Is the UK still a nation of animal lovers? This is the question Blue Cross will be posing during this year’s party conference season. We will be holding fringe events to discuss the issues surrounding the increasing trend for ‘disposable pets’ and asking politicians what can be done to prevent a welfare crisis.
In the last year Blue Cross has seen a 40% increase in stray and abandoned pets being taken in at our centres throughout the UK. The problem is clear to see - there are simply too many pets and not enough good homes available for them. Irresponsible breeders are flooding the market with large numbers of dogs and cats. Many of these will not find the good homes and caring owners they deserve and are instead being mistreated or abandoned; it is then left for animal welfare charities to try and deal with the problem.
We hear the term 'status dog' frequently in the press, but what does that actually mean? Our London hospitals treat more Staffordshire bull terriers then any other breed of dog. Often desired for their status appeal, these dogs are being over bred and abandoned in huge numbers, leaving charities like ourselves in a terrible position as there are simply too many for us to take them all in.
The ones we do take in are often hard to rehome, due to the reputation the Staffie now has as a 'status' dog. It is only due to the dedication and hardwork of our centre staff that we are able to find homes for them.
We have also seen a 90% increase in the number of handbag dogs being taken in at our rehoming centres. More and more people are buying small toy breed dogs as fashion accessories, again, 'status' dogs. Often these animals are impulse purchases and large numbers are given up because the owner can't afford to keep them, doesn’t know how to deal with their behavioural or health issues or just gets bored of them. Animal welfare charities are again left to deal with the resulting problems.
Blue Cross feels that now is the time to act to prevent this crisis spiralling out of control. We will suggest a number of steps to deal with these issues which include cracking down on casual dog breeders, the introduction of compulsory microchipping for dogs, government support for voluntary education schemes, making animal welfare part of the national curriculum and regulating online pet sales.
We will use our conference events to discuss these issues, promote informed debate, and start a dialogue about the role we all need to play to avoid a welfare disaster.
The Blue Cross events are entitled:
Throw away society, disposable pets:
Are we still a nation
of animal lovers?
Labour Event - with Tom Harris MP,
Shadow Minister for Environment,
Food and Rural Affairs
Monday 1st October, 1-2pm,
Central 4, Manchester Central
Conservative Event - with Neil Parish MP
Tuesday 9th October, 9-10am,
Castle Fine Gallery, The ICC