My previous article When ‘Charities’ Attack: How I Became Target of Online Abuse, recounted my personal experience of harassment, defamation and online abuse at the hands of a UK registered charity. Over 10,000 people read the account, with many offering kind words, encouragement and support. I would like to thank you all so much – it really is much appreciated.
What soon became clear was that many members of the public have endured a similar experience of online abuse for asking legitimate questions. Respected animal advocate and famous actor Peter Egan, for example, has been the focus of attacks since 2013, and remains a target:
Alongside this, the organization has a tendency of misleading the public. Ricky Gervais, for example, is not a celebrity supporter, the CEO is not a practicing barrister, and NTDM is not a member of APGAW. This is certainly not acceptable behavior of a registered UK charity.
For those new to this uncharitable affair, here is the 2015 context. In June a restricted fundraiser with the title ‘HELP MRS YANG YULIN APPEAL’ was set up by UK registered charity 1154524 World Protection for Dogs and Cats in the Meat Trade (WPDCMT), also known as No To Dog Meat (NTDM).
It had aimed to raise £5,000. With thousands of dog lovers from across the world wanting to save dogs from the cooking pot, the fundraiser helped raise £80k+ including Gift Aid. There appears to be over £70k remaining, frozen in a bank account (as per UK law). Due to a lack of transparency, and unconfirmed bank transfer amounts, the public is not certain of exact figures. Legally, if this money, whatever it may be, is not going to the named recipient, it must be returned to the donors.
Donors challenged the organisation about withheld donations. Rather than dealing with such enquiries in a professional confidential manner, individuals were scapegoated and personal details of donors were shared on social media pages in the public domain.
Again, this is certainly not acceptable behavior of a registered UK charity.
More recently in September, another donor complainant was advised by NTDM to contact Mrs Yang directly for a refund.
Such advice was offered despite the beneficiary (Yang Xiaoyun) not being personally involved in setting up or promoting the fundraiser, and the knowledge that £70k+ remains frozen within the UK charity bank account. As a response to a donor requesting a refund, this is certainly not acceptable behavior of a registered UK charity.
Since the publication of my article When ‘Charities’ Attack: How I Became Target of Online Abuse on November 2 2015, more information has entered the public domain.
In a surreal turn of events, the individual (Yang Xiaoyun) whose name and global fame was used to fundraise is now being targeted by No To Dog Meat with a ‘legal case against her for fraud’. According to the CEO, Mrs Yang is also being ‘investigated for her on-going animal abuse’. If a legal case is on the agenda, it becomes even more important that all £80k+ including Gift Aid is returned straight away. Threats of legal action without evidential support is certainly not acceptable behavior of a registered UK charity, making such claims without such evidence is also defamation.
If you have been troubled with what you have read so far. Take in a deep breath. What if members of this UK registered charity always had alternative intentions for donations gained through this restricted fundraiser? What if they had pondered closing the fundraiser in June, but decided to continue promoting the petition and gaining funds using the name of Mrs Yang? The Charity Commission would never let that happen, right? Wrong. This message posted in a private group on 25 June 2015, suggests the intentions of the CEO were clear from the outset.
So where does this leave us? There is evidence of a UK Registered Charity harassing, defaming and abusing members of the public. There is evidence of confidential donor information being shared in a public forum to scapegoat an individual and serve as a warning to other donors. There is evidence of a legal professional using said legal background to threaten and silence individuals with legal action. There is evidence of wider undisclosed intentions from NTDM for public donations to a restricted fundraiser.
This is certainly not acceptable behavior of a registered UK charity. This canine calamity is damaging public trust in small charities. The lack of action by the Charity Commission is bringing that regulatory organisation into disrepute. An investigation by the relevant authorities is essential. If like me, you believe in charity accountability, transparency and social justice please share this article widely. For the love of dogs please sign this Change.org petition calling to ‘INVESTIGATE the UK registered charity #1154524 known as ‘No To Dog Meat’ (NTDM aka WPDCMT)’.