More than two-thirds (68%) of people in the South-East think the UK should do more to help the welfare of animals, according to a new poll by the Southwater based RSPCA.
Figures from the charity reveal that although a massive 86% of people in the South-East consider themselves animal lovers, 35% feel a lack of money and 35% cite a lack of time as barriers to doing more to help animals.
One in ten (11%) people felt that their actions couldn’t make a difference.
This week, the RSPCA, based near Horsham, is launching its new #AnimalKind campaign which aims to encourage people to join it in creating a world which is kinder to animals.
The campaign aims to give people practical advice about what they can do to ensure that all animals are better protected and cared for and has produced a free guide to show how little acts of kindness can make a big difference.
Klare Kennett, Assistant Director of External Relations, Marketing and Communications at the RSPCA, said: “It is really encouraging to see that we still consider ourselves to be a nation of animal lovers but we want to show people that it doesn’t take a lot of time or money to do your bit to help create a world that’s kinder to animals.
“We at the RSPCA are dedicated to improving the lives of animals everywhere but we cannot do it alone. We know so many people want to do their best for animals, be it pets, wildlife or those reared on farms, but they may not know how they can help.
“We wanted to give people ideas of little things they can do, such as signing a petition, doing a litter pick, or volunteering to walk a dog, which do not take lots of time or money, but change animals lives for the better.”
In the survey of more than 2,000 people across Great Britain, carried out by YouGov, respondents from the South-East said that the animal welfare issue they were most concerned about (41%) was animals being used in blood sports such as badger baiting or cock fighting.
However, just five per cent of people in the region said a lack of homes for animals was a major concern and only 15% said farm animal welfare was one of their main worries.
While blood sports undoubtedly cause horrific suffering to animals, the numbers of animals involved are relatively small. However, in the UK each year hundreds of thousands of rescue pets are waiting in adoption centres looking for homes, and nearly a billion animals are reared on farms in the UK.
Klare added: “People are rightly concerned about barbaric and illegal blood sports which cause the animals involved untold suffering. However, the numbers remain, thankfully, relatively small.
“What many people perhaps don’t realise is that rescue centres are bursting at the seams with animals needing homes, and that kennel-life can be stressful and difficult for many animals who wait for weeks, months or even years for their forever home.
“Similarly, people probably don’t know that millions of farm animals are kept in conditions which just aren’t good enough, and currently only a relatively small proportion are in higher welfare schemes.
“So by choosing to adopt rather than buy a pet, or checking food for the RSPCA Assured label, you could be making a difference.”
With litter and plastic high on the public agenda, 35% of people in the South-East revealed they were concerned about the destruction or damage to wildlife habitats and 30% worried about litter and plastic being hazardous to animals.
For more hints and tips about how to do your bit to help animals, get a free Animal Kindness guide from www.rspca.org.uk/animalkind.