’s accumulation of wealth, that by the end of the 1990s it stood at over £100 million and the Charity Commission was forced to step in and tell them to reduce the available booty by over half to £45 million. No wonder animal abusers want control of this—in the right hands, animal welfare would indeed be advanced! The Animal Liberation Movement has missed the boat here. The RSPCA duly complied with its obligations, but rather than spending it directly on animal welfare initiatives like solving the country’s stray animal problem, or for example by promoting the benefits to all of the vegan diet, the Council set about pouring money into wages and office ‘improvements’, including splashing out a staggering £21 million on new office headquarters. They have also spent money extensively to promote animal industries through their Freedom Food range of meat, eggs and dairy products. The justification for this travesty in the words of RSPCA Director General Peter Davies to BBC Watchdog: ‘We have to have intensive farming in this country because of the demand for protein meat products and dairy products. You could not do it from a backyard system—it’s impossible. Freedom Food is one of the most important things we do, in my view.’ Says it all really. But there's more.

RIP Hylyne rabbits

Unfortunately for Edwin and co, the European scene has mushroomed since then and is far from a safe place for animal abusers to do their thing. ‘What about the rabbits?’ was my first question down the phone from prison to a local friend in the know.

‘They’re all safe. The RSPCA have got them for now but we’re working on it.’

I dislike what the RSPCA is and don’t trust those in control to put the well-being of animals first, and nor did she, but I have to say their statement gave us all some comfort. The liquidators had given the RSPCA care of the animals while they sorted financial affairs. If the RSPCA is good for little else and perversely promotes meat eating and vivisection, they would at least ensure the rabbits wouldn’t be subjected to any suffering and certainly wouldn’t be experimented on. Imagine the headlines if they were: ‘600 Bunnies Passed By Nation’s Favourite Animal Charity to Rabbit Dealer for Use in Cruel & Pointless Tests!’ Sadly the headlines didn’t follow the rescued rabbits’ fate because that, staggeringly, is the reality of what actually happened. No one knows their exact fate, or at least no one will say, but a happy ending it wasn’t.

The RSPCA couldn’t afford to do a deal to save the rabbits? Surely a miniscule percentage of the organisation’s vast accumulated wealth could have satisfied the liquidators who only wanted rid of the farm stock? Following the closure announcement there was only silence and apparent disinterest from the RSPCA in the rabbits’ future leading to deep concern at the way they were dealing with the matter, so the ALIU sent a team into Hylyne in July to try and establish what was going on.The ten-strong team swiftly accessed the farm offices, loaded up, and left again before the alarm could be raised. All the rabbits had gone but there were plenty of documents to be had—which were copied and returned—including six months of invoices for the sale of rabbits. The trade with vivisectors included not just live rabbits but also their heads and even ear mites, which were ordered by a pesticide and rodenticide manufacturer in Cheshire. Large recent customers included Liverpool and other universities, and dozens of laboratories and commercial companies were found to have received rabbits, their heads, or ear mites, and orders showed that deals for laboratory rabbits were still being done three weeks after Hylyne went into liquidation and while the RSPCA were looking after the rabbits. It was devastating news. No longer shocking but still hard to comprehend. How could they?

The RSPCA go one step further to baffle and bewilder, by promoting their Freedom Food animal products, which, they say: ‘Improve the lives of as many farm animals as possible’—animals that are living short, miserable lives and are dying a brutal death. You can help by choosing the recipe of your desire from their Freedom Food Celebrity Recipe collection which is packed full of disgusting meal ideas for your animal friends to become. As one P.D.N. Earle, President of The Country Gentleman’s Association rightly said: ‘Instead of turning into a wholesale slaughtering organisation, it would be better if the RSPCA took the more positive line of preventing over breeding … the RSPCA also has been totally ineffective against the ever increasing scandal of vivisection and experiments of doubtful validity on animals…’

An RSPCA inspector had previously visited the farm and found nothing wrong, while animal rights activists were on site covertly monitoring. MAFF officials had made routine visits and found nothing that bothered them either. You would have to be asleep to do this! It was only after video evidence was personally delivered to RSPCA headquarters that someone there finally acted, but it was too little and too late.

Finally moved to act, an RSPCA inspection team visited Crow Hill Farm, with the police in November 1997. Equipped with nine hours of footage filmed covertly by Respect for Animals over a 19-month period, they were availed of every detail they needed to facilitate their tour of the 4000 cages in the numerous sheds. They had the exact location of cages with dead bodies, the injured and mutilated mink and of the overcrowded cages containing up to seven fully-grown mink, which were meant to hold two or three animals. Post-mortem reports from dead animals taken during the investigation revealed their awful suffering. One caged mink had a bare bone for a back leg, the result of a fight. Another taken for post-mortem had nothing but sawdust in its stomach. Others had died from untreated severe injuries. The RSPCA took more bodies for post-mortem examination and killed off the more seriously injured animals. Intriguingly, a break-in occurred at the veterinary surgery where the corpses were being stored over the Xmas holiday and a number of them were stolen, the evidence thus removed. Nothing else was taken. Who on earth would have wanted to do that?

It was all there in black and white for the officials to sort out. They had, of course, each been at Crow Hill Farm before to inspect the conditions about which so many had complained, but somehow, each time, they’d missed the endless trail of horrors they were looking for. How is this possible? Even a cursory look at the footage or the farm itself would tell a moron that things were far from ‘acceptable’, or even legal, but it took the animal liberators to expose what the RSPCA and government inspectors had failed to see. Or maybe just refused to see. This could not be passed off as incompetence or an accident

The many millions of pounds, which the RSPCA has persuaded people to give to the charity appears to have achieved little in the war against the fur trade or anything else, for that matter. Indeed, so twisted is the thinking among the RSPCA ruling ranks, that in 1992, it put its seal of approval to the distribution of its Freedom Food range of animal organs and flesh through supermarkets and butchers shops. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) is selling the bodies of cruelly slaughtered, factory-farmed animals reared in secret locations under what they term ‘strict welfare criteria.’ In reality, these criteria are indistinguishable from those already causing millions of animals to suffer horribly in factory farms and slaughterhouses everywhere. I’ve been inside some of their approved farms and they are nothing short of disgusting. So fearful of exposure are the RSPCA that their approved farms are kept a closely guarded secret.

Further, according to records revealed in the May 1985 issue of Time Out magazine, the RSPCA had money in excess of £8,000,000 invested in such companies as ICI, Beechams (now GlaxoSmithKline), BP, Fisons, Glaxo, Unilever and Boots—all of them relentless users of animals in laboratory tests. And the double standards did not end there, for equally shocking was the fact that there were pro-vivisection Research Defence Society members on the RSPCA National Council and its Animal Experimentation Advisory Committee! (There is more to come from the RSPCA within these pages, and sadly, little of it is constructive: it’s a big, potentially powerful organisation with little to show for a lot of advertising and expenditure except 150 years’ worth of fine words and a thriving meat business).

From 1980 until a successful conclusion 2 ½ years later, one of the most significant campaigns of the era was waged on the Club Row animal market in London. When approached by campaigners seeking action to curb the cruelty and neglect for which the place was notorious, this Victorian attraction was described by the likes of the RSPCA and MPs to be ‘An immovable object of British heritage’ which was ‘Regularly inspected’ and was ‘Operating within the law’. The usual drivel. The reality was that the market was a magnet for animal abusers and as close as an animal comes to hell for those on sale—the equivalent of a school playground for paedophiles. Shivering, pathetic, terrified animals would be taken from stinking, rusty cages piled in side streets and shoved into the back of vans belonging to anyone with money; since vivisectors like a steady supply for their pleasure, they were of course regular customers of the market, to the absolute horror of local animal campaigners. Protest marches attracted the largest number of animal-friendly demonstrators gathered together in London since the beginning of the century. There were pickets, acts of civil disobedience causing disruption, lobbying of councillors, MPs and other officials, and various irritating acts of sabotage.

The ALF has few friends in the higher ranks of the RSPCA either, but then, nor do the animals. In the mid-1980s, during a period of high profile fur farm raids, in which many animals were liberated, the RSPCA placed adverts in national newspapers. Showing a staged, sinister-looking image of a balaclava’d individual cutting a fur farm fence with a pair of bolt cutters, the ad shamelessly appealed to the public for more money beneath a headline, which read:

Our Supporters Prefer To Use A Pair Of Scissors: Cutting the coupon and sending a donation achieves far more in the end than cutting wire fences.

Local residents armed and protected themselves; they were warned to be vigilant. Some kept themselves and their children indoors as the murderous mink ‘rampaged’ across the Hampshire countryside, as you might envisage a swarm of locusts, devouring everything in their path. One woman reportedly barricaded herself in and blocked up the chimney. It would be funny if it weren’t quite so serious. For the hated mink: small, cute, furry meat-eaters, who are far less scary and dangerous in the real world than the big unattractive hairy ones that keep animals in cages, even the RSPCA were rounding them up. Even! Given their track record, this should have come as no surprise.

So, back into the filthy, stinking hole the captured mink went with the RSPCA inspectors. Back to where animals had been dying of septicaemia from huge open untreated wounds, where live animals existed alongside dead ones, displayed stereotypical behaviour, had limbs missing and broken. Crow Hill Farm was a wretched factory farm festering with the living, the dead and the dying mink packed into cages with maggots, flies and shit everywhere and the most unbearable stench in the air.

Was it possible we were going to be given control of the future of the 2-300 animals still inside Shamrock? That would be awesome!

We had discussed the possibility of this happening long ago but were aware that most of the Shamrock monkeys were shipped in to order, so actually already belonged to the likes of Oxford and Manchester University and HLS, not to Shamrock itself. The likelihood, of course, would be that the RSPCA would be called in if there were any surplus to requirements and with us being accused of bombing Shamrock into submission it was unlikely they would want to be seen to be cooperating with us. Despite what was a monumental victory, the mood was soured with concern for the animals left behind.

Whilst at the farm, I spoke to the RSPCA to find out what their involvement might be. They weren’t that interested and told me ‘We aren’t getting involved whatsoever,’ which was as much help as we could expect and maybe even a good thing after what happened at Hylyne.

But it wasn’t all over quite yet. With one eye on Shamrock and while we were planning our next move, all kinds of interesting details began to emerge. In March, the RSPCA wanted nothing whatsoever to do with Shamrock Farm or the animals inside, but by April they had employed as their Assistant Chief Veterinary Officer, a man called Paul West who had been Shamrock’s main man at the time of the undercover investigation in 1991/2. This was a man who for eight years had been responsible for supplying monkeys to vivisection, a man in charge of a system of widespread abuse, neglect and cruelty, whose tenure was condemned even by a Government report as inappropriate, insensitive and incompetent. This was the man who on the film jokes as he yanks the fur from the legs and arms of a terrified monkey, before slapping her to locate a vein and shoving in a needle in excess of 200 times to try and draw blood.

A man who sent monkeys for torture, complicit in the collapse of wild monkey populations, was being promoted as second-in-command in the veterinary department of the country’s largest animal welfare charity! What on Earth is going on there? Such news doesn’t really come as a shock, but it caused some serious swearing!

Somehow, we were at loggerheads again with the RSPCA! They knew precisely what Paul West was long before we put out a press release telling everyone who wanted to listen. This was latched onto by the national media and as a result of the adverse publicity, the RSPCA ‘invited’ him to resign.


Related Articles:

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freedom foods exposed watch
help the rspca is shit read
dog killer slapped on the wrist 4/3/10 read
sack the rspca 8/11/09 read
nurse imprisoned for dog rescue 25/7/08 read

From Dusk 'til Dawn
An Insider's View of the Growth of the Animal Liberation Movement

© Keith Mann