The young bloke on the phone was chirpy: “I’m calling from the RSPCA,” he said. “Have you heard of what we do?” I certainly had.
“Yes,” I said, “and I’m not giving you anything.”
“Why’s that?” he asked, a bit miffed.
“Because you oppose a lot of things I do.”
Last time this happened, I had a couple of minutes of conversation with a guy who said he was a shooter, too, and that the RSPCA was still worth supporting. I pointed out that it opposed recreational hunting, and we talked about sourcing free-range meat, feral animal control and the like. In the end he went back to chasing donations for the organisation and I maintained my opposition to it.
This time, the fellow on the phone was quicker and more resolute. “What, like killing animals?” he shot back with some venom.
“Hunting animals,” I retorted and the phone went beep, beep, beep in my ear.
The RSPCA wants to ban recreational hunting, which it claims “cannot be justified”. Hunting with a rifle, bow hunting, using dogs to hunt pigs, duck hunting … it doesn’t matter what form of hunting it is, the RSPCA has general reasons why none should be allowed and specific reasons why each should be banned. Their website it chock full of anti-hunting statements.
The RSPCA doesn’t mind professional culling and other “humane” control methods, although interestingly I can find no reference to the dreaded 1080 poison on the site; do they quietly ignore its use, effectively condoning it?*
Of course, it is incumbent upon us to hunt legally and ethically, inflicting as little suffering as possible on any target animal. The RSPCA has a place in rooting out the people who don’t do the right thing. But it has no right to lump you and me into some generalised concept of cruelty based on a bizarre concept that animals should not be hunted.
The propaganda on the RSPCA website is plain. On hunting deer, the RSPCA states, “stalking followed by shooting ... seldom satisfies important requirements for the humane shooting of animals,” a lie that makes me furious because it implies the majority of deer stalkers, who are among the most precise and methodical of all shooters, are no good. And if they're no good, well, you know what the rest must be like...
The RSPCA is becoming more and more extreme. Until they accept that hunting is a legitimate activity, they cannot justify any support from the hunting community.
If your phone rings and some chirpy young thing who thinks you’re a monster asks you to donate to the RSPCA, try to waste more of their time than I managed. It might mean one less call they make that puts money in their anti-hunting coffers.
*After I wrote that comment, Guns in Australia sent the link to the RSPCA's stance on 1080, which includes the line, "we acknowledge that in many circumstances there is currently no alternative effective control method available". The RSPCA, however, does oppose 1080. I find it hard to reconcile this 'practical' position with the RSPCA's emotive position on hunting.