Coffee House

The RSPCA’s private prosecutions, and the cost to the public purse

29 December 2012

In this week’s Spectator, Melissa Kite spends the day with the Heythrop Hunt – David Cameron’s local hunt, and a hunt that has recently been fined £4,000 for hunting outside of the law. Much has already been written about the ‘staggering’ amount of money which the RSPCA chose to spend on the case, and the lengths to which the RSPCA have gone to mount the prosecution.

The two huntsmen charged pleaded guilty to four charges of breaching the Hunting Act and, as Melissa writes:

‘The RSPCA initially laid summonses for 52 separate allegations and the trial had been set to take 30 days of court time spread over three months. Defence costs could have run into six figures, so it is little wonder the defendants pleaded guilty.’

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But this isn’t the first time the RSPCA and similar groups have attempted to prosecute the Heythrop Hunt.  In 2008, 4 charges were brought against one of the huntsmen but the prosecution failed. In 2011, the RSPCA brought another 2 charges against the same huntsman, but once again the prosecution failed, and they dropped the charges in August 2012. In a normal situation, one might expect the organisation who decided to bring about a private prosecution – in this case the RSPCA – to pay the costs of the prosecution, as often happens when the CPS loses cases. But the court decided that the costs should be paid for from the public purse, meaning that the taxpayer is paying for the RSPCA’s failed prosecution.

Much has been made about the RSPCA’s decision to spend money given to them in order to improve animal welfare on a politically motivated prosecution which cost the charity £330,000. But if RSPCA supporters don’t like how the charity is spending their money, they can always vote with their feet and donate elsewhere. Unfortunately, the taxpayer doesn’t have that option.

And now that the RSPCA have finally won a prosecution, it sounds as if they might have the bit well and truly between their teeth when it comes to private prosecutions. Last weekend, The Sunday Times ran an interview with the chairman of the RSPCA, Gavin Grant, in which he said that in his opinion, people caught hunting illegally should be jailed for ‘two years? Five years?’

In June of this year, Simon Hart – one of the MPs who last week reported the RSPCA to the Charity Commission over ‘concerns about the motivation for bringing this prosecution’ – asked the Ministry of Justice how much money from public funds had been spent covering the cost of failed RSPCA prosecutions.  The Ministry said that they didn’t hold the answer, but whatever that number may be, given Mr Grant’s attitude, it doesn’t seem likely that the figure will be decreasing anytime soon.

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Show comments
  • Patricia Marshall

    The prosecution did not fail The two men were found guilty, and you don’t tell the whole story. The RSPCA have a very good success rate for cruelty prosecutions. The CPS success rate is 68%. The RSPCA have a success rate of 98%. The costs were so high because the accused prevaricated and ducked and dived until late in the day when they eventually admitted they were guilty. This forced the RSPCA to prosecute almost to the last minute. Simon Hart is first and foremost a blood sport enthusiast and he, like many others, will do all he can to get the hunting Act repealed. The Charity Commission said the RSPCA had no case to answer, so then Mr Hart went after the CC. When that failed he called a debate in Parliament. He didn’t succeed there either. It is really strange that none of the hunt supporters bat an eyelid at the other prosecutions brought by the RSPCA. Spindles farm cost almost a million, and the RSPCA were praised after that case was won in Court. Perhaps the hunting fraternity just want cruelty prosecutions as long as its not about them. Fox hunting is despicable animal abuse and it is illegal. If those who abuse animals for fun just obeyed the Law, it wouldn’t cost anyone anything. So lets lay the blame squarely where it belongs, that is, on those who like to kill British mammals as a fun day out.

  • Auntiecon

    Has anybody any idea how much of taxpayers’ money the Countryside Alliance has wasted in trying to get the Hunting Act repealed? Massive cases in the Appeal Court, the Lords and the European Court of HuMan Rights. Literally millions and you lot complain? Do your homework before you criticise and demonise the RSPCA.

  • Jo

    I intend upping my contribution to the RSPCA. They have done what they are there for – attempt to curb cruelty. If you drink drive you should be prosecuted. If you steal you should be prosecuted. If you break the hunting ban you should be prosecuted. A minority may favour drink driving. A minority may favour stealing. A minority favour hunting. Wake up. It’s over – banished to the middle ages mentality where it belongs. Most of us have moved on. Cameron knows he would be an idiot to resurrect this. It’s a total one issue vote loser.

  • Framer

    Cheaper than convicting 150,000 p.a. of evading paying the BBC licence fee (2011 figure).

  • Denise Ⓥ Friend

    I am sure like me, most people want to see hunts that carry on killing wild animals, regardless of the hunting ban prosecuted. I totally agree with Gavin Grant, anyone caught hunting with hounds should go to jail. These people are not above the law!

    • Coffeehousewall

      No, Denise. I am not sure that most people do want to see this at all. Nor do I agree with Gavin. And if the law is politically motivated and based on patently false premises then I do not believe it should be considered very onerous.

  • Guest

    I am sure like me, most people want to see hunts that carry on killing wild animals regardless off the hunting ban prosecuted. I totally agree with Gavin Grant, anyone caught hunting with hounds should go to jail. These people are not above the law!

  • sunnydayrider

    If Ms. Swift had written an article questioning why the RSPCA was forced to prosecute these people and the police were not it would have more relevance. These people BROKE THE LAW! No different to mugging an old lady or shoplifting, wether you like it or not, (and I don’t care) hunting with dogs is illegal. The huge cost of the case illustrates one thing though, the lop sided access to justice in the UK. Good job super-injunctions aren’t flavour of the month any more or we wouldn’t have heard about it in the first place.

  • Geoff Clegg

    Was it Oscar Wilde’s who said “The unspeakable in pursuit of the uneatable”? Still rings loud in my ears.

  • Rhona Light

    The Hunt broke the law. The RSPCA have remit to prosecute in such cases. I believe that the Hunt deliberately did not defend the case with any vigour because the evidence was overwhelming. The RSPCA have sent out a clear message. Whatever your view every public opinion poll has shown that the majority do not support hunting with hounds. This is called democracy. Respect it.
    I respect people’s right to give to non-political animal charities. Many people however give to the RSPCA fully aware and supporting their lobbying activities eg. on live export of animals and prosecution role. For them the prosecution of the hunt is not a waste of charity donations.

  • michael

    Why no prosecutions? C’mon, it cant be that hard to release a fox within the vicinity of a pack baying hounds and film the results. Although I do appreciate that it is neither as sedentary nor as touchy-feely as tree hugging.

  • William Blakes Ghost

    Its one thing for them to waste their donors money in ensuring foxes are shot rather than hunted but a wholly different matter for them to parasite themselves of the taxpayer to do so. Boycott the RSPCA until they stop wasting taxpayers money!

    Oh and that judge who said public money should be used should be thrown off the bench. Freakin idiot!

    • Bishop Hill

      The judge should be named and shamed.

    • Rue de la Loi

      Since the Prime Minister courted support at the last election by promising to try to repeal the Hunting Act, the least he can do is instruct the Attorney-General to take the costs issue further; there is absolutely no reason at all why the taxpayer should have to pay the ludicrously over the top costs incurred by the RSPCA. Those costs will I suspect be subject to a savage reduction when assessed for “taxation” (determination of how much should actually be paid) but nevrethelss, this will be a significant cost for the taxpayer unless the costs order is overturned on appeal.

  • Dorset Cat Carer

    There are numerous small LOCAL charities looking after the welfare of animals and not wasting their money on political stunts. We contribute to Feral Cat Care/Elderly Cat care in Dorset. ALL money is spent on rescuing/looking after cats without a home. Registered Charity Number 1058892

  • auth0r

    My wife cancelled her monthly direct debit to RSPCA the day that this news story came out.

    • Paul Hughes

      Remind her of this when she bemoans the next local news story concerning some
      chav who sets his pitbull on a kitten. There’s a long history of cruelty to animals in his country. Dressing it up in a nice coat and calling it tradition doesn’t render it any more acceptable.

      • Fergus Pickering

        Yes it does. Much more acceptable. And it IS a tradition.

        • Julian F

          It’s still against the law, and law-breakers should be punished. It might be argued that FGM is a tradition in some nations: doesn’t make it right.

          • Coffeehousewall

            But Female Genital Mutilation is NOT prosecuted and is a great deal more offensive and abusive than anything it seems that Jimmy Savile has presently been accused of. 10,000 young girls in the UK will be brutally tortured in this way every year, and no-one will be prosecuted.

            I’d rather THAT was dealt with than hunting with hounds, or abuse on Twitter. But it won’t be of course. Since the application of the law is politically motivated it is right to resist the politically motivated focus on hunting with hounds since it has little to do with justice nor does it rank highly in the table of that which is most iniquitous.

            • Denise Ⓥ Friend

              Why don’t you start a campaign coffeehousewall instead of moaning about an organisation that IS doing something.

              • Coffeehousewall

                Would you support such a campaign or are you only interested in animals?

            • Patricia Marshall

              Really? Why not deal with both? Or are you suggesting the RSPCA spend their money on female castration cases instead? All cruelty is bad and all cruelty should be prosecuted and punished

          • Screaming Orchid

            it’s not the RSPCA’s fault that it costs so much to prosecute, you should be angry at the people who encourage foxes to breed so that they can hunt them, not an organisation which can only prevent cruelty by bringing them to legal accountability.

        • toni

          @Fergus P.
          So was (is) badger baiting.
          Another countryside tradition.

          Dig them out, beat them half to death, pull out their teeth, then let the dogs at them.

          • ButcombeMan

            Badgers are most expeditiously controlled (I am told) by filling the set from the slurry tanker, when the young are in there. Baiting, even before the ban, was pretty rare and almost a bit of a myth

            The preservation of a huge oversized population of badgers has almost done away with the hedghog and caused even more overall cruelty to many badgers, injured on the road and crawling away to die in a ditch..

            Kenneth Graham has a lot to answer for.

            He never managed to look after the mole though. Odd that.

            • toni


              Cancel your alleged subs to the RSPCA, there will be many more contributing to it after the exposure of the Heythrop, and it’s the duty of the RSPCA to inform the public of unlawful behaviour towards animals.
              Those who have an interest in the welfare and protection of badgers are aware that the destruction of a sett with young underground using slurry is only one of the many casually cruel ways farmers and country people destroy wildlife, and some badgers that have apparently been killed by traffic, on examination by vets have been found to have been baited before disposal onto the roadside.

              FYI hedgehogs are not a primary food source for badgers, and I’d suggest that for an enlightening read try Ernest Neal, Michael Clark, the naturalists Chris Ferris and Mike Tomkies – who btw also did a major foxhunting study in Scotland.

      • ButcombeMan

        My wife cancelled our standing order some time ago. The RSPCA is wasting money on prosecutions like this and for simple political purposes.

        We did not give £120 a year to be used for political puposes and the deliberate political targettting of the Cameron country-hunt. The RSPCA management take us for fools.

        We gave our money to help in the welfare of animals. This does not do it. Nor will it do or could it possibly do, what we gave our money for.

        One preserved mangy fox, saved from the hunt, that gets into a chicken run, will kil them all. That is what foxes do.

        Foxes are pests and in both town & country now, they need to be controlled. Hunting them is a very effective way of doing that and better/more certain, than shooting (lamping) or trapping. They either escape or are killed. Hunted foxes, once injured, do not escape. Hunting foxes actually helped them survive healthily in the UK, through Darwinian selection, but, it controlled the numbers.

        The law failed in the rather silly objective of protecting foxes, it failed to protect all the other animals that foxes kill. The law has just failed.

        The RSPCA should get over it and get on with their main business. Until then and that policy is clear, no money from me.

        • Paul Hughes

          Yes, pro-hunters tell us that only the old and sick are caught – that the healthy escape and that those which are caught are victims of Darwinian selection. It can’t be both a weeding out of weakness and an effective method of control. Quite the opposite would apply if you’re correct – you’re effectively producing a super-species of uber-hund, capable of killing ever-increasing numbers of chickens. Furthermore, hunts are so few and infrequent that the impact upon fox populations must indeed be insignificant (not that this affects my view of the hunt). You’d be better off asking hunt members,if control really is the motivation, to drive at great speeds through country lanes with full beam permanently on.

          As regards the politics of it all, I’m against blood sports and care little for the politics behind it. I shall do some reading on the deliberate targeting of Cameron’s hunt though.

          Best wishes


          • ButcombeMan

            Not only the old weak and sick are caught, but a strong, fit ,18 month old, dog fox, most times gets away.

            I am not pro fox hunting, I am indifferent. I do recognise the law as ineffective and the RSPCA as spending money on political activity -which is why I withdrew my support

            It is also true that the hounds used are indeed of a type to prolong the chase and are not designed to catch the fox as quickly as possible Three good lurchers and a terrier being much more adept at catching a fox than 20 hounds.

            The hounds are stupid, the fox is cunning. Very easy to breed dogs much faster and much more clever than the fox. That is not what is done. So I take the view hunting is mostly about the chase.

            Hunting can be a method of weeding out weakness and a method of control. The weak mangy & old fox being much more likely to be forced to encroach on human activity.

            The natural inclination of the fox is to stay away from man.

            • Patricia Marshall

              Every single part of this post is absolute rubbish Take a look at the Fox Website and educate yourself about the animals you abuse

          • Patricia Marshall

            We know that is total nonsense, Paul. The dogs don’t care if the fox is old or sick, and there is something really disgusting in chasing an old sick animal for fun in the first place. They chase pregnant vixens too and there is horrible footage of a vixen who was torn open and her tint unborn cubs are strewn round her corpse. Just take a look at Clifford Pellow’s account of hunting and he’s an ex terrier man. It is a disgusting dirty pastime and it is long past time it was relegated to the history books permanently.

        • Screaming Orchid

          the “main business” as you put it, is to prevent cruelty. cock fighting, dog fighting, fox hunting and animal farming. fox hunting does not significantly reduce the fox population, in fact they are encouraged to breed, so that the upper class can pursue an exciting blood hunt, where they get the thrill of the chase and are entirely above the law. they also intimidate locals who ban them from their own property. if it really were about fox control then there are commercial pest control companies and even animal contraception, but of course this would outrage the hunt, who clearly hunt for fun.

        • Patricia Marshall

          What a ridiculous argument. Foxes eat what they kill. Do those redcoats eat foxes? How can you support someone getting their jollies watching a small non human torn to shreds by a pack of dogs? Do you support dog fighting too?

      • auth0r

        The £300,000 would have paid the salaries of 10 RSPCA workers for a year, doing genuine animal care work. I see dead foxes every week, killed by cars, as well as badgers (who have even worse road sense) and deer (who have none at all, and who cause a significant number of car accidents each year). I have seen plenty of fox hunts, and have yet to see them actually catch a fox.

    • toni


      Yeah, of course she did dear being an animal lover an’ all, I believe you, millions wouldn’t.
      Ask the alleged wife what she thinks the hunting fraternity do with the excess hounds they breed, or those who don’t keep up with the pack, are injured, untrainable?

    • SilentHunter

      Yes, of course she did.

    • Patricia Marshall

      Maybe she did, but hundreds of new donations were garnered Mine included I am now a fully paid up member and proud to be so. Don’t you care about stopping cruelty to animals then?

  • belbylafarge

    Sounds like the ghastly cow who wrote thispiece doesnt want the law to prosecute trangressors if they break laws she disagrees with.

    Fortunately people like her are i a minority.n

  • Sarah

    “But if RSPCA supporters don’t like how the charity is spending their money, they can always vote with their feet and donate elsewhere. Unfortunately, the taxpayer doesn’t have that option.”

    The tax payer always has the option of pushing for state prosecutions of law breakers so they don’t wasting the RSPCA’s and tax payers’ money.

    • perdix

      Do donations to the RSPCA qualify for “gift aid”, i.e: a top up from the taxpayer?

  • Sarah

    “Much has been made about the RSPCA’s decision to spend money given to them in order to improve animal welfare on a politically motivated prosecution”

    Politically motivated to improve animal welfare.

    • Colonel Mustard

      I look forward to their campaign to eradicate the cruelty of halal slaughter in order to improve animal welfare.

      • Paul Hughes

        Yes, me too. They should do both. Pointing out an absence of one doesn’t invalidate the existence of the other. Not all anti-hunting supporters of the RSPCA’s stance are lefty class warriors. This Thatcherite UKIP voter fully supports the outlawing of hunting and the prosecution of those arrogant shysters who consider themselves above the law. I have donated to the RSPCA for several years and shall now increase my direct debit.

        • Colonel Mustard

          More fool you.

          • Paul Hughes

            It’s not a matter of foolishness now, is it? I have my view and act accordingly. You have yours. Mine are currently in the ascendancy but it wasn’t always thus and may not be at some point in the future. If you can argue your case with reason and without silly name calling then you’ll one day have a hope of winning back what you see as being your rights, freedoms and traditions.

            • Colonel Mustard

              Rubbish. This is not about arguing with reason. It never was.

    • ButcombeMan

      Logically it has nothing to do with improving animal welfare.

      If it were about bangs per buck they would not do this. They could spend their (our) money, more effectively.

      It is about politics and I do not give money to the RSPCA for them to do politics.

      For that reason they will get no more from me.

  • Daniel Maris

    This article and the responses seem to be confusing several different issues.

    1. Cost. The RSPCA effectively does the job of animal law enforcement for free on behalf of the state. If they didn’t exist there would have to be special units in every Police force in the land – unless you don’t care about animal cruelty that is.

    2. Personally I am not convinced that fox hunting is particularly “cruel” and it’s certainly been part of our culture for hundreds of years. I think stricter licensing would have been a better way forward. However, the law is the law. The ban on hunting is what parliament decided on and you can’t pick and choose which laws to obey.

    • Colonel Mustard

      Unfortunately for your first point the New Police do get involved in monitoring hunts. As the fox hunting lady in Ms Kite’s article bemoaned their priorities – in the shires you can’t get them to investigate a burglary but they will creep about the hedgerows to enforce the hunting ban. I don’t know whether special units are involved but since New Police appear to have special units for every other type of politically incorrect “offence” that wouldn’t surprise me.

      • MirthaTidville

        The `New Police`… very apt…Love it

    • Adrian Drummond

      …”The ban on hunting is what parliament decided on”
      Yes, but New labour was in power and their MPs come predominantly from the cities and not the shires. Many of them had (and still have) no conception of rural life. In other words it was a vindictive piece of ill-thought out legislation.

      • Richard

        So, people who share your opinion should feel free to disobey that law, should they? And MPs from rural constituencies should have no vote over legislation that will mainly affect city-dwellers? That’s the logic of your position.

        • Adrian Drummond

          My view is that all MPs (regardless of location) should vote on an issue based on sound and reasoned judgement and not vindictive class-prejudice.

          • Paul Hughes

            Can one not have a view on animal cruelty based on that issue alone? Accusing your opponents of such bias may afford you a degree of righteous indignation but I’m afraid that it doesn’t describe the majority of the opposition to blood sports. I’m certainly no class warrior and would gladly see people locked up for this. Am I alone?

            • Fergus Pickering

              I hope you don’t eat eggs from battery hens.

              • Paul Hughes


            • MirthaTidville

              Foxes are destructive vermin..not cuddly little bright eyed playthings…ask any farmer, although you probably dont know any

              • alexsandr

                family i know had their 3 chickens ripped to pieces by a fox in a suburban garden. Can’t have been easy breaking that news to her young children. They need controlling. Has anyone any sensible suggestions how that is done?

                • arnoldo87

                  Yes – Rip them to pieces with hunting dogs and then smear their blood on the children. That should cheer them up a bit.

                • Screaming Orchid

                  residents have had their pets ripped to pieces by hounds, trepassing on their land, a fox is doing what any other animal does to survive. it is humans that have encroached on the habitats of other animals and it is humans that need controlling, suggestions on controlling sprauling human populations are the one child policy like in China or adoption or fostering and limiting urban spread.

                • mikewaller

                  Making the chickens more secure would be a good first move.

              • Paul Hughes

                I do, we’re not all “townies” either. That’s another nice myth. I married into a farming family and they’re not as you suggest. Sorry!

              • Screaming Orchid

                foxes kill to survive and are no more destructive, probably a lot less than the human. fox hunting has nothing to do with farmers, it’s a blood sport practiced by the upper class, who encourage foxes to breed so they can enjoy the thrill of the kill, classic pyschopathic behaviour.

            • Adrian Drummond

              Yes, that is a fair point. However, due to votes neatly reflecting the city/country divide it can only be concluded that many city MPs voted on sentiment and prejudice rather than any perceived notions of animal cruelty.

          • Richard

            Sure, but anyone, from any viewpoint, can say as much. What are your objective criteria for distinguishing reasoned judgement from vindictive prejudice? Or does it just so happen that your own views are rational whereas opposing views are prejudiced?

            • mikewaller

              Double cobblers! See my previous response.

        • Fergus Pickering

          Yes hey should certainly feel free to disobey the law. I am surprised you need to ask. Is it a Police State you want? If bats roost in my loft I shall treat them like wasps i.e. I shall kill them. I don’t want them in my loft and the law is an ass.

          • Richard

            So you don’t feel entitled to object to people with different views from your own picking and choosing which laws to obey? You’ve no objection to muggers and burglars, for example. They probably think the law is an ass too.

        • Colonel Mustard

          I’d be quite happy for England’s city states and their ghastly mobs of multi-culti socialists to have their own laws to properly reflect their bubbles and for the rest of us bumpkins to be left in peace with no votes for what happens in them. Rural considerations have never dictated to the urban metrosexual elite, it has been the other way around for a very long time.

          Of course we would need to tax the weekend homes of bubble dwellers very heavily indeed.

          • Richard

            Anyway, why do you assume that the majority of rural people think foxhunting should be legal? Some opinion polls have shown majorities against hunting in rural areas. See – three years ago, admittedly.

            • Colonel Mustard

              I don’t assume anything. It is not so much a question of whether fox hunting should be legal but more a question of why the Hell it should have ever been illegal. Plenty of things I dislike and disapprove of. Maybe I should campaign to make them illegal – campaign to have those I dislike criminalised and thrown in jail.

              Isn’t that how the brave new land of Britain works now? What will the next disapproved thing to be banned and criminalised be? Morris dancing?

            • Daniel Maris

              I think real country folk as opposed to urban onlookers (who find it something of a visual treat) are quite often p’d off by the hunts. They block the roads for one thing.

              • Paul Hughes

                Many farmers ban the hunts from their land in view of the damage done to their property. It isn’t quite as cosy and united in the countryside as its soi-disant supporters claim.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              That poll is bogus.. .”adults” aged 15 and over were polled?

              A poll funded by an animal rights group?

              And the poll results skew to about 75% across the board in favor of the animal rights group? Fancy that. You can’t get 75% to agree the sun rises in the east.

          • Daniel Maris

            We know what you country folk get up to. We’ve seen Midsomer Murders. :)

      • Daniel Maris

        If we were exempted from having to obey “vindictive pieces of ill thought-out legislation” there wouldn’t be many laws we had to obey.

      • mikewaller

        Cobblers! Try a small thought experiment. Imagine a young urban council estate dweller comes across R.S. Surtees and fell in love with the idea of hunting. Lacking the money to kit himself out with a horse and the full regalia, he elects for trainers, Levis, a reversed baseball cap, and the shirt of his local football team. Having charismatic qualities, he is joined by other youths who respond to the idea and accept the notion that tight discipline is crucial. They then start hunting urban foxes and feral cats with well trained dogs.

        The attraction of this exercise is that it takes out the issue of class and rural vs urban, the first being something on which dear old Helena Kennedy used to major. The question that then has to be asked is how acceptable would such a practice be to public opinion? It does not take a genius to suggest that the first report of it in any public medium would bring the police, the RSPCA, and uncle Tom Cobbly and all down on the heads of the youths involved like ten tons of bricks. Ergo, the issue with fox hunting is not class, it is not rural vs urban and it is not vindictiveness. Rather it is very widespread public revulsion at what is seen as just another case of cruelty for pleasure.

        No doubt the young people involved in the thought experiment would be prosecuted at public cost and no one would bat an eyelid. However, with a hunt, particularly a Cotswold hunt, there is plenty of money to help resist any charges, and because they are mounted on horses, gathering of evidence is very difficult. Both help explain the lack of success by public bodies in this area of law enforcement although deference to powerful individuals could well be another factor.

        Against this background the RSPCA had either to accept the force of Shakespeare’s wonderful lines:

        “Plate sin with gold, and the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks; arm it in rags, a pygmy’s straw does pierce it.”

        or prosecute itself. In my view it is to be very much admired for choosing the latter.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Of course you can pick and choose which laws to obey. Some laws are very silly. Some laws are downright wicked. Do you really think it is enough to say ,It’s the law; you must obey it. Poppycock.

      • Richard

        I shall be interested to see whether your future posts are consistent with this anarchist position.

    • andagain

      Cost. The RSPCA effectively does the job of animal law enforcement for free on behalf of the state.

      Apparently not, if the state subsidises it whenever it loses a case. Well, if the government gives them money they do not need mine, do they?

    • Screaming Orchid

      human slavery and bear baiting ” it’s certainly been part of our culture for hundreds of years” human slavery has been part of our culture for thousands of years, shall we also justify that. it’s also only part of a rich minority’s culture, so not “our” culture.

      i’m tired of people using tradition to justify cruelty, like female genital mutilation. of course ripping a fox from belly first is cruel, what planet are you on.

    • Patricia Marshall

      So because you aren’t convinced doesn’t make it so. There is plenty of evidence out there to show you just how insanely cruel it really is.

  • stopcpdotcom

    The RSPCA is controlled by Common Purpose.

    • dalai guevara

      £330,000 for a simple prosecution? Why?

      The beneficiaries of the British legal system (i.e. solicitors) urgently need to be controlled by an external legal cost controller. How about that?

      • stopcpdotcom

        Good idea.

      • Noa

        Simple-stop all legal aid.

      • Patricia Marshall

        Because they accused didn’t confess until late in the day. Why don’t you blame the judge for a lenient sentence and the criminals who actually broke the law in the first place ?

  • MirthaTidville

    Isnt it marvellous how these jumped up PC pricks actually get their hands on organisations like the RSPCA then bleed them dry in pursuit of their twisted vendettas..Orwellian indeed…Mind you whoever agreed that this vendetta should be paid for by us needs identifying. Hope the Taxpayers Alliance is on to it….

    • Colonel Mustard

      This is what happens when the ideology of a politicised charity and the ideology of the presiding judge share a common purpose of leading beyond authority.

    • dalai guevara

      Ah yes, the headline reads ‘…cost to the public purse’ and the commenters line up to criticise the costly racketeerings of the British legal system, even for basic cases. Thought not.

    • Patricia Marshall

      So you don’t think animal cruelty should be punished then? Says a lot about your humanity

  • John McEvoy

    RSPCA donation collectors – don’t bother rattling your tin at me.

    • Redneck

      John McEvoy

      Agreed. I am ambivalent towards fox hunting however I detest this mendacious interference in our British ways. I will not give another penny to the RSPCA.

      Because of the actions of many charities recently, I am now only putting money into a small number of charities: ones that I know do not get involved in this sort of politicised nonsense.

      • Screaming Orchid

        the whole point of the RSPCA is to prevent cruelty, if this is not also your goal then you should choose another charity.

    • Adrian Drummond


    • Heartless etc.,

      Foxes are vermin.

      Kill them.

      End of.

      • Patricia Marshall

        Foxes are not vermin. They are at best Grade 2 pests, which means they are regarded as a nuisance rather than anything else. Can you imagine what is must be like to be chased by a baying pack of dogs followed by a braying pack of halfwits on horses You run your heart out and when they catch you, you are rolled onto your back and disembowelled? Even if they were pests, no one has the right to be cruel.

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