May 292015

There are thousands of animal welfare charities that compete for donations; but scratch the surface of some of them, and you might not like what you find. Are animals well treated? Are animals being bred to fund such ‘charities’, rather than encouraging animal sterilization and adoption? Are some so-called shelters asking for donations to ‘save’ animals with one hand sending animals to market and slaughter with the other hand? Some local charities have banded together to help would-be donors know what kind of organisations are out there. With thanks to Suzanne Kelly.


Geese at Willows Animal Sanctuary – Credit: Rob Scott for Aberdeen Voice.

In light of recent events, four well-known animal welfare charities have formed a new organisation known as RE.A.CH to represent ‘Reputable animal charities’.

The aim of RE.A.CH. is to set a ‘baseline’ standard of excellence that all members are required to meet. All members of RE.A.CH  are registered animal charities that conform to the following declaration:

  • They are No Kill
  • They will never deliberately breed from their animals.
  • They will not fund their rescues from the sale of animals.
  • Members will strive to provide the best environment for their rescues, the best veterinary care and when rehoming animals or releasing wildlife, to do this in the best interests of the animals involved.

A spokesperson for the group said:

The group has been set up to help assure the public that the support they give is being treated in a responsible and ethical manner. The public can be assured that animals that come into the care of any RE.A.CH member will be well looked after by knowledgeable, experienced people who have the ability to provide long term care for them.”

As the law stands anyone can set themselves up and call themselves a ‘sanctuary’. It is important to point out that these so called ‘animal rescues’ are not official charities, they are under no obligation to account for the funds they raise, how they are used, what they do with them or how they provide for the animals in their care.

It is disturbing  to see groups or individuals asking the public to fund their animals under the banner of ‘not for profit’ or for ‘a charitable cause’ when they may have questionable knowledge, no accountability and no set standards of care and in some cases little or no actual experience.

Often many of these rescues start off with good intentions, but soon run into problems through overcrowding, lack of experience and of course, lack of funding leading them on a very rapid descent where they are suddenly faced with outstanding vet and feed bills which soon becomes an animal welfare issue resulting in either the animals being put down, panic re-homing to unsuitable homes or other sanctuaries having to pick up the pieces.

We felt it necessary to form a charter outlining our responsibilities. All of us need the support of the general public to continue our existence, but we are constituted to do so in a responsible manner.”

The four founding members of RE.A.CH are:

  1. Blaikiewell Animal Sanctuary
  2. Halfpenny – Farm Animal Sanctuary
  3. The New Arc
  4. Willows Animal Sanctuary

Between them they currently care for over 1000 animals. The plan is to extend membership of the group to encompass other reputable animal welfare organisations who are prepared to meet the necessary criteria.

  • Comments enabled – see comments box below. Note, all comments will be moderated.

  3 Responses to “Reputable Animal Charities Initiative”

  1. I find it disgusting and absolutely shocking at how biased this paper is. I seen the remarks that your so called journalist made on one of the animal sanctuary sites, and it was disgusting. The woman that runs the sanctuary that is so very obviously being spoken about here, works very hard and does it all herself. Your (so called) journalist was invited up on more than one occasion. But she never turned up at all. So how she has the audacity to speak about sanctuaries this way, without knowing the facts is not only slander, but is very very poor journalism. I can only assume that she couldn’t find the time to leave the brewdog beer for long enough.
    I really really hope that some of the sanctuaries get together and sue this paper.

    ** [This comment is being published in full, in spite of obvious and valid reasons why some content contravenes publication criteria, as it has been published in full on a public facebook page. Therefore it appears futile to edit – Moderator]

    • For the benefit of readers, I believe Fiona must be talking about Northfield Animal Haven. As far as the article in question is concerned, it was a press release from other animal shelters – ones that do not sell animals at Thainstone to support saving other animals – and my name, Suzanne Kelly, was used in the article’s by line as ‘with thanks to’. I didn’t write the piece – which also appeared in local printed newspapers as well. But I stand by this initiative – who wouldn’t? – Suzanne

    • PS – readers who wonder whether the Aberdeen Voice was right to print this press release may be interested to know that the Press & Journal somehow found the same story to be newsworthy – . I look forward to reading Fiona’s criticism of the P&J’s Blair Dingwall, who has the byline for the story. Enjoy!

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>