The RSPCA has taken a highly political position on animal rights protests over the badger cull, calling for a boycott of farm produce. The Department of Justice is now to review its benevolent view of the charity.
Sir Edward Garnier, former Solicitor General, rose in the Commons a few days ago and pointed out that the RSPCA is treated with rare generosity by judges.
‘When the RSPCA loses cases because it has got either the law or the facts wrong, cost orders are never made in favour of the successful defendant,’ noted Sir Edward.
When the Crown Prosecution Service loses cases, as sometimes happens, it tends to have costs awarded against it. This deters gung-ho prosecutors from bringing cases at the drop of a hat.
Yet when the RSPCA loses a case, costs are frequently paid from state funds. Quite how much we are not told. MPs have tried to extract statistics without success, but judges seem invariably to sympathise with the RSPCA because, well, it’s such a good cause, isn’t it?
It certainly used to be. But what if the public starts thinking less well of it for encouraging animal rights hardliners? Or for becoming a vexatious litigant?
Recently the RSPCA pursued a case against a man from the Heythrop hunt (perhaps not least because it is in David Cameron’s constituency). Big costs were incurred. Much stress was caused to the defendants. Then the case fell at a pre-trial hearing and costs of several thousand pounds were met from the public purse rather than the RSPCA.
|EXPENSIVE RSPCA LAWYERS AT THE PUBLIC'S EXPENSE|