RSPCA complains to the Press Complaints Commission about The Daily Telegraph

By Andy Ricketts, Third Sector Online, 23 January 2013

Gavin Grant

Gavin Grant

Chief executive Gavin Grant says the national newspaper has run factually inaccurate articles that smear the charity

The RSPCA is to submit a formal complaint to the Press Complaints Commission about The Daily Telegraph newspaper’s "potentially defamatory" coverage of the charity.

The animal charity said in a statement that the paper had printed stories that were "factually incorrect and reflect biased and unbalanced reporting style".

The statement said: "The articles show clear support for the political agenda of the Countryside Alliance in seeking the return of blood sports.

"We are referring in particular to the stories claiming we broke charity rules over the successful prosecution of a hunt and saying that we were warned on hunt prosecutions by the Charity Commission.

"The Charity Commission has been clear that no rules have been broken, no warning has been issued and at no stage have they been investigating the RSPCA."

The statement said the charity had not been offered an adequate right of reply.

The newspaper has written a large number of stories about the RSPCA since its successful private prosecution in December of members of the Heythrop Hunt.

An opinion piece by the Telegraph columnist Charles Moore, published on 4 January, was headlined "Our once great RSPCA is being destroyed by a militant tendency", and a blog by the historian and writer Ruth Dudley Edwards, published on 27 December, said the charity "has lost the plot"

Gavin Grant, chief executive of the RSPCA, said there had been a sustained attack on the charity.

"We simply want the truth to be heard," he said. "The Daily Telegraph is entitled to its editorial position in support of blood sports despite the overwhelming public rejection of that view. It is not entitled to produce factually inaccurate articles that smear the good name of the RSPCA."

Nobody from The Daily Telegraph was available for comment.

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