BY DOMINIC WIGHTMAN
Like with most companies which Peter Thiel is linked to, PayPal is a seriously impressive operation. Certainly, it has no need to be supporting hunt saboteurs’ insipid grifts, which are so clearly bogus that one wonders how idiotic the sabs’ useful idiot following has become.
Take two recent examples:
PayPal has been told of these recent scams as have the UK authorities. Let’s hope they act swiftly and come down hard on the perps. PayPal should not be assisting in the funding of lawbreaking – hunt sabs are criminals after all. Instead PayPal should be working alongside crowdfunding sites and the Fundraising Regulator to decide on whether fundraising is legitimate or not, then forming a useful conduit to the police.
These kind of scams are right at the heart of the animal rights movement, both here and in the US, which uses cuddly animals and heartstring-pulling to appeal to readers’ and viewers’ hearts, thus bypassing what grey matter may hopefully reside in their heads. Crowdfunding is their lifeblood. Cut it off and they wither.
I was told recently of one man who ran a cat shelter in the US who set up a crowdfunder to rehome cats from a building that had burnt down. The crowdfunder raised many thousands. The expense per cat rehoming was set in the crowdfunder at a few hundred dollars – this included a year’s board and food. Do the maths on the crowdfunder returns divided by cats rehomed and he must have rehomed over 4000 cats. Of course, he does not have 4000 cats, nor even one percent of that total. No money was returned. The crowdfunder and the charity he runs still exist. So where has the money gone, IRS?
I was told of a lady here in the UK who turned a field at the back of her garden into a sheep sanctuary through crowdfunding. A supporter of the countryside looked into the matter. It turned out that she had started out using her garden as a sheep sanctuary but the sheep were wrecking it. So she leased the field at the back of the garden using crowdfunded cash. Her crowdfunding was so successful she did not return the excess funds, instead she built a load of cabins in her garden and rented them out (to line her own pockets) on Airbnb!
Crowdfunding distorts the playing field. It is a magnet for the worst. It gives power to those who do not merit it. They use the Internet to spread their lies and they rely on crowdfunding to magnify the importance of fringe and undeserving causes.
There is no enhancement of democracy via crowdfunding by fringe cranks. They are no better than the professional homeless or those who pinch collection tins from shop counters. Take away their funds and they will cease to exist – better for animal welfare and better for society in general.
It is beyond time for a police unit focusing solely on dodgy crowdfunding. The fringe and dangerous element of the animal rights lobby would be crippled within days without their dodgy crowdfunders as will other groups who merely exist to exasperate. The police need to make an example of someone or some group and take a big scalp they can warn others off with.
Dominic Wightman is Editor of Country Squire Magazine.