The RSPCA and RSPB have offered to show the minister for civil society how they carry out their charitable objectives after he used them as examples of charities that have strayed from their mission.
In an interview with Civil Society News last week, Rob Wilson, said: “The public are fairly surprised and shocked when they [charities] don’t deliver any services at all. Most people would think that charities are set up to bring relief.
“I heard one of my constituents talking about the RSPB saying they don’t do much conservation. And while once the RSPCA was regarded as an organisation where if you found a stray animal you would take it along, there’s now some concern that they are just a campaigning organisation.”
'We do ruffle some feathers'
Both charities refute the assertion and have extended an offer to see what their charities do first-hand.
Martin Harper, the RSPB’s conservation director, said: "We hope that the minister's comments on the RSPB have been misreported as they seem to be based more on anecdote rather than evidence.
“Our chief executive will be writing to Mr Wilson to ask him to clarify what he said and will also invite him to one of our 200-plus nature reserves, encourage him to meet some of the children we've been working hard to connect to nature, or perhaps visit one of our major conservation projects where we've worked closely with big business.
“Not everyone likes everything we do in pursuit of our charitable mission and occasionally we do ruffle a few feathers, but the RSPB has more than a million members who are proud of what we do and we would welcome the opportunity to discuss with the minister how we can fulfil our charitable objectives even more effectively."
An RSPCA spokesman said: “Conservative MP Rob Wilson is welcome to join the RSPCA for a day with a member of our inspectorate; animal centre staff or veterinary team to see our work first hand. We are extraordinarily proud of our staff and volunteers who work day in, day out to protect animals, and extremely grateful to the generosity of our supporters and donors who have allowed us to work on behalf of animals for nearly 200 years.
“We receive 1.2 million calls for help every year and deal with the most abused and neglected animals. In 2014 we rescued 127,321 wild, exotic, farm and domestic animals from dangerous and distressing situations; carried out 179,693 treatments to help rehabilitate wildlife and domestic animals and rehomed and released 68,946 animals.
“While we do not deal with ‘stray animals’ - as this is a service paid for by taxes via local authorities - we are the largest animal welfare charity that rescues, rehabilitates and rehomes all animals as well as bringing animal abusers to justice - just as we were founded to do in 1824.”