WILDLIFE expert and campaigner Chris Packham has been named president of the RSPCA.
The TV presenter, pictured, who is currently working on BBC Springwatch from Dorset, said he was ‘immensely proud’ to take on the role.
And he said it comes at a ‘critical time’ for animals.
“This honour comes at a historic moment as the charity counts down to its 200th birthday next year in 2024,” he said.
“200 years of driving forward amazing change for animals, but, arguably, I am taking up my position at one of the most critical times for animals in the charity’s history.
“The challenge facing those distant founders was very different, the notion of protecting animals from cruelty was a new one, with the first animal welfare act, protecting cattle from abuse, only being passed two years earlier in 1822.
“They had a huge job to do in changing both social attitudes and legislation.
“Fast forward two centuries and protection of animals is woven into the fabric of our society and our laws – the British people care deeply about animals and recoil in outrage at abuse and cruelty.
“But, despite the immense leaps forward we have made, the modern world comes with its own challenges for animals.
“We’re living through uncertain times with seismic shocks that have undermined our own sense of security and wellbeing – a pandemic, a cost of living crisis, a war in Europe, the repercussions of all of which are still being felt and will be for years to come.
“During times of social and economic stability, that is when animals can suffer and when charities like the RSPCA are needed more than ever.”
He highlighted a number of challenges faced by the charity, including the cost-of-living crisis, but urged people to work together to tackle the issues facing animals and people alike.
“We have a big job ahead of us. But we know we don’t have to do it alone,” he added.
“Since we became the world’s first animal charity, we not only spawned other SPCAs all around the world, but we are now part of a huge network of charities and organisations working together in this country and abroad to improve the lives of animals.
“We need to work in partnership, not just with other charities, but with businesses and government, to bring about the change we need to see.
“Running throughout everything we do is prevention – it’s in our name – and we all have a part to play.
“We need to work with you, animal lovers, to ensure we can truly be there for all animals who need us.
“We need you to lend us your voice to campaign with us, your time to volunteer for us, your power as a consumer to make the right choices for animals, and, most of all, your compassion to make sure we create a world which is better for animals.”