Ahhh the RSPCA again

Seen in the Tellygiraffe.


Alan Brough, a 68-year-old retired builder from Newbiggin near the Cumbrian fells, bought Shetland ponies 30 years ago for his daughters, who in time outgrew them. Mr Brough released them onto the nearby moorland of Caldbeck Fell where, thanks to his continued care – which included rising at five o’clock each morning to bring them hay – they flourished and became a herd. Eventually the picturesque sight of 90 wild ponies became something of a tourist attraction and a distinctive feature of that northern corner of the Lake District.

Eleven days ago, at the instigation of the RSPCA, Mr Brough was arrested at 8.30am and held in custody at Carlisle police station while officials of the charity put the ponies onto lorries bound for RSPCA-approved sanctuaries. When Mr Brough was released at 3pm and discovered what had happened, he was, according to his family, “trance-like”. He drove to a nearby church, then to a riverbank, where some time later his 18-year-old grand-daughter found him. He had hanged himself.

I wonder how John Northam is getting on, following the comment he left on my recent post.

Need to followup on the story above. I have not been charged with anything yet so it is not yet sub judice. The RSPCA did contact me after 7 increasingly angry messages at the call centre phone calls to various vets etc trying to locate my cat.

18 hours after taking my cat they told me that they want to question me ‘under caution’ under this draconian piece of legislation called the Animal Welfare Act (2006) . I told them that I did not recognise their authority to do this so next week at some time I will be cuffed (that’s the local Police policy), taken to a Police cell and interrogated because I did not have my cat put to sleep 2 weeks ago.

Apparently the RSPCA know my cat better than I do. I intend to make a big commotion about this and have already spoken to my local MP. This is an excellent blog and I have spammed FB with the link. Everyone should know what complete bastards the RSPCA are and how much power the Animal Welfare Act givens them.

Has he been arrested and had his DNA taken yet, on account of his poor old moggy?

I’ll never tire of saying this: If you give money to the RSPCA, you should be utterly ashamed of yourself.



10 thoughts on “Ahhh the RSPCA again

  1. Wasn’t there a case recently where an RSPCA ‘Investigation’ caused a families children to be forcibly taken into ‘care’? I think Christopher Booker of the Tellytubbygraph covered it in May.

  2. I followed the links in the comments to try to form a rounded picture of the argument.

    It seems that Mr Brough was wrong to release the original 2 ponies into the wild. They should have been turned over to the RSPCA who, had they been unable to find a “home” for them, would have shot them.

    The fact that the original two have, decades later, become 90 is not a success story. It merely demonstrates that Mr Brough had failed to anticipate that the herd (as is unavoidable) would become to large for the fells to sustain it. The fact that something like 150 ponies have been born and died is distasteful to the RSPCA and its supporters. Far better that they never lived.

    One RSPCA supporter suggested that Mr Brough, on his release from his prison cell had an epiphany and realised that in caring for the ponies for 30 years he had, in fact, been torturing them. Therefore he took his own life.

    There is some uncertainty as to the fate of the ponies. Cynics would suggest that the RSPCA will not be able to care for them indefinitely and will shoot them.

    Therefore it is the job of the RSPCA to regulate Nature as they see fit. If the ponies are suffering , better that they die. If anyone else decides that and shoots them, the RSPCA will sling them in jail for cruelty to animals.

    I would suggest that the RSPCA ditch their uniforms. If I see one of the bastards, and he looks a bit peaky, I may not be able to contain myself from ending his suffering.

    • “It seems that Mr Brough was wrong to release the original 2 ponies into the wild”.

      Arguably, that’s true. However, that’s a matter of environmental management, not animal cruelty. I’m no instant authority on British wild ponies but it looks as if it is more complicated than turning them loose and putting out some hay. They aren’t ‘wild’ in the sense of birds being wild. It’s more like common grazing.

      The roots of the case go back along way, according to the family.

      His daughter Kathleen added: “We had begged him to carry on and fight for the ponies. He spent half his life fighting the parish council and Caldbeck Commoners to keep the ponies on the common”. It was not my dad who walked out of the police cells – he was trance-like. He said they had taken his life. He was not a people person, he preferred animals.”


      The Lake District National Park Authority two years ago finally got fed up with the numbers and insisted on a castration programme (for the horses). What is not in doubt is that Mr Brough loved and tended the horses, to the extent that the vets (Paragon surgery) who carried out the castration programme argued that the condition of the ponies was within bounds, for wild animals.

      My bet is that somebody – not necessarily the RSPCA – realized, following last week’s squirrelly business, that the RSPCA could be prodded to do its usual sanctimonious swoop, thinking of itself as saving the horses. “A vet” advised the RSPCA, but we don’t know who. They may not exist outside of the RSPCA’s imagination. The RSPCA waded and and the police jumped to attention as Mr Brough had enough eccentricity in him (he once kept a lion as a prelude to opening a zoo) to resist the removal violently. The fact that he reacted with suicide suggests they were right. It is Cumbria police we are talking about. This is a force which was dealing with a mass murderer a month ago, so naturally they are jumpy. They did not charge Mr Brough. They misused their powers of arrest to get him out of the way.

      While I’ve nothing but sympathy for the Brough family and anyone who has the pillocks of the RSPCA chasing them, this case has an element of “eccentric horse keeper doesn’t understand that it’s not his park and he can’t keep filling it with an infinite number of ponies”.

      The castration programme was the way to go, gradually reducing the size of the herd. The RSPCA is swimming in money. If it was so worried, all it had to do was finance any vetinary work. Mr Brough was 68 anyway. Over the next 20 years he and the ponies would have faded from the fell.

      In spite of earlier friction, this was very much the process which had already been agreed between various bodies. Had the police bothered to check with local grown-ups, they possibly would have declined to arrest but they took the RSPCA’s word for it. This problem has been observed before; the police don’t realize that the RSPCA only have limited authority and that they are not the only people with vetinary opinions. Indeed, many RSPCA representatives are not vets at all.

      “James Irving, chairman of Uldale Commoners Association, worked with Mr Brough for two years to control their numbers. A castration programme began two years ago in co-operation with Mr Brough and landowners, the Lake District National Park Authority. Mr Irving said: “Everyone living round here is in shock, it’s horrendous what’s happened. We’re upset and furious at the way the RSPCA and British Horse Society handled this. The farmers, commoners, National Park and Mr Brough were happy with the castration programme. We’re all farmers round here, we know when something is suffering and these ponies had a happy life.”


      Suggestion: the police must stop over-estimating the RSPCA’s statutory authority and it’s vetinary authority as its assertions are increasingly challenged.

      • “The castration programme was the way to go, gradually reducing the size of the herd.”

        It just struck me reading that that I’ve never seen the RSPCA approve or organise a ‘trap, neuter and release’ scheme for feral cats. It always seems to be the smaller, independent charities like Celia Hammond that do this.

  3. Pingback: Longrider » By the Pricking of My Thumbs…

  4. The RSPCA are quite frankly the very last people I would turn to where horse welfare is concerned. Most of the time, they are focussed on prosecuting animal cruelty, rather than preventing the animals actually suffering. So, if they find a field with starving horses in it, they don’t nip off to a local farmer, buy a small bale of hay and chuck that in the field to stave off immediate starvation then go try sort out who owns the horses and why they’re being starved (this can actually be a logical and kind way of treating laminitis in ponies; quite a few older ponies cannot cope with rich grass and if allowed to get at it, suffer a diabetes-like illness which causes foot problems as the most obvious ailment).

    No, the RSPCA monitor the situation, wait for the horses to become mere perambulating skeletons and then (and only then) do they haul the owner up before the police and prosecute for cruelty. By then the horses are very often beyond all help and need to be shot as a kindness; had they been fed earlier most would have pulled through.

    So, never, ever give money to the RSPCA. They’re not an animal assistance charity, but a quasi-political entity which mostly exists to prosecute perceived cruelty, and to further its own ends and existance.

  5. I can’t believe all these so called government charities..Like someone mentioned they have waited until
    these ponies have got to that state? where were they these past years?The ponies were there for years.

    its like anything else,(like baby p) who the social visited numerous times,BUT did nothing till it was too late..

    No wonder Mr brough preferred animals to people? In this generation they are not as cruel as some people..
    Pity we can’t get jjustice from nhs errors?

  6. How many photos have they released out of the 104 horses/ponies? One of a poorly horse he was treating, a few of the same shetland who the RSPCA were aware of for many years, a photo of a 35 year old palomino and a horse with proud flesh who they killed. Draw your own conclusions.
    When they took his horses it had the same impact on him as it would on you if someone snatched your children out of your arms. So imagine being thrown into the back of a police van, taken 20 miles away and made to sit in a cell for 6 hours and you might just understand why he did what he did. He sat with the horses every day they were his family. None were starved. The skinny horse had an underlying condition but they failed to mention this, they got their shock pictures regardless of the facts. Bet they wish they’d found a few corpses to justify their massive operation……

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