“John Robins has not been following medical advice & taking things easy”
Editors’ note: John Frederick Robins, 64, probably the most colorful and dynamic animal advocate in Scottish history, despite his self-conferred title “The Eejit,” did not shuffle off after all, despite the September 25, 2021 ANIMALS 24-7 headline “Eejit” John Robins shuffles off after 41 years fighting for animals in Scotland.
On the contrary, reports Animal Concern membership secretary Elena Edwards, “John Robins has not been following medical advice and taking things easy.”
The March 3, 2022 ANIMALS 24-7 guest column And right on cue, here come the parasites, by Showing Animals Respect & Kindness founder Steve Hindi, detonated the “Robins rant” below, following up his September 28, 2021 “farewell” rant “Victories” that are not, & other views of big animal groups from “The Eejit”.
“I saw a chicken once. Send us lots of money!”
Hi, John F Robins from Animal Concern here. I saw a chicken once; send us lots of money!
Sick joke aside, this trend of organizations capitalizing on the good work of others, spotlighted by Showing Animals Respect & Kindness [SHARK] founder Steve Hindi in his ANIMALS 24-7 guest column And right on cue, here come the parasites, is not new.
Thirty years ago the-then chief executive of a major organization asked me if I knew of any animal rescue groups he could help in Scotland. He donated £250 to one of the groups I suggested and asked them for a pic of one of their rescued animals.
That pic, along with others from similar local groups all around the world, appeared on a huge range of adverts and fundraising literature. This was to show that the organization was working in your area, wherever you lived. I reckon each £250 could have brought in perhaps $25,000 or more.
Thirty years on this same guy is still raising funds to “help” other groups which are doing the real work.
“Do the sums”
Today many organizations are raising huge amounts of money using similar schemes. Some just lift pics from the media, perhaps to save on even making a petty cash donation.
A couple of years ago a newspaper pic of an alligator, killed by bow-and-arrow hunters on a Florida golf course, was being used as a money sucker by I think it was three groups at the same time.
A grass roots campaigner I support had one of his campaigns highlighted in a petition on one of the big petition sites. When I signed, I noticed they received £180 in donations in the two minutes I was on their site. I told the campaigner to ask for a donation. They gave him £2,000. The petition was running for weeks. Do the sums!
Another site had a petition which was obviously based on an Animal Concern campaign. Sign the petition and you’re taken straight to the “get yer credit card oot” page. Problem was, the petition was aimed at the Government in Westminster, London, when the Government responsible was the one in Holyrood, Edinburgh.
“To stop the abuse, do what SHARK has done”
Campaigns to have animal abuse videos removed from social media sites also worry me. Pics of dancing bears, dressed-up “pet” primates, and various forms of animal fighting and baiting are great for raising funds, but if you want to stop the abuse, you have to do what SHARK has done:
Use the social media posts to quietly identify the source of the videos and then either be brave enough to infiltrate them or at least present the evidence to local law enforcement.
Complaining to the social media sites just makes the abusers go underground with password access or switch to another service provider.
“Think before you donate”
My advice is: Think before you donate. Give where you are sure it will be best used.
In the United Kingdom all charities have to provide you with their constitution and their latest certified annual accounts and report on request. In the U.S., similar information is available via IRS Form 990, and in Canada, from the charities information page on the Canadian Revenue Agency web site.
Any group, even non-charities, which refuses to provide that info or to tell you how much they spend on specific campaigns and how much they pay their bottom and top line staff, would not be on my donations list.
ANIMALS 24-7 footnote:
The financial accountability filings required by government agencies, and the ratings provided by online services such as the Wise Giving Alliance, Charity Navigator, and Guidestar, based on information from government-required filings, really should only be the beginning of conscientious research by donors before they give.
The people who fill out those forms for major organizations and organizations represented by major professional fundraising companies are often masters at providing the required information in a misleading manner, for example by disguising fundraising expense as “program service” done in the name of public education, and by describing program accomplishments only in the most vague and abstract terms.
Seek program verification
More detailed written explanations are often provided in hard-to-read dense block paragraphs of all capital letters and no punctuation.
Further, even if all the data provided on a government form looks accurate and is intelligible, neither the IRS nor any of the major charity evaluation services does any actual on-the-ground program verification.
Worse, at least one entity that purports to do program verification, Animal Charity Evaluators, actually exists to direct funding to a select handful of charities associated with the founder.
ANIMALS 24-7 advises making sure you know a charity well, from multiple independent sources, before parting with your money.