Royal SPCA of Britain, world’s wealthiest humane society, will lay off staff

From ANIMAL PEOPLE,  June 2012:

Royal SPCA of Britain,  world’s wealthiest humane society,  will lay off staff

LONDON-Struggling with a revenue decline of about £4 million per year since 2008,  and an
operating deficit of £7.3 million in 2011,  the Royal SPCA of Britain–the wealthiest humane society in the world–is following three years of downsizing with a new round of budget cuts and staff reductions.
RSPCA financial statements indicate that a decline in legacy income is the biggest factor
in the economic crunch.  Donations from individuals have increased since 2008,  albeit in
response to greater investment in fundraising.
“The RSPCA has already introduced a series of cost-cutting measures,  and budgeted to
spend almost £10 million less in 2011 than in 2009,”  an RSPCA media statement acknowledged on March 30,  2011.
“However,  the impact of inflation and a growing staff pension fund deficit caused by flat
investment returns leaves the organisation facing tough choices.”  The RSPCA statement also mentioned “ever-larger numbers of animals” arriving as “victims of the economic climate,” and “rising fuel costs and veterinary bills.”
The RSPCA claimed a 31% rise in calls about abandoned animals since 2007.  The previous downsizing centered on an RSPCA policy decision to “prioritize” shelter admissions at the 17 RSPCA-operated shelters  to “RSPCA-generated” animals,  arriving as result of rescues and investigations.  Pets surrendered by their keepers were to be directed elsewhere if the RSPCA shelters were full.  The policy did not apply to the then-169 RSPCA affiliate shelters, now reduced to 166.
BBC Channel 4 described the “prioritizing” policy as “part of a £54 million savings scheme over three years,”  instituted “after donations fell in the recession.”
While “prioritizing” reportedly brought a 10% reduction in the number of animals handled by the RSPCA,  it also appears to have brought a 10% reduction in adoptions,  from circa 70,000 in 2007 to 64,086 in 2011.
“We have already saved millions of pounds through a series of cost-cutting measures,” RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant said,  “but we’ve had to eat into our financial reserves as the economic slump has been deeper and longer than feared.  Significant job losses in administrative areas are sadly inevitable,” Grant acknowledged,  “but I will protect frontline animal welfare services.”
The RSPCA anticipates “restructuring and a reduction of more than 130 posts, particularly in administration and support roles,  although staff at all levels could be affected,” according to the media statement.  The RSPCA had 1,482 employees at the close of fiscal 2011, including 460 inspectors,   animal welfare officers,  and animal collection officers, among a total of about 1,000 staff classified as “frontline.”
Added RSPCA director of communications David Bowles,  “International work will continue and will focus mainly on East Asia and central Europe.”
The financial crunch is an early test of Grant’s leadership.  Grant,  56,  in January 2012 succeeded Mark Watts,  who retired after 32 years at the RSPCA,  concluding with four years at the top.  Grant was RSPCA director of campaigns and communication from 1988 to 1991.  “A staunch supporter of a fox-hunting ban,”  according to a 2005 profile by Richard Cann of PR Week,  Grant was noted during his first tenure at the RSPCA for a 1989 ad “which depicted a mountain of dead dogs,”  published as part of “a campaign to introduce dog licences which got him thrown out of Crufts,”  the most prestigious dog show in Britain,  “with the media looking on.”
Grant then spent eight years with the Body Shop cosmetics and personal care products chain,  including doing damage control after two-time Emmy Award-winning ABC and NBC television news producer Jon Entine in 1994 exposed misleading Body Shop claims about being “against animal testing.”
Wrote Entine in the journal Business Ethics,  “In an internal memo dated May 19, 1992,  the Body Shop’s purchasing manager acknowledged that 46.5% of its ingredients had been tested on animals,  up from 34% the year before.”
Grant left the Body Shop several years before founder Anita Roddick sold the company to the French firm L’Oreal,  a longtime target of PETA boycotts,  for $1.14 billion.  Before rejoining the RSPCA,  Grant was United Kingdom chair for the public relations firm Burson-Marsteller,  where he founded a “corporate responsibility unit.”
Notorious for representing the now deposed dictatorships that formerly ruled Argentina,  Chile,  El Salvador,  Indonesia,  and Nigeria,  Burson-Marsteller has also represented the State of Alaska in defense of killing wolves to make more moose and caribou available to human hunters;  Monsanto in defense of bovine growth hormone;  the pregnant mares’ urine industry; five of the eight top corporate users of animals in product testing;  and the Fur Information Council of America.

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