28 JULY 1928, Page 16


[To the Editor of the SPECTATOR.] SIR,—The delay which must occur before a General Meeting of the R.S.P.C.A. can be held gives time for tempers to, cool and for all parties to consider the interests of the animals themselves. It seems clear that the constitution of the. Society is obsolete. Might not the existing dissatisfaction, which is very widespread and is not confined to the extremists, be allayed and might not agreement and harmony be reached by the devising of a democratic constitution which would give all members an effective vote ?

Three types of constitution have to be considered. (1) The traditional constitution vests the power of electing the Council in the hands of a small and haphizard minority of members, namely, those who are in a position to attend an afternoon meeting in London. Such a meeting cannot be representative, and the arrangement must inevitably lead, sooner or later, to the difficulties which we are experiencing at present. (2) By Lord Banbury's proposed constitution the election Of the Council would in effect be vested in the sole hands of the Chairman for the time being. Proxy cards stamped on both sides at the Society's expense were issued to all members. The name of Lord Banbury as proxy was printed on these cards. The stamping of the cards imposed an obligation to return them ; few provincial members could find alternative proxies at short notice ; probably fewer still understood the effect of what they were asked to -do ; and the printing of Lord Banbury's name—an arrangement open to the strongest possible criticism in all the circumstances—had its inevitable, effect. • 'I-understand that if the proxies• go forward • Lord

Banbury can swamp all possible votes, so that there will be no need to put any resolution or election to the vote at the Annual Meeting. We shall merely ask Lord Banbury to decide the matter for us. (8) The only democratic method available in the circumstances is a fairly managed postal poll. It has been objected that this method involves blind voting, but the objection can be met by allowing each can- didate or his supporters to circulate an election address of five hundred words at the Society's expense. Frivolous can- didatures could be checked by requiring a dozen nominations for each candidate.—I am, Sir, &c., C. W. Hursx.

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