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Big increase in number of guinea pigs abandoned
Marzipan was found left in a cage outside a church in Nottinghamshire.

RSPCA reports a rise of nearly 40 per cent this year.

The RSPCA has seen a big increase in the number of guinea pigs coming into its care this year. The charity has revealed that it rescued 237 guinea pigs up to the end of August, almost matching the total for the whole of 2022.

Compared to the same eight-month period in the previous year, this represents a 37 per cent increase.

Owing to the strain being put on the charity’s resources by the rise in people giving up their pets during the cost-of-living crisis, some of the rescued guinea pigs are being kept in private boarding facilities.

Among them are 12 guinea pigs that were found by a member of the public in a taped-up box outside a shop in Leicester in July. The 12 included pregnant females and babies.

RSPCA inspector Herchy Boal, who collected the guinea pigs, said: “It was heartbreaking and shocking to think so many guinea pigs were abandoned all at once. It’s likely that this was due to accidental pregnancies and the numbers of guineas just kept growing - but leaving them all in a box with no food or water was just unacceptable.”

Other guinea pigs rescued by the charity this year include Marzipan and Marmite, who were left in a cage outside a church in Woodthorpe, near Nottingham, and three male guinea pigs found in a box by a home, leisure and garden store in London that RSPCA staff have named Range, Wilko, and Dunelm.

The statistics have been released by the RSPCA to mark Guinea Pig Awareness Week, which is running from 25-29 September. As part of the campaign, a series of digital packs have been made available, including one to help educate owners.

A spokesperson for Guinea Pig Awareness Week said: “Given the growing number of guinea pigs in rescues and in need of loving homes, it is really important that we educate as many owners as possible so that these wonderful creatures can live the happy life they deserve.”


Images (C) RSPCA

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Reporting service for dead wild birds updated

News Story 1
 The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) has updated its online reporting service for dead wild birds.

The new version allows those reporting a dead bird to drop a pin on a map when reporting the location. It also includes a wider range of wild bird species groups to select from when describing the bird.

The online service, which helps APHA to monitor the spread of diseases such as avian influenza, can be accessed here

Click here for more...
News Shorts
NI chief vet urges bluetongue vigilance

Northern Ireland's chief veterinary officer (CVO) has urged farmers to be vigilant for signs of bluetongue, after the Animal and Plant Health Agency warned there was a very high probability of further cases in Great Britain.

There have been 126 confirmed cases of bluetongue virus serotype 3 in England since November 2023, with no cases reported in Northern Ireland. The movement of live ruminants from Great Britain to Northern Ireland is currently suspended.

According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA), the virus is most likely to enter Northern Ireland through infected animals or germplasm (semen or ova) being imported.

Brian Dooher, Northern Ireland's CVO, said: "Surveillance for this disease within Northern Ireland has been increased to assist with detection at the earliest opportunity which will facilitate more effective control measures."

Farmers should report any suspicions of the disease to their private veterinary practitioner, the DAERA Helpline on 0300 200 7840 or their local DAERA Direct Veterinary Office.