Backlash as BBC star Chris Packham is appointed RSPCA chief despite outspoken eco-warrior’s string of controversies including taking part in Extinction Rebellion demo
- Springwatch presenter was ‘thrilled’ to be appointed to the prestigious position
- The Countryside Alliance criticised the move, calling him a ‘controversial figure’
- The 62-year-old had faced calls to be sacked for urging people to join XR event
The BBC’s Chris Packham is facing a backlash after the outspoken eco-warrior was appointed as the RSPCA’s new chief.
The Springwatch star, 62, said he was ‘thrilled’ to be appointed president of the animal welfare charity after the announcement was made during this year’s Chelsea Flower Show.
Packham and the RSPCA have now come under fire for the move, branded ‘strange’ and ‘controversial’.
The BBC star has sparked a string of controversies over the years, mostly recently taking part in an Extinction Rebellion protest in London and urging his Twitter followers to join the eco-zealots. He previously also branded government officials ‘brutalist thugs, liars and frauds’ in 2013 on the eve of a cull to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis, and branded game shooters ‘psychopaths’ in an interview with the Badger Trust website.
Countryside Alliance chief executive Tim Bonner told MailOnline: ‘This is a strange decision from an organisation which has done so much to rebuild its reputation over recent years.’
Calling Packham ‘a controversial figure’, he added: ‘By linking itself to Mr Packham the RSPCA will be alienating many people who have an important role in protecting the welfare of both domestic and wild animals.
BBC star Chris Packham, 62, has been appointed as the new president of the RSPCA. But the move has triggered a backlash from the head Countryside Alliance who branded the presenter a ‘controversial figure’ and criticised the RSPCA for appointing him to the prestigious role
Chris Packham is pictured on the fourth day of The Big One climate change protest outside parliament, staged by Extinction Rebellion in April 2023
‘It is disappointing to see the RSPCA slipping backwards after travelling a long road back to reason and respectability in recent years’.
A spokesperson for the RSPCA told MailOnline: ‘We work with a huge range of individuals and organisations to improve animal welfare. We are really excited to welcome Chris Packham as President of the RSPCA.
‘Chris is much loved and a well respected voice for all animals who speaks to a wide range of society.
‘Like us, Chris is ambitious for animals and we have a huge amount we want to achieve by 2030 and beyond, and his passion and expertise will help us get there. He has been a Vice President at the RSPCA for almost 15 years now and during his time in this official role he has supported the RSPCA with countless projects spanning across all our work.
‘Stepping up into the Presidential role is a natural next step and we are looking forward to working with him closer to create a better world for animals.’
Packham’s representatives have been contacted for comment.
Packham previously triggered controversy after branding government officials ‘brutalist thugs, liars and frauds’ in a series of tweets.
BBC bosses launched an investigation into the posts following a complaint by the Countryside Alliance which claimed they went against the corporation’s impartiality rules.
It found Packham breached a BBC voluntary code of conduct as the tweets were not politically neutral.
Packham last month faced calls to be sacked after he urged his followers to join XR eco-zealots in a four-day protest outside Parliament . The nature lover asked his Twitter followers to attend the eco rally from April 21-24, in London, sparking furious backlash online.
After his tweet, the BBC stressed that ‘social media guidance for freelancers is ongoing’. But followers of Packham said the BBC Springwatch co-presenter should be ‘sacked’ and accused him of ‘using your celebrity platform to cause mayhem and disruption’.
Packham urged other environmentalists to come together as Extinction Rebellion demands ministers to enter negotiations for a citizens’ assembly and an end to the ‘fossil fuel era’.
Packham said: ‘It’s the Big One. Yes it’s the Big One that we’ve all been waiting for. A family-friendly affair, lots of fantastic events, fantastic speakers and most important of all some fantastic ideas. How we can change the world to make it a better place for people and wildlife and we can secure its future too.
‘I’m going to be there on the 22nd, it’s Biodiversity Earth Day, chipping in on that account. I hope to see you.
Chris faced calls to be sacked after urging his followers on social media to support the XR event, amid accusations he had breached BBC impartiality guidelines
The RSPCA is preparing to mark its 200th anniversary in 2024. Mr Packham had previously been the charity’s vice-president for 15 years.
In a statement released today about taking on the top job, the 62-year-old presenter warned the world was at a ‘pivotal moment’ in animal welfare.
Chris said: ‘I am immensely proud to take on the role of president of the RSPCA – the world’s oldest and largest animal charity.
‘This honour comes at a historic moment as the charity counts down to its 200th birthday next year in 2024. I see this time as one of the most critical times for animals in the last 200 years.
‘We are at a pivotal moment for animal welfare, and the decisions we make will have huge repercussions for animals all over the world.
‘Everywhere we look there are human issues that are affecting animals and it’s imperative that we make change, for the better.
‘Every decision we make, on every scale, affects the world around us. Letting sewage pour into our rivers, where we decide to build our houses, decisions we make on how we power the country – all of these things threaten our wildlife.’
RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said he was ‘really excited’ to welcome Mr Packham as the charity’s new president.
‘Chris is much-loved and a well-respected voice for all animals who speaks to a wide range of society.
‘Like us, Chris is ambitious for animals and we have a huge amount we want to achieve by 2030 and beyond, and his passion and expertise will help us get there.’
Source: Read Full Article