The RSPCA’s last hunting prosecution has collapsed, leaving its controversial policy of prosecuting hunters seemingly abandoned.
On 18 March the charity discontinued its action against William Bryer, master and huntsman of the Cattistock hunt in Dorset.
Mr Bryer had been due to stand trial in April for hunting a wild animal with dogs, under the 2004 Hunting Act.
His prosecution was based on video evidence collected by another animal rights group, the International Fund for Animal Welfare, but it was heard that there was no evidence on which the prosecution could legitimately continue.
Mr Bryer said: “In the 10 years since the Hunting Act came into force no one involved with the Cattistock hunt has been convicted of breaking the law.
“I am very pleased that the RSPCA has finally seen sense and dropped the case against me, but there was never any justification for it in the first place.”
The RSPCA now has no outstanding cases against hunts. The Countryside Alliance’s Tim Bonner said he hoped the charity would not involve itself in such cases again “There is a clear conflict of interest in a political campaigning organisation bringing prosecutions of this sort.
“The RSPCA should take the advice of its own independent reviewer and leave such allegations to be independently considered by the police and Crown Prosecution Service.”