The RSPCA’s Facebook fan page has been hijacked by protestors criticising some of the charity’s practices.
Since the beginning of this month, protestors have been repeatedly posting critical comments about the RSPCA on its Facebook fan page.
Jayne Shenstone, chief executive of German Shepherd Dog Rescue, told Charity News Alert that protestors were able to take over the site over the bank holiday weekend whilst no moderator was monitoring the page. Shenstone has taken issue with the RSPCA's recent decision to euthanise ten German Shepherd dogs with a captive bolt.
Since then, some posts by Shenstone and other protestors have been deleted, however the detractors are continuing to voice their concerns via the official RSPCA Facebook fan page and those of RSPCA regional branches.
One protestor, Kathleen Moodie, wrote yesterday: “Can the moderator please explain why you keep removing the information I have supplied about the RSPCA not employing enough inspectors to meet demand. It is truthful and factual.”
In response, the RSPCA moderator said: “Kathleen - whether your belief is that the RSPCA does or does not employ enough inspectors, your post is being removed because it contains defamatory comments. Once those are removed, you will be able to express your opinion.”
Other concerns included the nature of the relationship between RSPCA's headquarters and its regional branches.
In response to concerns about the euthanasia method for the ten German Shepherd dogs, the RSPCA said: "In this extremely difficult situation, the dogs were aggressive and difficult to handle, restraining them and shaving a limb to prepare for the lethal injection would have caused them more even stress. It was therefore decided that using a captive bolt would be the quickest and most humane method."
The RSPCA added that its Facebook fan page existed for members to view information and updates as well as have open and frank discussions about animal welfare.
"The only moderation that has gone on has been to do with either foul or abusive language," said an RSPCA spokeswoman, "or abusive comments towards an individual or organisation - this has been clearly explained on the Facebook page."
Full details on RSPCA's Facebook moderation policy can be found on RSPCA's Facebook fan page under the discussion tab.
Further, an online petition urging the British government and Charity Commission to investigate the RSPCA has been launched by Keith Protheroe, another frequent commentator on the Facebook fan page, and has attracted more than 880 signatures in just under two weeks.
The petition accuses the RSPCA of systematically slaughtering healthy animals without trying to rehome or rehabilitate them.
An RSPCA spokeswoman said the charity was always happy to listen and take on board people's concerns.