Britain’s biggest anti-hunting charity is said to be in meltdown as it is labelled a “parasitic organisation” by saboteurs who have refused to co-operate with it.
The League Against Cruel Sports, which has dismissed a number of senior figures in recent months, is suffering a split between the hard line activists and the new leadership of the charity, which includes retired police and army officers.
Former supporters have accused the charity of of failing to take action to protect animals and of ousting anyone who dares to ask questions about the direction it is taking, with some suggesting that it has been “infiltrated”.
The league has responded in a series of bizarre statements and social media messages, saying that there is a “campaign” against them.
The crisis has led to intervention from the Charity Commission, which said that a “serious and damaging dispute” is underway and had resulted in it offering “formal regulatory advice”.
Local saboteurs groups have now refused to co-operate with the league, which has previously taken the lead on prosecutions of hunts, accusing it of using information that they have gained on the ground to promote themselves and “leech” resources from activists.
As well as terminating the appointment of 11 directors and one secretary last year alone, the league last month ousted vice presidents Peter Egan, the Downton Abbey star, and author Penny Morgan.
Mr Egan, a well-known animal rights, said that he had “joined a group of dissenters” who had been forced out as he “wanted an open and transparent discussion”.
It came after trustees Chris Williamson, the Labour MP who led the league for a decade, and Simon Russell, who sits on the Hunt Saboteurs Association committee, were both forced out.
Ms Morgan said she had been pushed out “for daring to ask some questions about what’s going on in a wonderful animal charity that seems to be suffering upheavals”.
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