RSPCA targets new donors for animal welfare bill mailer

LONDON - Animal welfare charity the RSPCA is to target 400,000 of its most recent donors by mail, in an attempt to ensure the government's proposed animal welfare bill passes through Parliament later this year.

Whitewater, which handles all of the RSPCA's direct mailing activity, has devised two different creative treatments designed to encourage young and old donors to support the charity's key objectives.

Both leaflets will ask readers to support the campaign to ensure the government sticks to its pledge to strengthen animal welfare legislation. The first leaflet, aimed at older readers, will focus on the charity's heritage, while the second highlights the RSPCA's most recent successes.

The mailings are the final part of a two-year campaign devised by Whitewater to support the RSPCA's work to improve animal rights legislation. The strategy has included cold mailings, door-drops and inserts.

Brendon Elliott, donor development manager at RSPCA, said: "Through this campaign -- and all those that have preceded it -- we've been aiming to give animal lovers a real part to play in helping to ensure that the bill is passed as soon as possible and provides greater protection for pets."

The new animal welfare bill, which was first published in July 2004, is designed to bring in tougher penalties for serious and ongoing neglect to animals, and is the first review of pet law in 94 years.

Fines of up to £20,000, maximum jail terms of 51 weeks and a life ban for owning pets could be introduced under the proposals. Under current legislation, the maximum penalty is £5,000 and six months' imprisonment.

The bill will also give enforcers like the RSPCA more power to intervene in cases where animal owners are suspected of neglecting their pets. Under current law, pet owners can only be prosecuted once an offence has occurred.

Elliott added: "The animal welfare bill will be the most significant piece of animal welfare legislation for almost half a century and that's clearly something of real interest to our supporters."

The bill completed its second reading in the House of Lords on April 18, and the RSPCA wishes to see it come into effect by the end of the year.

Whitewater have also run campaigns for Christian Aid, the RSPB, Shelter and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

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