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RSPCA may lose royal patronage over countryside sports stance

The charity could lose royal support if it doesn’t return to its roots

The RSPCA could lose its royal patronage when Prince Charles becomes King, over concerns it is becoming too involved in the campaign against countryside sports.

The Queen is currently the Patron of the animal welfare charity however, according to reports, the Prince of Wales has privately raised “concerns” and disagrees with some of the organisation’s key policies. It has led to speculation that Charles would decline to support the charity when he becomes the monarch.

It would leave the RSPCA without royal patronage since Queen Victoria granted it in 1837 or a more junior member of the Royal Family would take on the role.

According to the reports, the Prince has been watching the charity’s activities closely with one source saying: “He wants it to be an effective animal welfare organisation but it has become something else.”

Prince Charles, who is actively involved in supporting farmers and environmental causes, has found himself against many of the charity’s messages. The RSCPA has previously campaigned against badger culling the UK, something the heir to the throne supports. He is understood to have been at loggerheads with the charity’s former CEO, Gavin Grant who said “Those who care will not want to visit areas or buy milk from farms soaked in badgers’ blood.”

In 2013, the Prince found issue with the prosecution of Heythrop Hunt members. The RSPCA was criticised by a judge over its prosecution costs, revealed to have been £326,000. The case against members of David Cameron’s local hunt saw some of the costs associated with bringing in external legal teams, despite the charity having its own in-house lawyers.

The Countryside Alliance, a group that promotes the interests of rural people, campaigns for country sports including hunting and shooting, both of which Prince Charles has long been a supporter. The Alliance’s chief executive, Tim Bonner, told the Sunday Telegraph: “Anyone considering taking on the patronage of the RSPCA would have to consider its future direction and whether it is going to continue down a radical campaign path.

“If it reverts to its traditional role as a welfare charity protecting animals I am sure nobody could have any reason not to support its work.”

The Prince of Wales, along with his wife Camilla and sons Princes William and Harry, have all previously been photographed taking part in the sports on The Queen’s Sandringham and Balmoral estates. Over the Christmas period, photos also emerged of the Earl and Countess of Wessex enjoying a day of the sport with their children.

Both Buckingham Palace and Clarence House have said there are no current discussions about the RSPCA’s future patronages. The Prince’s office said that the patronage has not yet “come up for review or consideration by Clarence House” as it is still held by The Queen.

As she enters her 90th year, Her Majesty has started to pass on a number of her patronages to other members of the royal family. Her husband Prince Philip, who will turn 95 this year, has also started to do the same.

Last month he passed the patronage of the Air Cadets to the Duchess of Cambridge, a role he had held for 63 years.

On the issue, the RSPCA has declined to comment on whether the Prince of Wales might decline its patronage and refused to mention the differing stances between the royal and the charity on various issues.

A spokeswoman for the organisation said it was “extremely proud that our royal patronage continues to this day” and paid homage to The Queen for “recognising the work we do for animal welfare.”

  • Karina1

    It is not a question of stance it is a question of what is right and what is wrong. Hunting with dogs was banned because it is simply medieval and ripping a fox to pieces is not accepted by the VAST majority of Brits. Charles will lose the little popularity he has if he

    • DenhTheBard

      I actually expected this after he tried to interfere with the hunting with dogs act. He’ll probably go the way of his great uncle Eddy

    • Rwth Hunt

      I think he probably needs reminding that hunting with dogs is illegal in this country, and an organisation supporting the law should be entitled to Royal patronage. I’m quite surprised by his stance on this. Despite other remarks, he’s not stupid, and will need to think it through from a different perspective. Riding around a jumps course at Badminton down the road, should be enough excitement for anyone. As for the badger cull, it is not very successful despite several years of trying it.

      • RAINBOW44100

        It’s the fact that they are becoming political and militant that concerns him, and many others. Hypocrites, like many commenting on here.

  • angela cowling

    It is a well known fact that Camilla was/is an avid fan of chasing a small wild animal, and then watch it be ripped to shreds – alive – by semi-feral dogs. Of course, the weak Prince Charles would have to agree with her that that is nothing short of ‘fun’, because he wouldn’t dare do anything else. He has definitely lost my vote as far as his personality goes. She lost mine when Diana passed away.

    • DenhTheBard

      Unfortunately you don’t vote for Kings, to paraphrase Monty Python and The Holy Grail. We get a head of state where strange men in pointy hats distribute sceptres.

  • Prince Charles is an irrelevance. SPCA will be here long after he is forgotten.

    • Ken Hebbes

      It’s the SSPCA in Scotland, and it’s doing fine without the ‘R’.

  • Pinola

    The RSPCA is being true to its roots. It’s about the prevention of cruelty to animals. That means all animals. Doesn’t matter who the perpetrator is.

  • Sophie Hawthorne

    Charles is just another deluded member of an anachronistic and largely parasitic institution and has no place as a patron of an organisation formed to prevent cruelty to ALL animals. Charles, with his reputation as a foolish buffoon, should perhaps keep his crackpot opinions to himself as, regarding BLOODSPORTS, he is very much in a minority and as far as the senseless killing of badger he flies in the face of all genuine scientific analysis.

  • sswrexham

    Thats prince charles trying to interfer again.
    As he is a big fan of animal cruelty, hunting and shooting the RSPCA would be better off without him.
    I think prince charles needs to be put in his place and reminding he works for the british public who are against animal cruelty.

    • RAINBOW44100

      Animal cruelty is one thing but hunting and fishing/shooting are no crueller than farming/abattoirs. In fact they are a lot less cruel. It’s an old cliche but unless you’re vegan you are a willing participant in animal cruelty and have no business criticising what others do.

  • Anne presley

    Well done to the RSPCA I think it will have more members because of its stand. I’ve now applied to join to support them and I’m sure many others will as they are right in what they do. You either agree to fight cruelty or not. The type of animal is irrelevant. All animals feel
    Pain so their protection is necessary! Well done RSPCA !!!!

  • robert

    The Fox is an animal and a native one at least to the UK.

  • Jimbo

    If the RSPCA is more interested in keeping it’s name than it is saving the animals then I’ll simply stop supporting the RSPCA. But I’d hope the public outcry would be loud enough that this would never happen. They could always call it the “Respectful Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals” – just as good. Sod the monarchy and their unhelpful involvement in the world.

  • DenhTheBard

    Go ahead, it just shows how irrelevant the monarchy is. They’ll do just fine without them.

  • Paul McGrath

    Go away and do nothing, except be cruel to animals, somewhere else ya parasite

  • Ros Curwood

    Perhaps threatening the RSPCA might be unwise since it is upholding the law and furthering its remit. Perhaps the royal family needs to remember the source of its wealth.

  • Scott Quine

    It amuses me that most comments have a misguided focus as most of these do. The true focus would be to establish support outside of the elites and then be able to absorb a loss of funding. In regards to royalty and nobles that is another topic entirely and one that is long overdue in being addressed.

  • Eileen Bates

    Dont need him then if thats his attiitude. He needs to drag himself into the 21st century.

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