Jane Tredgett is a veteran animal rights activist who lives with her husband in the Humberside countryside and a small household menagerie with two dogs, a cat and several chickens.
As a & # 39; dedicated vegan & # 39 ;, she spends a lot of time running eccentric and sometimes somewhat confused campaigns about what she considers to be the urgent issues of our time.
Not so long ago, for example, the 52-year-old Facebook used a bizarre worded call to the queen & # 39; killing bears & # 39; to stop.
Of course, Her Majesty never personally killed one. But the campaign focused on the Foot Guards of the Household Division, whose bear hat (often mistakenly called & # 39; busbies & # 39;) is made from the skins of black bears, which are cleared in Canada to control numbers. hold.
The RSPCA has rescued pets from malnutrition, care for injured wild animals and rescue centers. But hardliners have joined the charity, often with extreme views to take the lead, undermine policy and expand their influence (RSPCA Chief Inspector Sid Jenkins, 1987)
Tredgett therefore urged her friends to bomb Buckingham Palace with letters telling the queen that & # 39; killing bears should stop immediately & # 39 ;.
Shortly thereafter, she campaigned against the new £ 5 banknote from the Bank of England, which was made from talc to increase durability. & # 39; I avoid buying products with animal derivatives, so I shouldn't be forced to have them in my banknotes & # 39 ;, she announced.
Tredgett has also sent a large number of petitions, aimed at (among other things) restaurant chains that allegedly serve eggs from caged chickens, London Fashion Week for allowing fur on its catwalks, the government of India (where monkeys are supposedly culled), rabbit farms and circuses that use wild animals.
Jane Tredgett is a veteran animal rights activist. She is currently vice-president of the RSPCA, which has 1,750 employees and an annual budget of nearly £ 130 million
& # 39; What a terrible world we live in, & # 39; she once stated. & # 39; We destroy everything we touch and kill any animal for any reason when and when we deem it necessary. People are definitely the real vermin. & # 39;
Such views are of course widely supported by more fanatical proponents of the animal rights agenda. They see almost every interaction between humans and animals, from agriculture to medical research, trade in pets and even horse riding, as a legitimate target for righteous, sometimes violent outrage.
Tredgett, who works in executive training, has a very influential role in our public life.
Because the outspoken vegan with a preference for forbidding things has been on the ruling Trustees Council for almost 18 years for one of Britain's richest charities, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).
She is currently the vice-president of the organization, which has 1,750 employees and an annual budget of nearly £ 130 million.
In this role, they and other trustees are responsible for the charity's leadership and come together to decide on policy, strategy and the allocation of its funds.
All this leads us to the reason why Tredgett made headlines after being classified as one of the cabal of & # 39; radical animal rights activists & # 39; in the council accused of inducing the RSPCA to devote its resources to banning two of Britain's most popular sports: fishing and horse racing.
Not long ago, for example, Tredgett, 52, used Facebook to make a bizarrely worded call to the queen & # 39; deadly bears & # 39; to stop
They apparently asked for a ban at recent meetings of the policy committee.
For a casual reader, the idea that this so-called mainstream charity might even consider taking such a radical step may seem strange.
After all, the RSPCA has had a dear place in our national psyche for generations.
Formed in pre-Victorian times, when animal welfare meant that the occurrence of horses and donkeys was routinely beaten to death, life began as an enlightened extension of the anti-slavery campaign.
Indeed, it says a lot about Britain's affection for animals that the RSPCA was formed before the modern police force and dates back to the age of 60 of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
She also launched a campaign against the Bank of England's new £ 5 banknote, which is made of talc to increase sustainability. & # 39; I avoid buying products with animal derivatives, so I shouldn't be forced to have them in my banknotes & # 39 ;, they announced
Over time, the charity changed into a well-meaning organization that helped pets from malnutrition, cared for injured wild animals, and ran cat and dog rescue centers.
For many Britons and a large number of supporters, that remains the raison d & # 39; être of the RSPCA.
So what about finding a ban on fishing, a pursuit of four million Britons who work tirelessly to conserve fish stocks and preserve the rivers and lakes of the nation?
It is because of the dominance of the governing charity council by hardliners such as Tredgett – the result of nearly half a century & # 39; entryism & # 39 ;.
This is when an organized group, often with extreme views, joins a regular organization to take control, undermine policy, and expand their influence – just as the hard-left group moment has infiltrated the Labor party.
To date, radical animal rights activists in the council have been successfully opposed by moderate members who seek to alienate from his other RSPCA members, potential donors and the patron of the charity, the queen, a lifelong racing fan.
To date, radical animal rights activists in the council have been successfully opposed by moderate members who insist on not alienating a lifelong racing fan from his other RSPCA members, potential donors and the patron of charity, the queen.
Daniel Lyons (photo), a vegan academic from Yorkshire, has been on the council since 2015. He once described falling animal populations as & # 39; genocide & # 39 ;, he called on pet owners to be forced to take exams and believes that animals should be represented in Parliament
However, the delicate balance of power that has effectively blocked this radical agenda could be disrupted quickly.
To understand the power struggle, it is important to see how the 195-year-old charity is governed.
Important developments will take place today, when a small percentage of the 18,000 members of the RSPCA gather in Westminster for the organization's annual meeting.
After a speech by actor Brian Blessed, they will vote on a proposal to reduce the number of people on the organization's board of directors.
This is important because regional representatives – people who, as I am told, generally work in rescue centers or collect money in city centers, and who usually oppose controversial political campaigns – would no longer sit on the council.
In order to assess the possible implications, it is only necessary to look at the national councilors of the RSPCA, whose numbers are not affected, who sit next to Tredgett.
For example, Daniel Lyons, a vegan academic from Yorkshire, has been on the board since 2015.
Margaret Baker (photo) has argued for animal abuse to be & # 39; so punishable & # 39; as child abuse, and for police dogs that are given legal status similar to officers
He once described falling animal populations as & # 39; genocide & # 39 ;, called pet owners to take exams, found that animals should be represented in parliament, and was a former director of the radical Uncaged campaign group, who wanted foie gras banning and releasing animals from laboratories.
Then there is Margaret Baker, a badger enthusiast from Somerset who once issued a petition to ban halal slaughter (the method Muslims use to kill animals by cutting their throats), and said: & The world is beyond gone. It is no longer necessary to impose suffering to receive food. & # 39;
She has called for animal abuse to be & # 39; so punishable & # 39; to be child abuse, and to give police dogs the same legal status as officers.
Jo Piccioni, a Norfolk-based advocate of a sanctuary for animals & # 39; rescued from the agricultural industry & # 39;, played a key role in persuading the RSPCA to withdraw from Crufts due to concerns about the breeding of purebred dogs while David Thomas, an animal rights lawyer, is a member of the anti-horse-racing lobby group Animal Aid.
Baker once spread a petition to ban a halal (stock image) slaughter and said: & The world has gone further. It is no longer necessary to impose suffering to get food & # 39;
Joining them in the committee are Jose Parry, a sociologist who lobbyed for a public commemoration of anti-vivisection campaigners, Terry Pavey, a former TV Times editor who has written that he & # 39; is totally against pet trade in all areas & # 39 ;, and Christina Tomlinson, a member of PETA, the extremist pro-vegan lobby group who wants to ban not only horse racing but all forms of horse riding (because & # 39; horses deserve to live the way nature intended).
Politics & # 39; entryism & # 39; before the charity started in 1970, when a small number of militants formed the RSPCA Reform Group.
Previously, the charity focused on the non-glamorous business of running shelters and caring for pets or & # 39; companion animals & # 39 ;. It spent scarce resources on political campaigns.
The Reform Group hit on a simple but effective way to change this: they decided to set up a series of candidates who would seek the RSPCA council.
Jo Piccioni (photo), a Norfolk-based advocate of a sanctuary for animals & # 39; rescued from the agricultural industry & # 39;
In 1972, five of them did exactly that. And their coup got under way in 1976 when the most influential of their number, an academic named Richard Ryder, was first elected vice-president and a year later president.
Ryder, known as the & # 39; father & # 39; of the modern animal rights movement, has published influential books and essays that claim that animals are morally identical to humans and should never be used for food, clothing or pleasure. He thinks that people who disagree are guilty of & # 39; species-ism & # 39 ;, that he compares it to racism and sexism.
Under his chairmanship, the RSPCA began campaigning against field sports (he was previously neutral on the subject of fox hunting) and established well-funded PR and lobbying departments.
Ryder, an Oxford psychologist who is now 79, has remained a member of the RSPCA council for almost 50 years and helps generations of his supporters to also look for elections.
To this end, he seconded Jane Tredgett's appointment to the council when she stood for re-election in 2018. He also proposed the successful appointment of Daniel Lyons and a woman named Barbara Gardner (who wants to ban foie gras) and supported that of Christina Tomlinson.
Piccioni also played a key role in persuading the RSPCA to withdraw from Crufts (stock image) due to concerns about the breeding of purebred dogs.
Other official supporters of Tredgett were Peta Watson-Smith, a vegan who wants to banish the Grand National and once compared agriculture to the Holocaust, and told an interviewer: & I don't think people always appreciate what the holocaust is behind the back is closed doors. You talk about the Jews. This probably sounds like animal rights, but if you recognize animals as living things, why do we treat them so abominably on farms? & # 39;
During the RSPCA Council elections in 2017, Ryder proposed the nomination of anti-horse racing campaigner David Thomas, and seconded that of Piccioni, who was behind the Crufts movement.
Jose Parry (photo) is also a member of the committee, a sociologist who lobbyed for a public commemoration of activists against the vivisection.
& # 39; As long as someone can remember, the lists of election candidates have the same old names in their name, nominated by the same circle of Ryder and his buddies, & # 39 ;, that's what a former employee calls it. & # 39; Get his blessing and you are almost guaranteed to win. & # 39;
Of course there is nothing unusual about someone like Ryder looking for people with whom he agrees that he has been democratically elected for positions of power.
The way in which the elections for the RSPCA Council are organized, however, makes it surprisingly easy to shape its image.
Despite its huge financial resources (largely due to about £ 80 million a year that generous animal lovers neglect in wills), the RSPCA has relatively few members – 18,000 – compared to, for example, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, which has more than a million.
The number has roughly halved in the last two decades and it is unlikely that this will increase, as the charity rarely advertises for new members.
So the electorate for council posts is extremely small. Indeed, since the turnout is only around 20 percent, around 3,500 votes are enough to give someone a place on this enormously powerful body.
Richard Ryder is also known as the & # 39; father & # 39; of the modern animal rights movement. He joined the RSPCA in 1972, first elected as vice-president and, a year later, as president
And often there are few rivals for the post: the ballot paper of 2018 contained only six candidates, five of whom were elected. In 2017 there were seven candidates for five posts.
& # 39; The people I would describe as & # 39; Campaigners & # 39 ;, the animal rights party, are a colorful couple who tend to make their voices heard very well & # 39 ;, says a former charity advisor.
& # 39; They are much more geared to supporters and have people support them. The brave old people of the branches and animal centers simply do not have those skills, so they are rarely elected. & # 39;
There were signs of problems in the early 2000s, when the council appointed a tub-banging former Lib Dem MP, Jackie Ballard, as the RSPCA's chief executive. Among other things, she spent time lobbying the TV show I & # 39; m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here! for & # 39; encouraging mistreatment & # 39; of animals by allowing participants to eat insects.
In 2012, Gavin Grant, a former PR man from Lib Dem, was appointed for the best job. A favorite with the animal rights brigade in the council, he alienated the peasant community by boycotting and disgracing farmers who cooperated with badger waste by the government (saying they would sell & # 39; milk soaked in badger blood).
He has also upset the donors by spending what a magistrate a & # 39; staggering & # 39; Has named £ 327,000 to prosecute members of the Heythrop Hunt for illegal hunting.
Grant & # 39; s zeal for prosecuting pet owners (the RSPCA spends £ 9 million a year to bring people to court, and has recently become the nation's most productive prosecutor after the Crown Prosecution Service) soon to controversy.
David Thomas (photo), an animal rights lawyer, is a member of the anti-horse-racing lobby group Animal Aid
Partly the culprit was an episode with the Byrnes family from Tring, Hertfordshire. Their elderly cat, Claude, was wrongly seized in 2013 and put down against their wishes, in what an official report later a & # 39; travesty & # 39; called.
By 2013, the Charity Commission had started to closely monitor the RSPCA's affairs.
Grant stepped down in 2014, but after his replacement, Jeremy Cooper, gave an interview in the newspaper with the promise & # 39; we are going to be a lot less political & # 39; he was also forced by the council.
An interim replacement, Michael Ward, then received a pay-off of more than £ 150,000, so the council could appoint Chris Sherwood, who was considered popular with & # 39; campaigning & # 39; figures like Jane Tredgett.
He became the eleventh president in eleven years.
Ward's pay-off resulted in an official warning from the Charity Commission, which stated that trustees & # 39; had not acted with due care or ability & # 39; when they agreed.
At the Commission's request, the RSPCA was duly obliged to provide a & # 39; governance review & # 39; to be carried out.
It made around 40 recommendations, one of which required extensive reform of the RSPCA Council, halving the number of seats and resigning members for three years after nine years in office.
It is those well-meaning (but apparently counter-productive) changes that need to be voted on today.
How ironic – and sad – that they probably make Britain's greatest animal charity more than less dysfunctional.
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