An animal rights radical standing for election to the national council of the RSPCA has called for all pets to be neutered.
John Bryant, a veteran campaigner, said he wants pet ownership to be ‘phased out’ and all breeding ended.
Mr Bryant is one of a number of radicals hoping to be elected to the council of RSPCA trustees, in a vote held this month.
Veteran campaigner and radical, John Bryant, is standing for election to the national council of the RSPCA
The charity’s 22,000 members will vote to fill five of 25 seats on the council. Of the eight candidates, five has a history of radical views on animal rights.
The RSPCA has been criticised in the past for pursuing a ‘political’ agenda, including prosecuting fox hunts rather than focusing on animal welfare.
Television cook and rural campaigner Clarissa Dickson Wright called in 2013 for people to stop donating to the charity until it ended ‘threatening policies’.
Countryside campaigners last night warned that the upcoming elections may spell an acceleration of a radical agenda.
Mr Bryant is one of the more radical of the candidates, who wants pet ownership phased out in the coming years.
In his 1982 book Fettered Kingdoms, he compared pet keeping to slavery, writing: ‘Let us allow the dog to disappear from our brick and concrete jungles — from the leather nooses and chains by which we enslave it.
‘The cat, like the dog, must disappear. We should cut the domestic cat free … The right of every single fish to live out its life as nature intended is an animal rights issue.’
Mr Bryant, a ‘humane’ pest controller who has previously served twice on the RSPCA council, told the Daily Mail that his views had changed little in the last three decades.
‘My views in 1982 have been tempered, a bit, but they are still the same essentially,’ he said.
‘Some people say I want to take all animals out into the middle of nowhere and let them go. That is rubbish, of course.
‘I have two dogs myself, I have never been without pets.
‘I think it is the duty of anyone who is involved in animal rights, if they are able, to take animals out of kennels and pens.’
But Mr Bryant, who was previously chief officer of the League Against Cruel Sports, added: ‘The human race has been a disaster for the animal kingdoms of the planet. Animals have been enslaved and they have been dominated by the human race.
‘If I was king of the world I would say that all domestic pets should be neutered. The overpopulation of pets in this country is a disgrace.
‘I was talking about releasing animals from the shackles of human control, not in a literal sense of letting them go, but neutering them, taking care of the ones we have got, and starting to deal with the massive overpopulation problem that is dominating animal welfare.’
The winners of the election will become trustees of the charity with responsibility for its leadership, direction and the use of its £125 million-a-year income.
Also standing for election are Dr Dan Lyons and Angela Roberts who run the Centre for Animals and Social Justice in Sheffield.
Their think tank is working on research into ‘democratic theory and practice in relation to the representation of animals’ interests’.
Their proposals include having seats in parliaments for representatives who will solely act on the behalf of animals.
In his election statement, Dr Lyons describes hunting as ‘institutionalised sadism that has no place in a civilised society’.
Peta Watson-Smith, a vegan, compared the farming industry to the Nazi holocaust. Speaking to The Times [must credit], she said: ‘I don’t think people always appreciate what is the holocaust going on behind closed doors. You talk about the Jews.’
Tim Bonner, director of campaigns at the Countryside Alliance, said that the RSPCA had started to rebuild its reputation and finances by trying to focus on core animal welfare issues.
He told The Times: ‘It would be a significant backward step to elect on to its council people determined to return the society to an extremist agenda.’
A spokesman for the RSPCA said: ‘The RSPCA’s Council comprises up to 25 members elected to serve as charity trustees.
‘Council members are elected by the votes of the whole RSPCA membership and serve for three years, retiring on a rotational basis.
‘This year there are eight candidates for five seats. The candidates are responsible for their own election addresses and the views and opinions they express are clearly their own.
‘It is for the RSPCA’s membership to decide which candidates are best suited to serve on the Council and to fulfil the role of a charity trustee.’
The results of the election will be announced at the RSPCA’s AGM next month.