The modern imagine obsessed society driven by social media platforms such as Instagram (owned by Facebook) has had a negative impact on the adoption of companion animals, in one way. It is worth adding, however, that there are positive aspects to social media in the area of companion animal adoption so it is not all bad.
Recent research by the RSPCA indicates that the quality of the photo and the appearance of the companion animal advertised for adoption are important factors in how quickly the animal is adopted which can have serious repercussions on the wellbeing of the animal concerned.
In the UK, the research tells us that 44% of people who are looking to adopt a pet consider appearance when adopting. This is not a revelation but it worth stressing. In fact, it is obvious that the appearance of a companion animal is often the be all and end all of adaption success. People are obsessed with appearance; their own appearance, their car’s appearance and their cat’s appearance. This is why cat breeders focus on appearance first and foremost. It is a human trait; to focus on the veneer.
The research concludes that 56% of adopters skip over photographs of companion animals if they are not cute.
And, importantly, 25% of people skip over poor quality images of animals. Once again this highlights the need to at least take decent quality photographs if you are running and animal shelter. Managers should take note.
The challenge of taking a good photograph of a black cat is one reason why black cats remain at RSPCA shelters for 30 days on average compared to the 27 day average (I thought it was worse than that). There are some almost shocking stories of rescue cats and dogs living in shelters for years.
Sam Gaines, Head of Companion Animals at the RSPCA says that social media is influencing decisions on impulse pet adoptions. She cites the Game of Thrones generating a desire to adopt a husky.
It is interesting that Huawei, the gigantic Chinese smartphone manufacturer are partnering with the RSPCA to improve the image quality of their photos. I say interesting because the CIA have said that there is pretty good evidence (not conclusive) that Huawei has connections to the Chinese government and has received state funding from branches of Beijing’s state security apparatus. You can’t trust Huawei. But they do have a damn good camera on their top end smartphones.