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Animal Welfare and Politics

Bovine TB and Badgers Consultation
Animal Welfare and Politics


Letter to the Editor
The Times
1 Pennington Street
London E98 1TA

25th February 2006

Animal Welfare and Politics

Sir,  John Rolls, RSPCA, and Andrew Hind, Charity Commissioners, (letters, Feb 24) state that charities are legally entitled to carry out campaigning and political activities as a means of furthering their charitable purposes.

In doing so, Charity Commissioner guidance calls for reasoned argument and evidence based on quality research, not the personal viewpoints and emotions of members.

The blatant failure of the RSPCA to undertake this process in conducting their anti-fox hunting and badger protection campaigns lies at the heart of the damaging animal rights confrontation. In practice they are promoting cruelty and preventing kindness.

Imposing strict welfare requirements for farm animals and neglecting uncontrolled and diseased badger populations, which share common habitats, and as predators seriously impact on other wild species, demonstrates the RSPCA’s confused ethical base.

The Government has already decided that wildlife can be killed by promoting poisons, gas, traps, cages and snares setting the criteria for their use.

It is an accepted duty of care under the law, that an in extremis suffering or casualty wild animals, should be located and dispatched as quickly and humanely as possible, to alleviate further unnecessary suffering. This is regarded as a central role for scent hounds, terriers and hunts under the Hunting Act 2004.

Measuring and comparing suffering between different methods of killing and capturing wild animals is a little known but accepted objective science, where the duration and degree of suffering can be audited, along with other related positive or negative factors.

Government has been aware for several years that hunting methods are proven more humane than shooting, through the use of a simple welfare equation.  MAFF research demonstrated bTB to be a serious problem with uncontrolled badgers, when they began reaching population levels of 25-30 per sq km in the late 1970’s.

The RSPCA, Charities Commission, and Government should be brave enough to be honest, and put the interests of our precious wildlife before political prejudices.

Yours sincerely,

Edmund Marriage


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