RSPCA seizes on cruelty figures

The RSPCA has bumped Cancer Research off the top spot in this month’s NGO Watch, after demonstrating that the new Animal Welfare Act has reduced incidents of animal cruelty.

The charity’s research found that convictions for animal cruelty in the UK fell by 20 per cent last year, despite an increase in the number of complaints being investigated.

The RSPCA said the legislation had allowed it to intervene earlier in suspected cases.

‘The RSPCA appears to be reaping the rewards of successful lobbying,’ said Lawrence Ampofo, spokesman for Infonic, which compiled the chart. ‘Much of its press in July showcased new legislation, which the organisation says allows it to respond faster to reports of animal cruelty, ’ he added.

The RSPB moved three places up the table after it criticised the poisoning of two rare birds in Scotland.

It won widespread media coverage when it was discovered that the two endangered red kites had been killed with bait coated in a banned pesticide. RSPB Scotland’s head of investigations, Bob Elliot, said it was ‘a national disgrace’ that the killing of rare birds still occurs.

The British Heart Foundation re-entered the table in fifth place in the wake of a report by pressure group Consensus Action on Salt and Health. It claimed that high-street salad and pasta pots contain high levels of salt. Alex Callaghan of the British Heart Foundation commented that salt ‘is a hidden killer which can lurk in the unlikeliest of foods.’

Meanwhile, a sizable dose of negative coverage put Comic Relief in seventh place. The media’s main focus was on revelations that viewers taking part in a premium-rate phone-in competition were misled.

The Sun reported that a Comic Relief producer failed to inform the BBC that he had feigned being a genuine caller until two weeks after the event.

According to the article, Sharon and Ozzy Osbourne, who had donated the prize for the competition, ‘were fuming’. A spokesperson for Comic Relief said the BBC did not disclose the facts as it wanted to protect the organisation, but the charity is ‘happy it’s out in the open’.


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