The cost-of-living crisis may lead to more abandonments, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has said
Rising costs in the UK could have "a worrying impact" on the welfare of people's pets, one of the biggest animal charities in the country warned on Saturday.
Speaking to Sky News, a spokesperson for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) explained that as the "rising cost of living puts a strain on people's finances," there is concern that more pets will be abandoned. The charity is also worried that it could see a rise in the number of pets "being treated with home remedies to cut costs instead of being taken to the vet."
"This could all have a worrying impact on animal welfare," the spokesman said, while urging pet owners struggling with care for their animals to "seek help from friends and family," or reputable charities.
Earlier this month, the RSPCA reported that the cost-of-living crisis added "a further dimension" to the problems exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic, when a massive increase in dog ownership led to a rise in abandonments and cases of animal cruelty. More than 3 million dogs were acquired in the UK during the lockdown, according to a Pet Food Manufacturers Association report in 2021. Last year, more than 92,000 dogs were reported to the charity as victims of cruelty - a 16% rise in one year.
While the average monthly cost of care for a small dog, according to vet charity PDSA, is about Pound 50 ($60), expenses can skyrocket if a pet becomes ill, with some procedures costing thousands of pounds.
In July, Oak Tree Animals' Charity in Cumbria reported a sharp increase in abandonments due to financial hardships. Between January and July, the number of animals taken to the shelter for this reason increased by 500% compared to the same period last year.
At the same time, donations to the center have dropped, as people have less money to spare, the charity said.
The energy crisis in Europe has been exacerbated by the sanctions on Moscow over the Ukraine conflict and the decrease in Russian natural gas supplies. While the UK is not directly dependent on Moscow for fuel, it is still suffering from rising energy prices.
Annual household bills in the UK are expected to surpass Pound 3,300 ($3,971) this winter, according to energy consultant Cornwall Insight. As many as 6 million British households could be subjected to power cuts this winter if Russian gas supplies to Europe are stopped, The Times reported last month, citing a Whitehall document.