We're launching five key pledges to improve the lives of millions of animals in England and Wales over the next five years - and we're counting on you to help us.
For nearly 190 years we've given hundreds of millions of animals better lives, rescuing them from unacceptable situations and finding them new homes. We'll always do that. But our new pledges mean we're also tackling the root causes of poor welfare, cruel treatment and neglect that so many animals still suffer in today's changing world.
New world, new challenges
Today our work is in more demand than ever before.
New laws and technology have brought new challenges. For instance the internet has completely changed the way people buy animals. We now estimate that more than half get dogs via the internet, friends or neighbours, often without knowing anything about how to care for them.
Less than one-quarter get animals from rescue organisations like us, where they will be given all the help, information and support they need to look after their pets.
Inevitably we have to pick up the pieces when reality kicks in and the animals are abandoned or mistreated.
A must have attitude and throw away culture
A must-have attitude to animals has developed, driven in part by the media and celebrity culture. We saw this in the increased sales of terrapins following the film Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the 1990s. And the demand for 'handbag dogs' and even meerkats.
Unfortunately the desire to possess doesn't always last, and the animals could become the victims of our throwaway culture.
Some ancient animal welfare issues are still around too. Dog fighting, though prohibited in 1835, seems to be increasing, as it becomes popular in different communities.
Time to take five
It's time to reverse these recent trends. Our five pledges are helping us do that. And enable us to measure the real effect we're having on animals' lives.