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Gavin Grant steps down. What now for the RSPCA?

25 February 2014

Gavin Grant, the CEO of the RSPCA, is stepping down from his role after just over two years in the job because there are ‘concerns about his health’, the charity announced today. The announcement will be met with a mixture of delight and dismay; delight from those who believed that his influence was shifting the RSPCA’s purpose from animal welfare to animal rights and, of course, dismay from his loyal supporters in the animal rights brigade.

It’s hard to reject the view that he was a driving force behind the many incendiary headlines written about the RSPCA since he started his job. While Grant was in charge, the increase in the number of private prosecutions – with defence costs in failed prosecutions being covered by the taxpayer – was just one complaint. Just this month a reviewer hired by the RSPCA questioned what the charity could do to regain its positive public image, with one option being to strip it of its right to prosecute.

A leaked memo suggested that many staff were ‘disillusioned’, with Melissa Kite writing in The Spectator last year that ‘there is a culture of fear at their headquarters’. Grant’s statement that farmers who supported the badger cull should be ‘named and shamed’ was another sore point, especially amongst the rural community. And even the BBC weren’t entirely sure about the charity’s motives, with a ‘Face the Facts’ Radio 4 programme last August asking whether the RSPCA was ‘a law unto itself’.

Of course, a change of leadership is by no means a guarantee that the RSPCA will change its ways. But it will certainly be interesting to see who their trustees choose to fill the role next.

Here’s Gavin Grant in his own words, first published  in The Spectator in February 2013:

Gavin Grant in his own words

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— ‘These people are wildlife criminals… The penalties for these offences are too light. I want to see people who organise themselves to go out and abuse animals for pleasure or for profit go to jail… two years? Five years?’

— ‘No different to badger baiters – apart from their accents.’

Hunting in general

— ‘Rightly, those that abuse animals for pleasure and/or for profit will be seen for the common criminals they are.’

The Grand National

— ‘As the winning owner whooped, a cold fury welled- up in me. The National has to change or die. The nation knows and demands it.’

—  ‘Despite safety improvement the Grand National is still too risky for the horses. It’s the unacceptable face of racing.’

The RSPCA — and himself

— ‘We take a zero-tolerance approach to animal cruelty:  mice, hedgehogs, dogs, cats, badgers, cows, sheep, foxes, snakes — we are here to protect all animals.’

— ‘People may seek to intimidate me, and some have… I respect other people’s opinions, but the RSPCA is never going to be intimidated.’

— ‘Anybody who is going out there quite deliberately either for fun or for profit, to break the law and to abuse animals, is clearly an enemy of the animals, and an enemy of the RSPCA, but above all, they’re an enemy of the civilised people of this country.’

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Show comments
  • ColonelScheissKopf

    Grant’s a total loony. Good riddance.

  • Daniel Maris

    Seems like you are confusing people’s bodies with ideas.

  • animalnut

    Bill Wiggins MP would make a decent CEO, he loves animals, is a farmer and knows the law. I only hope the RSPCA make a much wiser choice next time.

  • Frank

    What does “concerns about his health” mean? That he is about to be sectioned? I thought that employers had a duty of care to their employees (how ever deranged)?

  • animalnut

    Posting for a friend;

    ”Why can’t we have a group of like minded animal people running the rspca? .Chris Lawrence the ex chief vet from dogs trust would be perfect, and they need a cull of their military inspectors,the good ones are worth their weight in gold but there are so many bad ones,when can we expect the people to have help with their pets rather than being dragged out of bed just for sensationalism? .Maybe Roger Mugford would like the job, no more liberal politicians or failed ones. The rspca started going down hill years ago, and politics shouldn’t enter into it.”

  • David Booth.

    I was ticked by the comment from a RSPCA suit that Gavin Grant has
    “Raised the profile of the RSPCA” which is akin to saying Jack The Ripper raised the profile of misogynistic knife wielding homicidal maniacs!
    If you want to donate money to an animal charity find a local one where you can see what they do with your money and I can assure you it will not be on a generous leaving package for the likes of Gavin Grant to enjoy in his “ill -health”

  • animalnut

    If you want to gain respect from others, you must treat them with respect, Mr Grant failed spectacularly at this within months of his tenure and then proceeded to make enemies of everyone, believing himself to be all powerful. In reality he is a rather unpleasant little class warrior, a school bully who felt that he could gain respect by pushing,and shoving his way through life, and when challenged he resorted to the usual bully tactics of making threats. I don’t think many will miss this odious little man.

    • animalnut

      And wasn’t he responsible for that massive wall sized poster of dead dogs at the entrance to Crufts back in the 90’s ?

  • Conway

    Worries about his health? Has he been hugging a badger and become infected with TB? As for “delight from those who believed that his influence was shifting the RSPCA’s purpose from animal welfare to animal rights”, what do you mean *shifting* the purpose? That began under Jackie Ballard, animal rights campaigner, and has been continued ever since. The RSPCA is a once respected animal welfare organisation that has become politicised and completely lost its way. The true losers are the animals.

    • David Booth.

      I suspect Gavin Grants ill health is a face saving strategy for the RSPCA to move this man on. No doubt he will soon recover from his “ill-health” and move on to another organisation in the usual parasitic fashion these creatures do.

  • Doggie Roussel

    Red squirrels are returning to the Yorkshire Dales… Bravo… and the reason for this is that true conservationists are shooting every grey squirrel on sight.

    Some prat, like Grant, introduced the American grey squirrels to this country and they swiftly proceeded to wipe out the indigenous red squirrel population.

    The RSPCA is a despicably duplicitous organisation which has betrayed its charter and has become a chippy forum for the hand-wringing and politically-motivated idiots, like Grant, to get their rocks off.

    • Shorne

      “Some prat, like Grant”
      Err…well I don’t know much about the 10th Duke of Bedford who was primarily responsible for the 19th century introduction of grey squirrels but I’m willing to bet he bore little resemblance to Grant.

      I used to like grey Squirrels when I was growing up on a farm in the 50s and early 60s. They were regarded as pests and if you managed to kill one and took its tail to the local Ministry of Agriculture office they would give you sixpence (2.5p), half a dozen tails went a long way at the sweet counter in the village shop.

      • Doggie Roussel

        Thank you, Shorne, for enlightening me. I was unaware that it was the 10th Duke of Bedford who introduced these pests, but whoever it was, they were prats, regardless.

        • Shorne

          Dukes of Bedford have a history of this, Muntjac and Pere Davids deer, Wels Catfish and lots of plants.

  • Clued-Up

    The job of the RSPCA is to prevent cruelty to animals and deter those who engage in it. The social status and wealth of offenders mustn’t be a factor in determining what action the RSPCA takes. An animal protection organisation must prosecute law-breaking hunts for their cruelty to foxes and deer as well as the organisers of dog-fighting. We need another Gavin Grant to head the RSPCA.

    • Doggie Roussel

      B…..X !

    • animalnut

      What, another failed politician.? Yes that would finish the RSPCA for good !

      • Fergus Pickering

        All old politicians are failed politicians according to Enoch Powell. Even Lady Thatcher was a failed politician. Even lovley Tone…

  • Noa

    One down, umpty seven quangos to go.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Chop him up and feed him to the badgers.

  • nancy blake

    A wonderful, genuine, intelligent, passionate, principled man and a great loss to the RSPCA. Worth 100 of any of the bitter nonentities posting their vile hate on this page. You should be ashamed of yourselves – but probably don’t have the capacity. Thank you to Gavin for all you have done and I hope your health improves.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Passionate principled men. Lord save us from them. The IRA are passionate principled men. And the suicide bombers.

      • nancy blake

        So, following your skewed logic, we should praise horrible, insincere, stupid, apathetic, immoral men?????
        I’ll take my chances with people like Gavin – cheers.

      • Doggie Roussel

        Last week I found 20 of my hens with their heads bitten off… will this idiot man, Grant, take the necessary action against the fox who perpetrated this atrocity ?

    • MirthaTidville

      Tell you what love, go and pedal your left wing stupidity elsewhere..We have seen ducks talk and geese fart before on here

      • nancy blake

        Well that was profound, and it didn’t make you look stupid and infantile at all. Bravo!

  • Latimer Alder

    What next? Maybe they could try looking after the animals, not pretending that they are a private vigilante army bent on changing the world?

  • MarkyMarkSurrey

    I see the brain dead crew have posted comments already. It amazes
    me how the pond slime that lurk on these forums have time to come out to post
    hateful messages about a man who cared deeply for animals and who despite a
    vile campaign run against him by some Conservative and the telegraph, stood firm
    and stood up to the bullies to uphold the law. Something our own police force failed to do time and time again.

    Barakzai- Gavin was not “self promoting” he actually
    cared about animal welfare, clearly u know absolutely nothing about his work,
    please do some research before u write.

    BoiledCabbage – Your point exactly is?? Are you saying that people
    should be allowed to go around killing and torturing animals without being
    caught and punished, if you are you have all the traits of a a psychopath. Or are u just a gobby little
    turd ?

    MirthaTidville- what can i say , he was a man who cared
    about animals and cared about getting justice for animals, if you and the rest
    of the lowlife on here can ridicule that then you clearly are quite vile and i
    suspect have never done anything in your lives to help those less fortunate
    whether its animals or humans.

    • Slim Jim

      Here we go – another sanctimonious gobshite who’s crawled out from under his stone because his hero has been criticised! Heaven help us is you’re going to fisk every comment you consider unacceptable. Grant was yet another politically motived individual who exceed his (and his organisation’s) remit at the taxpayer’s expense. He will not be missed! I don’t see anyone on here supporting the unlawful treatment of animals. You need to draw your neck in and make intelligent comment. If you can…

      • MarkyMarkSurrey

        I couldn’t be bothered to read most of your post and from a quick glance its clear you’re a troll. I have, and always will stand up forwhat is right and good against the vile people who lurk behind their keyboardsin their parents’ homes spewing out bile against decent people like Grant. I suspect you mix with hunters, like some of the others on here you poor scorn and good men like Gavin Grant. Gavin Grant was a decent person who did a good job, he upheld the law. I doubt Jim if anyone would defend you in this ways as i suspect you have very few real friends, well except imaginary ones. It’s clear from your words that you are unhappy with your life “Slim Jim” and so your haunt these forums looking for some innocent decent person that u
        can poor your hatred on, but it’s not Gavin Grant or the RSPCA you hate is it slim Jim? You really hate yourself!

        • Slim Jim

          You couldn’t be bothered to read most of my post, but you certainly couldn’t hold back from launching another foam-flecked diatribe. As for ‘lurking behind my keyboard in my parent’s home’, I have news for you – I’m a grandparent; and judging by the tenor, construction and content of your posts, you come across as very immature. I won’t attempt to pigeon-hole you; I think most people on here will reach their own conclusions. As for being a troll – I am a regular on here, so why don’t you toddle off back to your tree-house Swampy?

          • Fergus Pickering

            I think he’s deranged. He’s one of the animal rights nuts who freed the mink down here in Kent. And the mink thrived and promptly killed all the water rats. Well done you.

            • Slim Jim

              No doubt he’s a badger supporter too. Sadly, due to the rise in their numbers, the hedgehog is declining rapidly, as badgers can rip them open easily with their claws. Who is going to speak up for Mrs. Tiggywinkle?

              • Fergus Pickering

                Is thatreally why hedgehogs are decreasing?. Because they certainly are.

                • Slim Jim

                  It’s one of the reasons, but the Bunnyhuggers don’t want to know. Or probably don’t know.

        • Count Boso

          Are u Molesworth?

        • Doggie Roussel

          Prat… do you mean pour ?

          You are the sort of jerk who releases urban foxes into the countryside.

    • Fergus Pickering

      Nonsense. I have two cats who I love dearly. And I gave loads to an old horse and donkey charity in Norfolk. So piss off.

    • Colin

      Sadly, he and the rest of the rspca hierarchy don’t seem to care enough about the welfare of animals, ritually slaughtered in the name of religion.

      • Doggie Roussel

        Absolutely… but you don’t go about criticising Islam… or you end up being given a Halal dispatch, yourself… and then, of course there is the political correctness of it all.

    • MirthaTidville

      Oh dear..I think you need to change your medication Mark..its clearly not working..

  • MirthaTidville

    Good riddence but no doubt they will manage to find another overpaid and overblown plonker……

  • Barakzai

    ‘Gavin Grant steps down. What now for the RSPCA?’

    Depends on whether the RSPCA wants another sanctimonious, self-promoting LibDem as its CEO. Are Huhne, Hughes or Rennard in the running?

  • BoiledCabbage

    Do flies have Rights? Ive just killed a whole lot. Hope I dont get the RSPCA on my back!

    • HFC

      … and what about slugs and snails – and the captive fish in my pond (attacked by herons from time to time; what right do they have to do that?)

      • Count Boso

        It only counts if they have fur

        • HFC

          That’s discriminatory.

  • Shazza

    I stopped giving my monthly donation to the RSPCA because of their refusal to confront the horror of halal slaughter. If they were really concerned about animal welfare, they would do everything in their power to stop this cruel and savage treatment of defenseless animals.

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