Organisations like the RSPCA and RSPB have been hijacked by former animal rights campaigners who have swapped their balaclavas for smart suits and abandoned their beards to convince people of their respectability, according to Simon Hart, chief executive of the Countryside Alliance.
Speaking in a debate on the future of animal rights at today's Game Fair, Mr Hart said:
"Animal rights as a movement has become less fashionable. We're seeing less of the really vile, semi-terrorist activity of the Animal Liberation Front but more of the legitimate welfare organisations – the so-called reputable ones like the RSPCA and RSPB.
"The animal rights agenda is being played out by people who have shaved off their beards and bought a smart suit and are saying the same thing as before but in another coded language. They are the original architects of the lunatics in balaclavas but they are delivering the message in a sinister and subtle manner. It's very dangerous."