As both a full-time vet, at Grove Lodge Vets, and an animal welfare campaigner, I find winter an interesting time to reflect and look back over the past year, and see what, if any, progress has been made regarding the future of our country’s pets.
And, for the first time in a while, I’m pleased to report that, in the last 12 months, I have noticed progress on a number of different levels.
Interestingly, “people power”, fuelled by social media, means it’s easier for people to rally together, express themselves, show support and join campaigns that can lead to big changes.
The perfect example, notably, was Brian May’s anti-badger cull e-petition, last summer, which successfully caused a rather embarrassing Government U-turn and saved thousands of badgers’ lives.
Last month, I was also impressed when attending one of my many meetings in Parliament, when the royal family of “doggy” organisations – the RSPCA, Kennel Club, Dogs Trust and British Veterinary Association – all seemed to play nicely, planning to work together for the benefit of dogs – and I’ve also met a few more animal welfare-minded MPs this year, who will prove very useful in 2013, I’m sure.
Finally, I try to visit a local school every week to talk to pupils of all ages about caring for pets, and explain basic animal welfare needs.
On my rounds in 2012, I definitely noticed and heard greater feelings of empathy shown in animal discussions than in previous years.
This can only be a good thing, as if the young people understand animal welfare now, there will, hopefully, be less cruelty in future generations.
So, loads to be hopeful about for animal welfare in 2013, and please let me know if you’d like to book a school visit with me about caring for animals.