Connected to nature

Our connection to nature is increasingly important. A large proportion of people say it’s important to protect wildlife in towns and cities (90%) and the countryside (94%). This isn’t always consistent with our desire to have amenities close by, however, and isn’t usually reflected in planning guidance and regulation. 

More than 7 in 10 people are worried about the future of wildlife in the UK (71%) and around the world (77%). Combined with the overwhelming proportion of people who consider protecting wildlife important, this gives a clear mandate for policies to support wild animals in their environments to be given priority.

Actions to protect nature

In the last 12 months, individuals’ actions to help nature and wildlife feature prominently. One-half (50%) of people say they have reduced their use of single-use plastic and/or have been feeding the birds – making these the most common ways of helping animals. About one-third (33%) of people have donated to animal charities and/or bought a product from an animal charity, while almost 1 in 3 (30%) created a habitat for wildlife in their garden.

We see some of those actions reflected in the work of the RSPCA’s amazing volunteers. For example, 850 people took part in the Big Help Out, the volunteering celebration for the King's Coronation. They supported wildlife by picking up litter, planting wildlife-friendly plants in gardens and building bird boxes.

90% in towns and cities and 94% in the countryside say it's important to protect wildlife

Our responsibility to the public

Nearly 6 in 10 (57%) people think protecting wildlife is a priority for the RSPCA.

We are responding to that call from the public. Our actions include advocating for a positive list (i.e. a limited list of species that can be bought, sold and kept) of animals permitted to be kept as pets. We are also pushing governments across the UK to update wildlife legislation to ensure that more animals are protected. This includes asking the UK Government to update hunting legislation to ban trail hunting. This year, the Scottish Government agreed to a new Hunting Act that bans trail hunting.

6 in 10 think protecting wildlife is a priority for the RSPCA

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Your local SPCA

The Animal Kindness Index 2023 was produced together with Scottish SPCA and Ulster SPCA. Find out more about your local SPCA.