By NICK CRAVEN and LYNNE WALLIS
The RSPCA destroys nearly half the animals it ‘rescues’ each year, with thousands being put down for non-medical reasons, shocking figures obtained by The Mail on Sunday reveal.
The animal-welfare charity destroyed 53,000 animals last year – 44 per cent of those it took in – leading critics to claim that the organisation spends too much time on prosecuting cases of neglect and cruelty and not enough on finding new homes for animals.
The charity insists the vast majority of the animals were put down to end their suffering, but it admits that last year alone 3,400 animals were destroyed for ‘non-medical’ reasons, such as the lack of space in kennels and catteries.
In 2009, the RSPCA, which is one of Britain’s biggest charities and receives £120 million a year in donations, stopped accepting stray animals and unwanted pets.
The number of animals re-homed has dropped from 70,000 in 2009 to 60,000 last year, while the number of convictions secured has leapt by 20 per cent. Figures obtained for the past five years show that 46 per cent of animals rescued by the charity were put down.
And today, The Mail on Sunday reveals a whistleblower’s account, raising concerns – denied by the organisation – that the charity kills more healthy animals than necessary.
Former RSPCA inspector Dawn Aubrey-Ward, who worked for the organisation from 2008 to 2010, said she came across numerous examples of animals destroyed because there was no room for them in shelters.
‘If there wasn’t any room in the nearby RSPCA home or one of a number of approved charities, we were supposed to euthanise them,’ she claims.
The RSPCA insists that euthanising animals is always a ‘last resort’, but a Mail on Sunday investigation has unearthed others criticising the charity’s approach.
Kent vet David Smith, who worked for the organisation for 12 years, said: ‘It seems to be all about prosecuting people now.
‘The RSPCA seems to have lost sight of its role as a charity that was set up to help people and animals.’
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