Animal cruelty, neglect and suffering are reaching unprecedented levels in modern times
RSPCA chief executive Gavin Grant issued a stark warning today, stating that animal rescue charities are being overwhelmed with animals in dire need, stretching them to breaking point – all at a time when public generosity is under real pressure.
At the RSPCA alone we've seen a massive 65 per cent increase in the animals abandoned over the last five years as pet owners struggle to make ends meet since the recession began. This equates to a potential 40,000 additional animals requiring care.
With household finances under increasing strain, many people are finding that they can't afford to keep an animal. The number of new homes for rescued animals available to us is also falling, with nearly 4,000 fewer dogs and over 6000 fewer cats adopted by the public in 2011 compared to two years previously. That situation has deteriorated further in 2012.
Rising cost of caring for rescued and abandoned animals
Care costs for rescued and abandoned animals are also rising. The daily rate for a rescued animal in an RSPCA centre, including food, housing and staff care, is £15 for a dog and £9.40 for a cat. And both cats and dogs are now taking nearly ten per cent longer to rehabilitate and rehome than a year ago.
Meanwhile the number of abandoned and abused horses has soared. With over 600 horses in our care, the cost to the RSPCA is £3.7m for this year.
Find out more about the horse crisis.
With many of our animal rescue and rehoming centres already at capacity, we are increasingly reliant on private boarding to house abandoned and abused animals.
However, spaces are limited, meaning that we face a very real danger that within the foreseeable future, we may be forced to turn vulnerable animals away.
Since we reported our annual cruelty statistics in April this year, we have seen more evidence of rising animal cruelty and neglect, with a four per cent rise in cruelty cases so far this year.
We are currently responding to over 25,000 calls a week from the public and have seen a 23.5 per cent rise in cruelty convictions in the last five years. The first nine months of this year alone have seen 1,176 cruelty convictions by the RSPCA, a six per cent rise on the same period in 2011 (1,108 convictions).
We fight for justice for animals who have been the victims of cruelty and neglect. Read some of our animal cruelty cases.
As the number of animals in desperate need grows, our welfare expenditure - which relies entirely on public donations - is already exceeding forecasts set for 2012, as our rescue centres and inspectors are stretched to their limits.
And we predict a further 6,000 dogs and cats will be abandoned between now and the end of the year at a cost of nearly £5m.
As a result, Gavin Grant today calls for emergency help from the nation’s animal lovers, saying:
The recession may be over but these are very dark times for its silent victims, the animals. They have never needed our help so desperately.
Preventing cruelty and helping the animals most in need are the RSPCA’s absolute priorities but the number of abused and abandoned animals is soaring.
At the same time, we have more animal abusers to investigate, prosecute and hopefully prevent from hurting animals than anyone can remember.
This is a real crisis and despite the immense dedication of our staff and volunteers, we are struggling to cope. We really need our country’s animal lovers to step forward and open their hearts, homes and purses in these extremely difficult times.
Can you help?
Please help support our vital work.
To donate to the RSPCA’s urgent Animal Welfare Crisis Appeal:
- Text 'Crisis' now to 70007 to give £5
(Text costs £5 + one standard network rate message)
- or call the Emergency Appeal Line on 0300 123 8181
- or donate online at: www.rspca.org.uk/crisisappeal