Sadly, the prolonged squeeze on family finances due to the economic recession suffered by the UK, Europe and America has exposed Brits for what they truly are in their relationship with companion animals: the same as anyone else. It is time to face up to reality and discard the old ideas that the British have a special relationship with animals. We have been found out.
If the Brits really were a nation of animal lovers they would find a way of not abandoning their pets when times got a little harder. There are ways. Companion animals should not be one of the first “items” to be discarded or reduced. What about not buying a iPad? Nowadays in Britain kids expect iPads for Christmas. In my day we had a Christmas stocking with oranges in it :). Let’s trim some of the fat off the budget and leave the cat alone.
I accept that there are many genuine cases where an animal has to be given up but…standards are not high enough for me in modern Britain. That said Britain has changed beyond recognition over the past 40 years. Have things changed from the old days? Not sure to be honest.
Although, in truth, I cannot accept that the British were ever better in their treatment of companion animals than any other nation in Europe. For example we extinguished many wild life species in Britain through hunting hundreds of years ago in many cases. The Scottish wildcat once lived in England until it was hunted to extinction south of the Scottish border by the idle rich. This does not indicate an animal loving nation.
Below are recently published statistics from the RSPCA that indicate our relationship with pets. The cost of keeping a cat is also listed. Britain is an expensive country. Americans will pay considerable less to keep a cat over his lifetime than the British. The British do not earn more than the Americans so keeping a cat represents a greater percentage of expenditure in the UK than in the USA.
|Animals Abandoned||UP 100% from 5 years ago||40,595 animals abandoned 2011|
|Rehoming success for dogs||DOWN by 24% from 3 years ago (2009)||2011: 12,711|
|Rehoming success for cats||DOWN by 17% from 3 years ago||2011: 29,880|
|Average time for cat to stay at RSPCA shelter||UP by 7.3%||2012: 59 days|
2011: 55 days
|Aninal cruelty convictions||UP by 23.5%|
|Cost of keeping cat at shelter||UP by 7.3%||2012: £554.60|
Total cost of looking after a cat in the UK to age of 14 years – at 2012
|Item||Cost £ (GBP)|
|Food – wet||3,066|
|Food – dry||583|
|Vet – for sickness||700|
|Vet – routine (vaccinations etc.)||600|
The Royal Society for the Protection of Animals (RSPCA) are asking for donations under the current circumstances that it describes as an “Animal Welfare Crisis”.
They say they are dealing with 65% more abandonments and 24% more animal cruelty convictions this year (the RSPCA deal with animal abuse cases). As it costs more to care for animals while they are being rehomed the financial burdens have significantly increased. Until now they have not turned away abandoned animals. But they say the foresee having to stop taking animals in unless they can receive more support. They are particularly concerned about horses being neglected. There is a real increase in this form of animal abuse. How can the British be called animal lovers?
It is not a good situation. I am disappointed that the Brits have let down their animal companions. This is a moment when a true regard or love of companion animals is being tested. It appears that the Brits are failing the examination.
If anyone wants to give to the RSPCA this is the link.
Note: as a final afterthought. The RSPCA is a charity but highly commercial. Are they using this genuine problem to raise funds when they have funding already? I don’t know.