05An independent report into the RSPCA’s prosecution strategy has condemned the charity’s approach as “unstructured and haphazard” and has called for it to leave hunting suspects alone.

The report, compiled by former Crown Prosecution Service investigator Stephen Wooler, recommends that most hunting prosecutions be handed over to police and the CPS. Other prosecutions should also be curtailed to avoid conflict with the RSPCA’s campaigning activities.

The Countryside Alliance said this confirmed it had been right all along over the RSPCA’s prosecution policy. Campaigns director Tim Bonner said: “Stephen Wooler’s report vindicates our position and accepts nearly every concern that we raised in relation to RSPCA prosecutions.

“Of course the RSPCA can improve the way it prosecutes but the real question is whether it should prosecute at all. Relying on private prosecutions to deliver animal welfare laws is a 19th century solution to a 21st century problem.

“We remain convinced that it would be better for both animals and people if the RSPCA left prosecution to the CPS. If however it is determined to continue to act as a campaigning organisation, investigator and prosecutor there must be clarity about its status and role.”


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