In Brief

RSPCA candidate compared farming to holocaust

Another animal rights activist seeking election as RSPCA trustee wants to set pets freed from 'leather nooses'

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The candidates running for a position on the council of Britain's oldest animal welfare charity include a man who thinks cats and dogs should be "freed from their chains" and a woman who equated farming to the Holocaust.

Thousands of RSPCA members will soon be voting to elect a new trustee responsible for overseeing the running of the charity as well as its £125-million-a year income, reports The Times.

The organisation says its 25 trustees, who can be ordinary members of the public, are "often called upon to make potentially difficult decisions regarding financial and ethical matters; therefore a trustee should be forthright and willing to discuss sensitive issues."

But a handful of the latest nominees have raised eyebrows with their extreme views on animal rights. Peta Watson-Smith, who is standing again after failing to win last year, caused outrage among the Jewish community with her comments on farming.

"I don't think people always appreciate what is the holocaust going on behind closed doors," she told The Times last year.  "You talk about the Jews."

The Jewish Vegetarian Society said that while it shared Smith's opposition to factory farming, "we do not believe anything positive can come from making comparisons with the holocaust."

Founders of the Centre for Animals and Social Justice, Dan Lyons and Angela Roberts, are also standing as candidates. They were previously part of the pressure group Uncaged, which compared acid attacks on people to the treatment of captive animals.

Another possible contender is John Bryant, a pioneering animal rights activist and former chief officer of the League Against Cruel Sports. In one of his books, he argues that dogs, cats and other pets must be freed "from the leather nooses and chains" that enslave them.

The results of the election will be announced at the charity's annual general meeting later next month.

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