Whilst researching information on the rumoured investigation of the RSPCA by the Charity Commission for bringing the Heythrop Hunt to prosecution I came across an article written by an intern for a top natural newspaper. Fairly unremarkable, the article did however manage to surprise me. In the current manner of the RSPCA’s rivals it accuses them of  ’double standard’ and being ‘more interested in social class than animal rights’, picking and choosing amongst equally valid evidence to find cases in line with their political agenda. The surprising thing about the article was not its own political agenda but the hypocrisy of the piece spurning the RSPCA for spending time and resources on one ‘class’ of people whilst a second group  of people from a different ‘class’ are allowed to get away with cruelty yet it would seem as if the article is overly focus on the second group and is in my opinion a racially motivated tirade against a minority group who are counted on being unable to defend themselves, for the purpose of winning cheap support. The example group used is two Traveller families who appeared in the Channel 4 documentary Gypsy Blood. From what I know of Gypsy Blood it is nothing but a sickening, sensationalised monstrosity described by Channel 4 as:

an intimate portrait of two gypsy families, their fight for respect and the price they pay in cycles of revenge that can erupt into sudden and terrifying violence. Gypsy Blood is a haunting study of masculinity, violence and the uneasy relationship gypsy and traveller men have with their bare-knuckle traditions, and an insight into people living amongst a wider society but sometimes with values that are a world apart.

Featuring from all accounts cock fights and deer coursing. Two despicable crimes of immense cruelty that unfortunately the RSPCA were unable to prosecution anyone over due to a number of annoying little nuances in our legal system, the article explains itself that documentary footage itself was not enough without time, location and individuals, and warrants to search for further evidence were on at least one occasion denied. This is a tremendous shame and if something should be investigated it should be why this case could not be taken any further, likewise why the Heythrop Hunt have to be a private prosecution. The article fails to connect the similarities and illegality of both (fox) hunting with dogs and cockfighting, quoting Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance complaining about “clear animal cruelty”, and suggesting that if the RSPCA was interested in animal welfare they wouldn’t have focused their resources on the Heythrop Hunting, ignoring of course the intense cruelty involved in hunting foxes with dogs. I believe that Gypsy Blood and the RSPCA’s prosecution failure, although valid, was chosen not out of genuine concern for animal welfare but as a means to rally easy support. Playing on public misconceptions and hatred of a minority group, the piece was cowardly with few merit. Nobody is bigger than the law and I think people should remember this. I can only hope that the Heythrop prosecution has proven this, I just hope that all this negative press doesn’t damage the important work carried out by the RSPCA on a daily basis.


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