Someone (John Northam) posted a comment on one of my RSPCA threads earlier:
Came home from work to see a chitte to say they had taken my cat while i was at work- no explanation. A phone number that after 30 minutes of annoying waiting music and patronising advice on the treatment of snakes (!) turned out to be a fucking call centre and no attempt made to contact me.
My cat is 18 years old half blind and on his last legs but still comes to me for cuddles and food (he loves bacon). He is not in pain and I know he will tell me when it is his time to go. If the fucking bastards have not put him down already they will have scared the poor fucking creature to death by sticking him in a cage around loads of other distressed animals.
Which serves as a good reminder of the evil that is the RSPCA.
The RSPCA have their own little piece of New Labour legislation that they get to enforce. They have powers of entry and confiscation. It’s called the Animal Welfare Act 2006.
All of which I was reminded of when I read this:
Once captured, they should, according to the 1981 Countryside Act, be humanely destroyed.
Considering his predicament, Raymond Elliott no doubt cast his eye around his garden. What should his eye alight on? The water butt. It was the work of a moment, he said, to immerse the squirrel, which died “almost instantaneously”.
But one man’s rodent euthanasia is another man’s squirrel slaughter, a fact that Mr Elliott found out when the RSPCA turned up and recovered Tufty’s remains. A six-month conditional discharge and £1,547 pounds in costs later, he has become the first person prosecuted under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act for causing harm to a non-domestic animal.
So how should one kill a squirrel?
“There are three methods we use,” he says. “Instant kill traps are always the first port of call.” If these can’t be used, Inglis turns to an “especially formulated warfarin grain-bake”,
Aha! Squirrel poison. Just like rat poison, sounds like a winner.
So I wanted to know a bit more…
Under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act, once an animal is under the responsibility of a human they have a duty not to cause unnecessary harm. ‘Pests’ like the grey squirrel can be killed in a ‘humane way’, such as a blow to the back of the head or shooting, but drowning or beating the animal to death is illegal.
Wait.. what? A blow to the back of the head is okay, but beating is a no-no? What if you land a poor blow first time. How long has to elapse before you take another swing without it constituting a beating?
Back to the poison then…
Foresters have a licence to kill the animals with poison
You need a LICENCE? Oh just fuck off.
This leaves only one option.
Inglis reaches for his trusty air rifle. “We do shoot them,” he says.
So, back to the RSPCA:
most people choose to trap them with wire cages that are available for as little as £12 from garden centres
However Laura Bryant, an Inspector with the RSPCA, said the majority of ordinary people will be incapable of killing squirrels without causing “unnecessary suffering” and predicted more cases in court.
“This case has very serious implications to anyone who has purchased a trap and then set it in their garden as to what they are going to do if they catch a squirrel in the trap?” she said.
She even questioned whether shooting or a blow to the back of the head could be considered humane. She said most people will have to pay a vet to have the animal put down or call in pest control experts and advised "squirrel proofing" the garden instead.
Take it to the vet to have it put down? Are you for REAL??? Jesus wept.
Tom Blades, at the British Association for Shooting and Conservation, suggested people should take trapped squirrels to the RSPCA to dispose of since it is illegal to release the animals into the countryside.
Oh yes – take it to the RSPCA. Hand yourself in on a plate after they examine the squirrel, determine that it’s in poor health and decide that it had got that way since you trapped it. Ergo they have you on the same charge of “causing harm to a non-domestic animal”. They’ll bring a private prosecution against you and testify against you in court.
So I’d say they’re best avoided altogether. If you donate money to them, incidentally, I urge you to either reconsider or go suck an exhaust pipe.
Still, the RSPCA have a long and colourful reputation as being self-serving bullies and storm-troopers
We worked particularly hard for the Animal Welfare Act to be put into place
Indeed they did.
So what other voices of sense can we hear from the animal welfare community?
On Gardeners’ Question Time recently, the panel discussed several ways to dispatch a squirrel. But their answers prompted a storm from some animal rights activists, such as Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid. “The whole premise of gardeners killing squirrels is hateful and bigoted,” he said. “It’s the worst kind of intolerance. People should cherish them.”
Really? Killing squirrels is bigoted? The worst kind of intolerance?
I.. errr.. oh I give up.
UPDATE: Quentin Letts takes the matter up over at the Faily Nail.
Other bloggers on the RSPCA: