As part of its new strategy the RSPCA has also announced it is exploring the transfer of its animal welfare prosecuting role to the CPS to focus on its frontline work rescuing and caring for animals and investigating cruelty.
The ambitions announced by the charity are:
RSPCA Chief Vet Caroline Allen said: "Our grassroots and frontline work will still be at the heart of what we do - as it has been since the RSPCA’s inception almost 200 years ago.
"The RSPCA recognises that we simply cannot perform our vital frontline work without the support and expertise of vets and vet nurses across the country. As part of this strategy we are aiming to strengthen these relationships and improve understanding and communication between the RSPCA and the veterinary professions.
"Vets and RVNs - both in private practice and within the RSPCA - play many critical roles; including providing veterinary care to abused animals rescued by the RSPCA, supporting our animal centres and our prosecution work, as well as reporting abused and neglected animals to us.
"We know that vets and RVNs want to have a better understanding of what they can expect from us and we will provide more clarity around what we are asking of vets when they treat our animals. We will continue to draw on and support the strong and growing evidence base in the profession in areas such as shelter medicine, veterinary forensics, clinical behaviour and accessible care.
"We know that the veterinary sector has had a tough year and we are very grateful for your continuing support of our work during the many challenges of the pandemic."
Commenting on the decision to look at transferring its animal welfare prosecuting role to the CPS, RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “We are proud of our history bringing animal abusers to justice and for many years we have been the right people to do this vital work. However, the world has changed and we have to change with it.
"We launched our new strategy this week and a key part of this is working in partnership with other organisations with the responsibility and expertise to support our work.
"The CPS is the statutory body with responsibility for taking prosecutions in England and Wales and by working more closely in partnership with them, we can free up resources to focus on our unique frontline investigation, rescue and care work, where we can make the most difference to animals.
"However, we reserve the right to take a prosecution in future if we feel that justice is not being done for animals."
The charity is also seeking statutory powers under the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for its frontline animal rescuers.
This means that they would be able to reach animals faster, allowing them to access private land and outbuildings, although crucially not homes, if there was a reasonable expectation that an animal was suffering.
These changes would bring England and Wales in line with Scotland and Ireland where the SPCAs have statutory powers and pass their cases to the state prosecutor.
To find out more and download the RSPCA’s new strategy, visit: https://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/strategy
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Publishing Editor: Arlo Guthrie
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