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RSPCA expands pet food bank scheme
Army veteran Mark Smith with his dogs Charlie and Teddy.
The charity has already provided around 1.6 million meals.

The RSPCA is expanding its Pet Food Bank Partnership across England to reach more pet owners in need.

Three full-time coordinators have been employed to work with RSPCA branches, field officers, local charities and community groups to source supplies, offer support, and develop more pet food donation points. They will also liaise with pet food manufacturers.

As well as pet food, the charity also provides veterinary vouchers to food bank users to help with urgent care and runs events to offer financial support and welfare advice.

The service initially began as a pilot scheme in Lancashire in December 2020, then expanded across the North of England. In total, it has provided around 1.6 million meals for pets since the scheme started, including 15,400 dog meals and 27,270 cat meals so far this year.

The charity’s Animal Kindness Index 2023 found that 38 per cent of pet owners were taking actions such as going without food, visiting food banks, or stopping visiting a veterinary practice owing to financial pressures.

Mark Smith, of Warrington, Cheshire, and his two cavachon dogs Charlie and Teddy, are among those who have benefitted from the scheme.

An army veteran who served in Northern Ireland and worked as a private security contractor in Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia, Mr Smith suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He got Charlie, who died a few months ago, as a therapy dog and Teddy as a companion for him. Both dogs have been helped by the food bank.

Mr Smith said: “I used to feel a bit of shame going to get free food but really it isn’t a place where you are judged, everyone is very supportive - and it helps us out and we are grateful for that. I would urge others who are struggling to seek this help and support to help their beloved pets.”

Alison Fletcher, RSPCA national food bank coordinator, added: “Sadly our rescuers are often coming across people who are struggling to feed themselves and will actually go without food themselves so they can afford to feed their pets.

“We really don’t want anyone to be in this position and are doing all we can to help. Pets offer a major comfort to loving owners in challenging times and they shouldn’t feel forced to give them up - as they are members of the family - so we are providing what many users describe as a ‘lifeline’.”

Image © RSPCA

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Rabbit Awareness Week set to return this summer

News Story 1
 Rabbit Awareness Week (RAW) is returning this summer, running from 24-28 June 2024. The theme for this year will be 'Healthy Diet, Happy Bunnies'.

The focus on rabbits' diet comes after the most recent PDSA Animal Wellbeing (PAW) Report report revealed that 42 per cent of veterinary professionals identified inappropriate diet as one of the five most important rabbit welfare issues that need to be address.

The campaign will include veterinary blogs, videos, and digital waiting room resources. Practices can sign up to receive updates about RAW. 

Click here for more...
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CVS Group, which owns more than 450 veterinary practices in the UK, has been hit by a cyber attack.

In a statement, the group said the incident involved unauthorised external access to a limited number of its IT systems. As soon as the attack was discovered, the group took its IT systems temporarily offline, causing 'considerable operational disruption'.

It has warned that the security steps taken and ongoing plans to move its operational systems and IT infrastructure to the Cloud are likely to have an ongoing impact over a number of weeks.

Due to the risk that personal information was accessed, CVS has informed the Information Commissioner's Office. The company is working with third party consultants to investigate the incident.