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SAFE to remain on the Charities Register

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

In a decision dated 19 April 2018 the independent Charities Registration Board directed that Save Animals From Exploitation Incorporated ("SAFE") remain on the Charities Register because it advances charitable purposes, and any non-charitable purpose is ancillary to its charitable purposes.

The independent Charities Registration Board ("the Board") carried out a full review of SAFE’s eligibility for registration. The review of SAFE arose after Charities Services received a complaint in June 2015, followed by a petition in December 2015, that SAFE was not advancing charitable purposes and should have its charitable status revoked.

The role of the Board is to maintain the integrity of the Charities Register by ensuring that entities on the Charities Register qualify for registration.

The Board makes its decisions based on the facts before it, applying the law including relevant case law, and maintaining consistency of approach with previous Board decisions. The Board can direct charities to be removed from the Charities Register when they do not advance exclusively charitable purposes for the public benefit and it is in the public benefit to remove them.

The Board directs that SAFE remains on the Charities Register because it advances charitable purposes, and any non-charitable purpose is ancillary to its charitable purposes.

The Board decided that SAFE has a charitable purpose to advance education and also considers that SAFE has a charitable purpose to advocate on animal welfare issues. The Board considers SAFE’s main advocacy provides a public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable by the courts. The Board has not made a determination on the rest of SAFE’s advocacy pertaining to animal welfare laws, regulation, and industry practice, as the Board considers that this advocacy is ancillary to SAFE’s charitable purposes.

The Board recognises that purposes to advocate points of view on animal, environmental, and other issues are capable of being charitable, and have held to be so by the courts.

SAFE advances education on animal welfare and the focus of SAFE’s advocacy is to raise public awareness of cruelty to animals, help the public make decisions that reduce animal cruelty, and promote the upholding and enforcement of animal welfare regulation. The Board considers this advocacy provides a public benefit similar to charitable purposes recognised by the courts, and other registered charities.

The SAFE decision is distinguished from the Board’s recent decision on Greenpeace because:

Greenpeace’s main focus is to advocate its own particular views on environmental issues that cannot be determined to be for the public benefit in a way previously accepted as charitable by the courts. This is different from the focus of SAFE’s advocacy.Greenpeace and its members are involved in illegal activities from which an illegal purpose can be inferred that disqualified it from being a registered charity. There is no evidence that SAFE is involved in illegal activities from which an illegal purpose can be inferred.

Read a statement from the Board Chair and the full decision here

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