"Charity Begins At Home" - Smith Backs SSPCA

03 February 2009
Scottish National Party MEP and member of the European Parliament's Agriculture Committee Mr Alyn Smith has today (Tuesday) thrown his weight behind the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in their dispute with the England and Wales RSPCA.

Smith spent a day of his annual work experience programme shadowing an SSPCA inspector and has been supportive of the SSPCA ever since.

Smith has also written to the Chief Executive of the England and Wales RSPCA asking them to add a clear rider to all their promotions material which makes explicit that they do not operate in Scotland, and to return any money donated from Scotland to the SSPCA.

Mr Smith will also explore with the European Commission whether the current RSPCA advertising actually breaches EU consumer protection rules.

Smith said:

"I saw for myself on my day of work experience that the SSPCA does some fantastic work, without public funding, as Scotland's animal emergency service. It is galling to see that undermined by an organisation which should surely be supportive.

"It would be reasonable for anyone thinking of making a donation to the RSPCA to assume that it is going towards local animals, but for the RSPCA to solicit donations in Scotland without making clear that there are no RSPCA operations north of the border is plain misleading, and I suspect in breach of the EU consumer protection legislation. I myself had a scan of the RSPCA website this morning and their donations page makes no mention of the fact they do not operate in Scotland.

"Part of me would be relaxed, given that the money raised is going to alleviate animal suffering, but this actually undermines the work of the SSPCA and that is not fair."