Rural groups and sporting associations have hit back at moves by radical animal rights activists to push the RSPCA to campaign for a ban on fishing and horse racing.The Sunday Telegraph has revealed that key figures on the charity’s ruling body are attempting to steer it towards taking a hardline stance against two of Britain’s most popular pastimes.But that has threatened to lead to a backlash from groups representing thousands of anglers, as well as the thousands who work in the horse racing industry and enjoy watching the spectacle.They are now understood to be lobbying behind the scenes for the RSPCA not to take a more radical turn.In a letter to the RSPCA seen by this newspaper the Angling Trust, which represents game, coarse and sea anglers in England and Wales, said: “Far from launching attacks on anglers and angling we would hope those who care for the future of our wildlife would want to work with us and other conservation bodies on countering the myriad threats caused by pollution, over exploitation, abstraction and habitat destruction.“It would be good hear confirmation from you directly that the RSPCA does not intend to seek to ban angling and to criminalise up to two million people who currently enjoy this healthy pastime.”The British Horseracing Authority (BHA), which governs the sport, is also understood to have been in regular dialogue with the RSPCA in an attempt to pre-empt any moves by the charity to campaign for a ban on racing. Some on the RSPCA ruling council reportedly want to see a ban on horse racing  Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Some on the RSPCA ruling council reportedly want to see a ban on horse racing Credit:Michael Steele/Getty Images In a statement the BHA said: “British racing has a long history of collaboration with recognised welfare organisations such as the RSPCA, World Horse Welfare and SSPCA, which over recent years has resulted in a number of measured, evidence-based enhancements to the sport’s high welfare standards.”The controversy is just the latest to surround the RSPCA, whose patron the Queen is a known lover of country pursuits.Moderate elements within the charity are understood to be concerned that any moves to campaign against horse racing – which is one of Her Majesty’s favourite leisure activities – would threaten to undermine the relationship between the organisation and its patron.It could also lead to questions over whether that royal patronage can continue when the Prince of Wales Charles becomes king.In recent years Prince Charles has voiced concern over its campaigning against countryside sports, raising questions over its royal patronage, first granted by Queen Victoria in 1840.In 2016 the Telegraph revealed that Prince Charles had privately raised his concerns that the emphasis of the charity was moving away from animal welfare towards campaigning against countryside sports.The RSPCA has until now taken a more moderate approach to both pastimes, by working with the horse racing industry to improve welfare standards and seeking  to educate anglers about the risk to wildlife posed by discarded fishing line and hooks.But a group of activists on the charity’s ruling council, including it’s vice chair Jane Tredgett, are understood to be seeking to persuade it to take a tougher line on both activities.Ms Tredgett’s current allies on the RSPCA council include Bob Baylis, a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn who frequently posting tweets in support of the Labour Leader and has allegedly offended colleagues with criticism of the Queen. According to his RSPCA biography his commitment to animal rights dates back to the early 1980s, when he was a director of  Animal Aid and the anti vivisection and animal experiments group BUAV, now named Cruelty Free International.Mr Baylis has referred all questions to the RSPCA and dismissed reported he had criticised the Queen during RSPCA council meetings, saying: “I’ve never heard anything so ridiculous in my entire life.” Ms Tredgett did not respond to requests for comment.Asked if the RSPCA was discussing whether to campaign for angling and horse racing to be outlawed, a spokesman said: “All our policies are regularly reviewed and things will have been discussed. We won’t go into details of our discussions but regular discussions do take place of all topics regarding animal welfare.”The charity added: “The RSPCA has no plans to campaign for a ban on angling or horse racing. We work constructively with the relevant bodies in these sectors to improve animal welfare standards.”

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