Keeping pets and owners together
The squeeze on household budgets has started to affect pets and animal welfare charities alike. Together for Animals members are seeing an increase in people needing their support here in the UK and abroad – either to provide veterinary care that is otherwise unaffordable, or as people face the impossible and heart-breaking decision to give up their animal due to the cost of their ongoing care.
The cost-of-living crisis has added another layer of problems for pet owners. Many are facing an impossible choice between providing for themselves or buying food for their pets, and more animals are coming into our members due to their owners no longer being able to afford to feed or home them.
In two of the London boroughs our member Mayhew works in, Camden and Brent, use of food banks by pet owners continues to rise, as does the uptake of Mayhew’s Individual Care Packages which are filled with pet essentials like collars, leads, bowls, cat litter and pet food.
Blue Cross has rapidly expanded its network of pet food banks across the country in response to the deepening cost of living crisis. The scheme to feed hungry pets launched in June 2021 in Sheffield and has now been rolled out to sites nationwide while also supporting 90 food banks for people. There are currently 13 Blue Cross hospitals, rehoming centres and shops operating their own pet food banks, both collecting and distributing vital supplies to those in need.
We know that surrendering an animal is an absolute last resort and our members strive to keep pets and the people that love them together wherever possible. Support from pet food banks and individual care packages are just some of the many ways they all continue to do this.
Louise, Hospital Lead at Blue Cross’ Victoria animal hospital, which has teamed up with a human food bank at Westminster Chapel, said: “No pet should have to go hungry, and no one should have to choose between feeding themselves or feeding their pet.”