Ben Bradshaw, Minister for Animal Health and Welfare and Derek Conway MP, along with 50 parliamentary colleagues joined Cats Protection and Dogs Trust throughout the morning of Wednesday 31st January at Victoria Tower Gardens, London, to launch National Neuter Awareness day.
With appalling numbers of abandoned and stray cats and dogs found every year in the UK, the two charities are determined to prevent this situation.
Cats Protection and Dogs Trust believe that the best solution to humanely reduce the dog and cat population is through neutering. By publicly launching a special day to heighten awareness of this, and results of a survey of public opinion, the charities are encouraging pet owners to neuter their cats and dogs.
Last year according to a Dogs Trust survey, over 100,000 dogs were found stray, and every year Cats Protection rehomes 60,000 abandoned, unwanted and stray cats and kittens. The charities believe that neutering is the most effective and humane way of reducing the number of stray and abandoned cats and dogs, by preventing the number of unwanted litters, and have come together to raise awareness of this message.
Neutering is a simple procedure that also has great health benefits. In particular spaying eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancer in cats and dogs and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer. Castration eliminates the risk of testicular cancer in cats and dogs and decreases the incidence of prostate cancer in dogs. Neutering cats also helps to reduce the spread of feline infectious diseases.
A survey conducted by TNS on behalf of Cats Protection and Dogs Trust launched today shows that more awareness is required on the benefits of neutering. The survey of over 1000 adults aged between 16 – 64 revealed that 17% of respondents felt it was not important for cats / dogs to be neutered, with this figure rising to nearly 40% among 16 – 24 year olds. Women tend to be more willing then men to have their pet neutered, reinforcing the theory that some men think it’s not masculine to have a pet neutered.
Recipients were also asked what would put them off from neutering a pet and the most commonly-cited reason was the cost of neutering, followed by the view that it “is important for a dog or cat to have one litter” and concern that neutering might hurt the pet.
When asked what was the most important reason for a cat or dog to be neutered, 70% believed it was to reduce the number of unwanted litters, with only 9% stating that it was for the health of the animal. The two charities say that these are the two most important reasons why you should neuter a pet.
Clarissa Baldwin, Chief Executive of Dogs Trust comments: ‘It is so important that we highlight this issue. With thousands of unwanted, abandoned and stray dogs and cats every year, there is a long way to go before the numbers are reduced. The most effective and humane way to achieve this is by neutering. It’s also great that so many MPs are backing this campaign and we hope this will help raise awareness of this issue.’
Cats Protection and Dogs Trust neuter thousands of cats and dogs every year for owners who are in receipt of means-tested benefits. For further information on Cats Protection, please call 08702 099 099 or visit www.cats.org.uk or Dogs Trust, please call 020 7837 0006 or visit the website www.dogstrust.org.uk