The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is the oldest animal welfare charity in the world, and the largest in the UK. Our founders include William Wilberforce; while he is more widely known for his part in the abolition of slavery, Wilberforce’s involvement in the establishment of the (then) SPCA illustrates the strong connection in our founders’ minds between all types of cruelty, and the common need to end them. You can see a short video sketching our evolution here, or a more general overview of our purpose here.
Today, the RSPCA is a major organisation, turning over more than £140m per annum and operating through two complementary and affiliated structures – the national organisation, and around 155 local branches. Branches and HQ work closely together to advocate, raise funds and undertake practical operations to alleviate the suffering of animals. Click here to read our Trustees’ Annual Report 2018.
We undertake some of the most difficult and controversial work in animal welfare, but we believe that it is vital that someone stands up to be counted. Our strategic aim is to decrease the need for our intervention, by influencing people to change the way they behave towards animals – thus reducing demand. Sometimes, the most effective approach to eliminating cruelty is not always obvious, or easy for people to understand, and we are committed to supporting our Inspectorate as it continues to make these challenging and complex decisions.
A good example is prosecutions. Once a very major part of our work, used to prevent suffering both now and in the future, prosecutions have reduced by 50%. This does not mean that we are any less active or less engaged; rather, our increasing awareness of the complex connections between poverty, mental health difficulties and cruelty to animals is leading to more nuanced approaches in partnership with housing associations, environmental health officers, and other organisations.
As we strive to make the Society the very best it can be, we are looking inwards as well as outwards. Led by our new Chief Executive, and with a new Board in place from October , we are modernising the way we do things. Our vision is ambitious and progressive and our programme of change is making rapid and effective profess in transforming the Society. We are an organisation with a clear, defining mission and a staff who passionately share our sense of purpose. We recognise that everything we achieve is underpinned by the passion, talent and sheer determination of our people, who are dedicated to preventing cruelty to animals.