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Cost of living crisis 'biggest single threat to pets', report finds
The RSPCA is starting to see the effects of rising costs and is beginning to see an increase in pet abandonments.

Groundbreaking report suggests cat owners are the most impacted and concerned.

The rising cost of living is the most immediate threat to pet welfare, a new report suggests.

The groundbreaking report, entitled the Animal Kindness Index, was conducted by the RSPCA in collaboration with the Scottish SPCA to assess the nation's attitude towards animals.

Of the 4,000 respondents, more than two-thirds (78%) of the public said they think the rising cost of living will impact their animals.

Seven out of 10 expressed concern that the cost of care was increasing, while a fifth said they were worried about how they will afford to feed their pets.

The study, which found that more than two-thirds of the nation describe themselves as 'animal lovers', also suggests that cat owners are the most impacted and concerned about the cost of living pressures.

It comes after similar research by Dogs Trust revealed that two-thirds of owners feel worried, to some extent, about how they will care for their dog as they start to feel the pinch.

Emma Slawinski, director of advocacy and policy at the RSPCA, said: “It’s great that our research has confirmed we are a nation of animal lovers, however we cannot ignore the stark suggestion that the cost of living crisis is the biggest single threat to pets in the UK today.

“We are on the brink of an animal welfare crisis due to the rise in pet ownership during the pandemic, coupled with the cost of living pressures biting - especially those on lower incomes. It’s absolutely heartbreaking."

Emma added that the RSPCA is starting to see the effects of rising costs, as it and other charities had predicted, and is beginning to see an increase in pet abandonments. 

She continued: "It’s worrying to see that 33 per cent of pet owners have experienced issues they did not expect with their pets and, sadly, we are now seeing an increase in pets coming into our care, many because owners are struggling to afford to pay for behavioural support, vet care or even to feed their pets.

“The RSPCA and the Scottish SPCA prioritise animals most in need of neglect and cruelty and would urge any pet owners struggling to seek help to address problems at the earliest opportunity so that problems do not spiral out of control.”

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, head of innovation and strategic relations at the Scottish SPCA, added: “We have been lucky so far that we have not seen much of an impact on our services from the cost of living crisis but we are under no illusions.

"We know Scotland is a nation of animal lovers and people will do their best to keep their animals with them, even in the toughest of times. However, we fully expect to see a rise in pet owners who are unable to care for their animals or afford veterinary bills in the coming months due to rising costs."

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Avian flu outbreak at RSPB Minsmere

News Story 1
 RSPB Minsmere nature reserve in Suffolk has confirmed an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza on its site. The coastal nature reserve has seen an increase in dead birds recently, and has said that it is 'extremely concerned' about the potential impacts on bird populations, with 2021 and 2022 seeing the largest ever outbreak in the UK.

In a statement, RSPB said: "We appreciate that it is distressing, for both visitors and staff, to see dead or dying birds at our site but we ask that if visitors see any dead or unwell birds, they do not touch or go near them and that they report it to us at our Visitor Centre during its opening hours, or by emailing us on minsmere@rspb.org.uk outside of these times."  

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Moredun Foundation Award opens for applications

The 2022-2023 Moredun Foundation Award (MFA) is now open for members, with up to £2,000 available for successful applicants.

The MFA honours the contribution that education, teamwork, life experience, and travel have made to the understanding of cattle health and welfare. Through its charitable endeavours, Moredun offers its members the opportunity to pursue projects that support personal development.

The prize is open to a wide range of project applications, including those that include producing educational tools, conducting a small research project, or studying farming methods in other nations. For more information and to apply, visit moredun.org.uk