The RSPCA is a very large, very wealthy and very powerful organisation. It effect it acts as a private police force in matters relating to animal welfare. According to the 2010 Report & Accounts for this charity it has over £90 million in investments and an annual income of nearly £110 million.
Benfleet animal sanctuary is closing. Closing because the RSPCA wants it to close:
David Bowles, head of communications for the society, said: "There is a thin line between people wanting to do their best for animals and them getting into difficulties.
"When these places are set up, they get a reputation locally and get more people giving animals to them. Things can spiral out of control very quickly. That is when we tend to get called in.
"A lot of people may have run sanctuaries for a long time. They are getting old. They can no longer raise the funds that they used to raise. They can no longer feed the animals they used to feed."
Maybe it's competition, perhaps this is just bureaucratic jobsworthiness, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't need to happen. Rather than beating up the owners of sanctuaries with the law:
But their life's work came to an abrupt end after the RSPCA visited on a routine inspection and accused them of animal cruelty.
Although they denied all the charges, they did not have the resources for a costly court case. To their continuing anguish, they agreed to close down the sanctuary and get rid of all the animals, in exchange for the case being dropped.
Maybe, just maybe, the RSPCA might like to consider dipping its paws into that nest egg of 'investments' - investments that were provided by the generosity of the charity's donors - to support sanctuaries rather than acting like the worst sort of bureaucratic nightmare and closing them down?