Cost-of-living: Struggling households and farms put UK on brink of animal welfare crisis claim charities

A new joint report by the UK’s leading animal charities has warned that the soaring fuel, food and power bills are the biggest threat to pets, wildlife and farm livestock.

The Scottish SPCA and the RSPC experts collaborated on a new Animal Kindness Index which shows the biggest threat to animals in the UK is the cost of living crisis.

The report, based on a YouGov survey of more than 4,000 UK adults, found that animal welfare is one of the top most important issues for people, more than two-thirds of the public describe themselves as ‘animal-lovers’, and 75% said they’d carried out an act of kindness for animals in the past.

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However, the report also revealed that the rising cost of living and the cost of pet ownership could threaten the welfare of our pets, with 72% of UK pet owners saying they think the cost of living will impact their animals, almost 70% expressing concern about the cost of care, and a fifth worried about how they’ll afford to feed their pets.

People who took on pets like this ferret, named Gunther by Scottish SPCA staff, are abandoning them because of rising bosts

Farm livestock is also at risk as farmers struggle to cope with rising fuel, feed and fertiliser costs.

Gilly Mendes Ferreira, head of innovation and strategic relations, said, “The research carried out by the RSPCA as part of their Animal Kindness Index is vital for us to understand key animal welfare trends and the Scottish SPCA is proud to have played a part in the development of this index.

Emma Slawinski, director of advocacy and policy at the RSPCA, said the UK is “on the brink” of an animal welfare crisis.

She added: “It’s absolutely heart-breaking.”

Neglected animals like this donkey with overgrown hooves could become a more familiar sight as people struggle to pay bills
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