Blue Cross has released a report to MPs demonstrating that the UK could face crisis in areas of pet welfare if warning signs are not addressed early.
Chris Burghes, chief executive of Blue Cross, said that as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, the social and economic impact is becoming increasingly apparent.
Mr Burghes said: “Among pet owners receiving universal credit we surveyed, 13% said they or someone in their household had started to claim this since lockdown began (YouGov survey for Blue Cross), and reports suggest the economic fallout could leave 1.1 million more people below the poverty line, including a further 200,000 children (Institute of Public Policy Research). Our veterinary services expect to see a rise in requests for help as a result of financial hardship.
“The last three months have been unlike anything we have ever experienced before as a charity. The impact of COVID-19 has been felt by every part of our organisation from our frontline services in rehoming, clinical and education to our income generation teams like retail and fundraising.
“The impact for us as a charity is likely to be felt for many years. Not only has Blue Cross been affected, we also know that the animal welfare sector more widely has been heavily impacted by the crisis.”
And for those with pets with veterinary or behavioural issues, the pandemic has brought emotional challenges and difficult choices. YouGov polling for Blue Cross found 40% of pet owners whose pets were euthanised during lockdown were unable to be with them at the time due to restrictions.
Mr Burghes added: “Our report outlines key recommendations for government, based on our research and real animal welfare sector experiences, to protect pets and their owners as the country emerges from crisis.”
To download the Blue Cross report, click HERE.