There is no doubt that patronage from our Royal family is positive for hundreds of chosen charities and the endorsement of the RSPCA by H.M.The Queen, in place since it was first granted by Queen Victoria in 1937 has helped it raise substantial funds for animal welfare over the 79 years since.

However there is now speculation that RSPCA could become SPCA, given some of its recent activities, such as its successful if expensive prosecution of the Heythrop Hunt for the sick killing for pleasure that was once part of the English country scene, now illegal. Such moves, whilst doubtless welcome to many of their donors, have not earned them any friends amongst those Royals who openly support hunting, and have raised questions about the wisdom of the relationship.

There is a valid view that endorsement of animal welfare is inconsistent with support for hunting, and that this arguably two-faced approach does neither party any credit. The Royals, some say, should decide which is most important to them and act accordingly. And if this means withdrawing their valuable Royal patronage on such an important matter of principle then that might just be the best result all round.

And the RSPCA, some say, should bite the bullet and refuse future Royal patronage, if they have to abandon their principle of prevention of cruelty to all animals to keep it and start making exceptions with animals the Royals like to hunt.

Tough call, we’d say.

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