New petition calls for network of pet food banks across UK to help people with cost of living

petition for pet Food Banks
Maggie Davies

The Scottish SPCA has launched a pilot scheme in 12 local authority areas to help pet owners.

Daily Record reports that a new online petition is calling on the UK Government to “urgently work” with charities and the veterinary industry to introduce targeted animal welfare support across the country to prevent pets from being abandoned or euthanised as owners struggle to cope with the ongoing cost of living crisis.

Wildlife protection and animal welfare campaigner, Dominic Dyer, created and posted the petition on the petitions-parliament website and warned that without intervention from the UK Government, “millions of dogs and cats could be at risk” on a scale not seen since the Second World War.

The petition proposes that a network of pet food banks should be introduced across the UK and that more kennels and veterinary care support is needed. Mr Dyer also wants to see the UK Government introduce free veterinary care for the pets of people who are homeless and mental health support for those working in the veterinary industry.

The campaigner is also proposing that local authorities should deal with stray dogs and that visas for non-UK vets and vet nurses, entering the UK, to be fast-tracked.

The ‘Create a Cost of Living Animal Welfare Crisis Fund to protect dogs & cats’ petition has already received more than 7,294 signatures of support from across the country and is open until April 30, 2023.

At 10,000 signatures the UK Government will respond and at 100,000 it would be considered for debate in Parliament – you can read the full petition online here.

The petition comes as an animal welfare charity said it saw calls from people facing the ‘heart-breaking’ decision to give up their pet soar last year amid the cost of living crisis.

The Scottish SPCA said more than 4,000 calls to its helpline in 2022 were from people inquiring about giving up their pet, more than three times as many as in 2021.

It said the majority of callers cited financial issues including vet bills as their main issue. The charity said some people were having to choose between feeding themselves or their animal, or were considering giving their pet up as the cost of living crisis took its toll.

In response to the difficulties people are facing the Scottish SPCA last August pioneered Pet Aid, which provides vital pet supplies to people when they need them most.

The service, which works with local food banks and community projects across Scotland, is now available in 35 places around the country – full list of locations can be found here.

Scottish SPCA chief executive Kirsteen Campbell said: “Last year we saw first-hand how people were having to choose between feeding themselves or their animal, or making the heart-breaking decision to give their pet up.”

She added: “The best thing for animal welfare is to keep a human and a pet together, and that’s what our overriding ambition is through this crisis.”

The charity urged anyone struggling to care for an animal to call the Scottish SPCA’s confidential animal helpline on 03000 999 999 for advice and support.

(Story source: Daily Record)

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