The Ulster Society Prevention Cruelty to Animals (USPCA) is the second oldest Animal Welfare Charity in the world. Founded in 1836 as the Belfast SPCA it’s first priority was to challenge the abuse of working horses, a daily occurrence on the Victorian city streets. The eventual name change from Belfast to Ulster SPCA acknowledged the scale, scope and success of the Charity’s expanded operations across the province.


The purpose of our founders to ‘Prevent Cruelty and Relieve Suffering’ remains as the driving force for our Charitable activities. The USPCA differs from many other animal welfare groups who focus on the needs of a single species with our unique commitment to protect ALL our animals.


Whilst there are heartless individuals willing to inflict unnecessary suffering on animals the need for a USPCA will remain. This Society will ensure its resources are effectively used to prevent animal cruelty and relieve suffering. For over 175 years we have fulfilled our commitment by adapting to the times. The USPCA will continue to protect ALL animals by utilising and adapting advances in technology to help tackle an ever present problem.

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Directors’ Report

The directors submit their audited financial statements for the year ended 31 March 2014. The directors have adopted the provisions of the Companies Act 2006 and the Statement of Recommended Practice (SORP) “Accounting and Reporting by Charities” issued in March 2005 (revised May 2008) in preparing the annual report and financial statements of the charity.

Reference and Administrative Information

Chief Executive/Secretary - Stephen Philpott
Chairman - Charles Edward South
Treasurer -Denise South

Structure, Governance and Management

The Society is a Company Limited by Guarantee, not having a share capital and satisfies the criteria set out in Section 60 of the Companies Act 2006 whereby it is exempted from the use of
the word “Limited” as part of the company name. The company is governed by a Memorandum and Articles of Association. The liability of each member of the company is limited to a contribution, in the event of the winding up of the Society, of an amount not exceeding £1.
The Directors have ultimate legal and financial responsibility for the affairs of the Ulster Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (USPCA), although the management of the organisation is generally delegated to the staff, through the Chief Executive. The Board of Directors meet on a quarterly basis and consist of the Chief Executive, the Chairman, the Treasurer and the other Board Members. In addition, staff meetings are held on a monthly basis. The Directors of the company at 31 March 2014, all of whom have been in office for the whole of
the year ended on that date, unless otherwise stated, are listed on the information page. The USPCA has an induction program for new directors in which directors are advised of their legal responsibility and requirements.

Charitable status

The society has been granted charitable status for taxation purposes and its registered number is XN 45066.

Subsidiary undertakings

The Charity has a wholly owned subsidiary company, USPCA Trading Limited. The principal activity of the subsidiary company was the sale of pet supplies.

Risk management objectives and policies

The directors have actively reviewed the major risks which the charity faces and have in place sufficient resources in the event of adverse conditions. The directors have also examined other business and operational risks, which the charity faces and confirm that it has established systems to mitigate significant risks.

Objectives and activities

The key objective of the USPCA is ‘The Advancement of Animal Welfare’.
The USPCA’s day to day activities are concentrated on delivering this commitment.
Fulfilling this key objective is deemed by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) as fundamental to meeting our charitable purpose and public benefit.
The USPCA seeks to achieve its objective by exclusively lawful means.
The advent of new animal welfare legislation in recent years and the changes in arrangements for enforcement has allowed the USPCA Trustees an opportunity to allocate additional resources to the prevention and relief of animal suffering.
The increasing scale and range of charitable activities available through the animal hospital is having a marked and positive impact on the well-being of companion animals and injured wildlife.
The Newry based hospital seeks to prevent and relieve animal suffering by way of a seven day a week veterinary service. A facility equipped with advanced diagnostic and surgical technology. The veterinarians and their key staff dispense both remedies and advice geared to the prevention of unnecessary suffering.
This Animal Hospital has a province wide outreach through a veterinary voucher scheme.
Suffering pets and wildlife, unable to avail of in-house provision are treated by local vets courtesy of the scheme. This financial support relieves the suffering of many injured animals that would otherwise remain untreated and in distress.
Providing education and advice is a key component in the prevention of unnecessary animal suffering and abandonment. The hospital has both the personnel and the seminar facilities needed to accommodate an evolving animal awareness programme.
The Charity continues to investigate and make public many criminal acts. Dog Fighting, Badger Baiting, Carted Deer Hunts, Cock Fighting etc. It raises awareness of the perils associated with
the purchase of pets through the internet.
The Bessbrook based ARK continues to make a positive contribution by providing adults with learning difficulty an opportunity to care for animals. The project has advanced to a point that
requires a minimal level of USPCA support.
The last year has seen an innovative and province wide expansion of our charitable activities as a result of a successful partnership with the Trussell Trust. A fellow charity, the trust runs a network of food banks across Northern Ireland. With a need identified, the USPCA agreed to provide food parcels for the many companion animals belonging to individuals and families in
The lobbying activity of the charity is regarded by the trustees as vitally important. Membership of the Brussels based Eurogroup for Animals and on the DARD Animal Health & Welfare Stakeholder Forum ensures the USPCA views on issues surrounding animal welfare are given the opportunity to influence key decision makers.

Achievements and performance

Throughout the period covered by this report the USPCA was actively managing a period of transition.
The Trustees convened regularly to assess the impact of a raft of change on the future of the USPCA.
It was soon apparent the passage of time, changes in company law and the establishment of a Charity Commission for Northern Ireland (CCNI) required the Board to undertake a review of the ‘Articles of Association’ the document by which the charity is governed.
Contacts with CCNI highlighted the need to commission a Governance Handbook. This will provide the Trustees with a document whose purpose is to ensure best practice and regulatory
At the date of signing, both these tasks are at an advanced stage and the Trustees are committed to the completion, adoption and implementation of both documents before the end of the current calendar year.
LegislationAt 31st March 2014 the Welfare of Animals (Northern Ireland) Act 2011 has been fully in force for 24 months. Powers to investigate concerns, seize animals and prosecute offenders were handed to a small team of Animal Welfare Officers working under the control of local authorities. After two years the USPCA would have reasonably expected a heightened public awareness of the new arrangements. This was not being reflected in the high volume of calls made to our Animal Hospital by members of the public concerned for the welfare of specific animals. The USPCA commissioned a public awareness survey, the results of which confirmed our worst fears. The statistics are printed elsewhere in this report and these will be raised during a review of the Act due to take place in 2014.

Veterinary Hospital The hospital is open seven days a week. A veterinarian is on duty 66 hours each week with ‘out of hours’ backup provided.
Any suffering animal seen by a vet will be given pain relief regardless of the circumstances. The USPCA will not turn its back on an animal in physical distress. Facilities are constantly being added to and updated. Our new x-ray suite is an invaluable aid to early diagnosis. There are recovery rooms and quiet areas set aside for wildlife awaiting release.

Education A classroom for the educational needs of future generations is now available.
Animals needing a home visit the grooming room to ensure they look their best when meeting a prospective new family. Spacious exercise areas give would be re-homers and prospective pets an opportunity to socialise before making a commitment and the retail unit that provides the essentials needed for any family pet.

Pet Food Banks This initiative began in early 2014. It meets an area of animal deprivation identified during discussions with the Trussell Trust, hardship that had previously gone unnoticed.
Since establishing a presence in Northern Ireland in November 2011 the Trussell Foodbank Network has provided food to 15,346 people who would have otherwise faced going hungry, a number that rises on a daily basis.
Many of these families and individuals have companion animals. It was noted that a significant number of recipients were feeding their pets from food packs intended for personal consumption. On hearing of this the USPCA Trustees decided to render this self-denial unnecessary by providing pet food packages for pet owning recipients of Trussell Trust assistance. Basic treatments for worming and fleas are also made available.
By its action the Charity now underwrites the well-being of over 300 pets each month. Suzanne Downey, Northern Ireland Regional Officer for the Trussell Trust says: ‘The Trussell Trust Foodbank Network is delighted to partner with the USPCA across the province to provide animal food boxes to our dog and cat owning clients to prevent unnecessary animal suffering.
Many of our clients can’t afford to buy basic food items for themselves never mind their pets and unfortunately in many instances animals are suffering from hunger along with their owners when crisis hits. In some cases a beloved dog or cat has to be given away or worse still, as people in crisis are unable to feed or care for their animals properly. We hope that these boxes will act as a life line to our pet owning clients, and they are in addition to our 3 days emergency food packs”.

Europe As members of Eurogroup for Animals the USPCA was represented at the 2013/14 AGM and members forum in Brussels. Its delegates comprise representatives of animal welfare charities from each of the 27 member states. The permanent offices are close to the European Commission
and a team of welfare specialists are based within the Commission lobbying on behalf of animals at the highest level.
One of Eurogroup’s challenges is to ensure proper enforcement of Animal Welfare Laws across the EU an objective we share for animals in Northern Ireland.

Previous Annual Reports

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