The RSPCA’s controversial head honcho Gavin Grant has quit the charity due to “medical concerns” over his health.

Mr Grant joined the society in January 2012 and played a leading role in the charity’s campaign against the culling of badgers to combat bovine tuberculosis. However, he was often accused of turning the organisation from an animal welfare charity into a political heavyweight, not only pursuing high-profile prosecutions such as that of the Heythrop Hunt (a fox hunting group in Prime Minister David Cameron’s constituency), which cost the society £326,000, but claiming products from farms on which badger culling was taking place should be boycotted by the public.

The Charity Commission investigated the society over these “politicising” claims, but it was given a clean bill of health.

Mr Grant said it had been a “huge honour” to have held the post.

“The RSPCA is a magnificent organisation at the heart of what is the very best in humanity [and] is blessed with great people both paid and volunteer,” he said.

“I wish it well as it continues to face huge challenges in ensuring it is ever stronger and able to meet the needs of our fellow creatures.”
The RSPCA, meanwhile, thanked Mr Grant for his hard work in “raising the the profile of the society as well as laying the foundations for its long term future development”.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Gavin on behalf of myself and my fellow trustees for the very significant contribution he has made to the society,” said chairman of trustees Mike Tomlinson. “His drive, passion and deep love and respect for animals have impressed all that have come into contact with him.

“I would like to assure everyone that our day-to-day work for animals continues as usual.”

John Grounds is to represent the society externally and cover its public commitments. The next steps in hiring Mr Grant’s replacement will be announced “in due course“.

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