Media sources suggest the wildlife charity may lose the support of the Royal Family due to its attacks on country sports

The RSPCA is in danger of losing the support of the Royal Family due to its continued political campaigning, it has been claimed.

A source told the Daily Telegraph last month that HRH the Prince of Wales has “fundamental disagreements” over many of the RSPCA’s key policies and has “privately voiced concerns” about the charity.

HM the Queen is the current RSPCA patron, but she and the Duke of Edinburgh have begun to hand down their patronages to younger members of the Royal Family in recent years. It is speculated that Prince Charles could refuse to take on her role if offered. The snub would mean that the RSPCA might have to drop “Royal” from its name.

Disgreements over issues

The RSPCA and Prince Charles have disagreed over a number of issues in recent years, including the badger cull to combat bovine tuberculosis and the charity’s decision to spend £326,000 to prosecute members of the Heythrop Hunt for a breach of the hunting ban. The organisation has also been criticised for becoming increasingly politicised and MPs said in July they feared that it would “lose credibility” after electing animal rights activists to its ruling council. These were Peta Watson-Smith, who once compared farming to the Holocaust and Dan Lyons, who believes people should pass an exam before being allowed to own a pet.

The Daily Telegraph source said: “Prince Charles has privately voiced his concerns about the RSPCA. He has taken a close interest in the RSPCA and what has been happening there. He wants it to be an effective animal welfare organisation, but it has become something else. It would be interesting to see how he could be a patron of an organisation with which he has had fundamental disagreements.

“Charles and Camilla are very supportive of hunting and shooting; so too are Princes William and Harry. They would have to take the view that the RSPCA has moved on from its position two years ago. A lot will now depend on who becomes chief executive. That has to be critical in whether Prince Charles can ever take over the patronage.”

Jim Barrington, welfare consultant for the Countryside Alliance, told Shooting Times: “We do not want the RSPCA to lose its Royal patronage, rather for it to change its direction and become worthy once more of Royal support. Recently the RSPCA has moved from an animal welfare organisation to one whose views are more representative of the animal rights movement — specifically its comments on the trial badger cull to halt the spread of bovine tuberculosis and wildlife management with dogs.

“The RSPCA needs to return to its roots as a charity concerned with combating cruelty and neglect to animals. We hope this focus on the issue of Royal patronage will spur the next chief executive of the RSPCA to execute this change in direction.”

Perceived change in focus

The RSPCA has faced many criticisms in the past year about its perceived change in focus. In September, it was among those charities that were blasted over the trading of personal information. It was found to be using the data of supporters to assign them a “wealth rating” and money that was donated to prevent cruelty to animals was instead used to pay investigators to find out how much donors might leave the charity in their will.

Then in December, the charity was accused of putting itself above the law by threatening to penalise farmers who take part in the badger cull by suspending their membership of RSPCA Assured — the quality control label formerly known as Freedom Food.

  • Draz J Ekiel

    Many of us shoot to put food on the table as we would rather eat fresh meat from animals that have lived a natural life, than meat from animals reared in intensive farms fed on steroids and antibiotics. Not to mention they are fed grain,which they are not designed to digest properly, rather than grass.
    Also, If you eat imported meat you run the risk of eating meat from animals that have been red animal render(Cattle feed made from dead farm animals, which they most certainly are not meant to eat)
    We may have banned the practice here, but there are other meat producing countrys that still do it, and I’m not sure if we still import meat produced from said cattle.

    Then there is people who work in pest control, like it or not chicken farms and other animal farms attract rats and mice, lots of them. These rodents spread disease and eat through stored animal feed etc you simply cannot leave them to multiple out of control, they need to be controlled and a bullet is far more humane than poison or a trap.

  • Harco

    I don’t kill for fun, purely to put food on the table….fortunately according to the “learned” commentator below (oldlongdog) then I’m OK to keep hunting/shooting then…his support is appreciated!

    God Bless the Duke of Cornwall!

  • Daisy Chain

    The royals should not be patrons of any animal charity. They are the last people to care about wildlife.

  • oldlongdog

    The clue is in the name: R is for Royal. It’s been that way for well over a century but we really need to look at the C, which is for ‘cruelty’. Chasing a wild animal until it’s too tired to avoid being ripped apart by dogs is cruel whichever way you look at it. It’s an act of gross depravity and those that defend it, let alone those that support or take part in it, are to be despised. Why wouldn’t an organisation that’s principle charitable aims and objectives are to prevent cruelty be opposed to hunting?

    And shooting birds for fun is hardly any different. The death of game birds is often quicker and less cruel than hunting but it’s still a pointless slaughter nonetheless. And worse for the fact it’s ‘recreational’ rather than in any way necessary.

    Killing for fun is generally regarded as the mark of a psychopath but of course that’s not really the motivation for most of the people that do it. It’s predominantly a sociocultural activity that is informed by ingrained habit and upbringing, and reinforced by a desire to belong to a social group. The killing element is a throwback to bygone times and the social ‘conservatism’ simply a desire either to recreate those times or in the case of ‘old families’ an unwillingness to leave them behind.

    These people are ‘cultural retards’ and Prince Charles is an exemplar of the breed. His views, and those of his social group, are wildly at odds with those of the vast majority of people living right here in the 21st century. I rather hope the RSPCA will preempt this act of spiteful blackmail by dropping the R from its name without further delay.