Campaign group Republic has written to RSPCA chief executive Michael Ward, questioning the charity's links with the royal family.  


The letter follows fresh reports of Prince Harry hunting wild boar and a Twitter exchange in which the RSPCA claimed there was value in its royal patronage.


Graham Smith, Republic's CEO, has challenged Ward to identify the "great benefits" royal links bring to the charity and the animals.


In the letter Smith asks:


"How can an organisation benefit from identifying with patrons who stand opposed to its values and mission?"  


"Given widespread support for animal welfare in the country, how can association with supporters of ‘barbaric’ practices enhance your reputation or give value to the charity?"


The full letter can be viewed at


Graham Smith said today:


"The royals are well known for their love of hunting, and their hypocrisy in preaching against hunting elsewhere in the world.  Their association with animal welfare charities will only diminish the impact of the charity's message."


"Royal patronages are questionable at the best of times, as is the claim the royals do a lot for charity.  But when the charity is directly at odds with the views of the royal family serious questions need to be asked."


"The royals may love horses and dogs, but their attitude to animal welfare is clearly very different to that of the RSPCA.  So why does it continue?" 


"I have asked Michael Ward for answers to each of my questions and to hear a clear and measurable account of the benefits of royal patronage, that outweigh the harm royal connections can do to the cause of animal welfare."  


"I have also said that, if the RSPCA has conducted research or produced a report into this apparent benefit it would be useful to put that in the public domain."


"If no clear benefit exists, the RSPCA's royal connection raises obvious questions about the independence of the charity and possible royal influence on the RSPCA’s approach to hunting."