In our previous page about the RSPCA we mentioned the case of Gina and Martin Griffin. We have now found details of this case, which is very recent. Taken from the Horse & Hound website …
A judge has criticised the RSPCA for its handling of the prosecution of a Norwich couple accused of causing unnecessary suffering to their 24-year-old horse. Gina and Martin Griffin appeared in court on 22 January, but district judge Philip Browning found them innocent, and said the "case could have been dealt with in a better and certainly more sympathetic way". He ordered the RSPCA to pay the Griffins' costs.
The RSPCA claimed the horse, Florry, was too thin. But when the Griffins tried to explain that the horse had laminitis and was on restricted grazing, as recommended by their vet, the court was told the RSPCA inspector and vet refused to discuss the case with them.
The court heard that Mrs Griffin bought Florry as a three-year-old, but because of injury, the horse was never ridden, living as a companion to her other horses.
The RSPCA seized Florry on 2 October 2006, despite her vet Charlotte Mayers' insistence that the horse was well cared for. In a statement to the court, Mrs Griffin claimed the RSPCA inspector had an "aggressive attitude".
There's a very full account of the case here.
It appears that the RSPCA have taken on themselves the right to seize animals - other people's property, in other words - as and when they please. They do not, in fact, have the right to do so.
The RSPCA is simply a charity - albeit the UK's richest animal charity - and not a public law enforcement body. Their Inspectors have no legal powers, they cannot arrest offenders, they have no right to enter your home to inspect your animals or to demand that you answer any of their questions, they have no power to stop, obstruct or otherwise detain any vehicle-carrying animals.
Whilst they do issue criminal proceedings against offenders, they do so by way of private prosecution.
RSPCA officers wear uniforms which make them as much like police officers as the law will allow. Their lowest "rank" is Inspector. Above that they have "Chief Inspectors", "Superintendents", and "Chief Superintendents". None of these ranks have any legal significance - they are designed to impress the public. RSPCA Inspectors are not even sufficiently qualified to appear as "expert witnesses" in a court of law.
On September 3, 1992, Chief Inspector John Paul gave evidence at Richmond-on-Thames Magistrates' Court. During cross examination, the defence barrister asked him "Are you telling this court that you encourage your staff to flagrantly disregard civil and legal rights in the pursuit of your ends?"
Chief Inspector Paul replied "My duty is to look after the animals, and if that involves infringing people's civil or legal rights then so be it. The animals cannot defend themselves so we have to do it for them."
Which, if you remember, is exactly the way we begun our previous article on this subject: "Now it appears that the RSPCA have also been travelling down the road that leads to "we do it for the sake of the children/the animals/the poor/the environment/and etc. therefore we must be right and you all have to do what we say".
All in all, it's not difficult to see why a career in the RSPCA must seem very attractive to the kind of jobsworth who likes wielding a little bit of power, who enjoys impressing people and telling them what to do, and gets satisfaction from hiding behind the same simplistic, obdurate morality that drives born-again Christian cultists in the American Mid-West, Islamic terrorists in the back bedrooms of Walthamstow, and social workers in town halls everywhere - "we are right, therefore you're all wrong, therefore we can do whatever we like and you can get stuffed".
There's a full article by Dr.Barry Peachey on the legal position of the RSPCA here, and an interesting article from the Daily Mail here.
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