A top official at one of the world’s biggest animal charities has been forced to quit after it emerged she is a radical vegan activist.
Jane Tredgett, 52, the vice-chair of the RSPCA in the UK, stepped down after plotting with animal rights protesters to shut down the country’s top meat market.
Tredgett is a cofounder of Animal Rebellion, an offshoot of the Extinction Rebellion environmental movement.
The group says animal agriculture is the leading cause of climate change and insists veganism is the best way to save the planet.
Mrs Tredgett, who has been on the RSPCA’s ruling council for 18 years, quit her unpaid post after it emerged she was among those planning a two-week protest aimed at closing down the famous Smithfield market in central London.
Animal Rebellion hopes 10,000 animal rights activists will attend.
The group invites supporters to “engage in civil resistance to communicate the urgency to end the industries of animal agriculture and fishing”.
Mrs Tredgett, who works in executive training, is in charge of instructing protesters in ‘non-violent direct action’ (NVDA) that will reduce the risk of them being arrested. A statement from her on social media said: “I have been asked to coordinate the roll-out of NVDA training and am hoping to recruit 150 trainers to help.”
It is signed on behalf of “the voiceless creatures we love so much”.
Mrs Tredgett, from Hull, has since held a number of training events in the north of England, including a two-hour session in her home city attended by 250 activists.
She has played a prominent role in Animal Rebellion.
The pressure group has likened its efforts to shut down meat, dairy and fishing operations to the struggles of US civil rights hero Martin Luther King and the Suffragettes.
It claims the industries are playing a “catastrophic role in the climate emergency’ and says the Government should encourage Britons to phase out meat, dairy and fish from their diets and move to a ‘plant-based food system”.
Animal Rebellion is a separate organisation from Extinction Rebellion, which will hold protests across cities at the same time as the Smithfield demonstration, but it has signed up to several of its key demands.
These include making the UK carbon neutral by 2025 and creating a Citizens’ Assembly to decide environmental policy.
At the time Mrs Tredgett decided to take a leading role in Animal Rebellion she was the second-most senior member of the RSPCA Council – an elected group of trustees in charge of the charity’s policy and strategy as well as allocation of its £130million-ayear budget.
Critics have previously claimed the committee is dominated by extremists, but the charity, which has 1,750 employees, has denied this.
Mrs Tredgett was also a director of the RSPCA’s Freedom Foods offshoot, which certifies animals have been ethically farmed.
The RSPCA has strongly denied that Mrs Tredgett holds extremist views.
But it announced her departure after her link with Animal Rebellion emerged.
The RSPCA stressed in a statement that she was due to retire from the council later.
It said: “Jane was due to leave the national council next month as part of wide-ranging reforms to RSPCA governance to refresh and widen representation.
“She was aware that getting involved with this activity in her private capacity is a divergence from RSPCA policies and offered earlier this month to step down from the council on September 30 before the event takes place, which has been accepted.”
Tim Bonner of the Countryside Alliance, said of the move: “The RSPCA has finally admitted what it has denied for decades that there are extremists in controlling positions within the organisation.”