RSPCA Called About Animal Neglect Every Four Minutes During Winter

The RSPCA receives more calls about animal neglect than any other issue during the winter months, receiving on average one call every four minutes.

While many people are busy Christmas shopping, going on winter walks or cooking a family dinner, others are having to make a call to the RSPCA.

The figures show the shocking reality that while most will be getting excited in the build up to Christmas, the work of the RSPCA never stops, and it’s animal neglect that is the biggest concern during the winter months. (Based on 2015 figures.)

The charity has today launched its ‘Love Animals, Hate Cruelty’ winter campaign which aims to bring these issues to the attention of our animal-loving nation and remind people that amongst the celebrations in the build up to the festive season, a huge number of calls are being made to report neglect.

From animals left without shelter or adequate food and water, to those left with painful untreated injuries or illness, statistics show that from October 2015 to January 2016, 45,176 calls were made to the RSPCA about animals suffering due to neglect.

This works out at 15 calls every single hour, not to mention the huge number of other calls the charity receives on top of this relating to other issues like abandonment and deliberate acts of cruelty.

Some of the more upsetting neglect cases the RSPCA saw last winter include:

  • A four-year old pony found tied up with a chain cutting into her skin.
  • A 12-year old Jack Russell found with an untreated tumour the size of a football
  • A bearded dragon neglected so severely he developed a fatal condition
  • A litter of three week-old kittens that tragically died of anaemia caused by a chronic flea infestation
Neglected dog suffering from severe skin condition

Ivy receiving treatment at RSPCA Harmsworth Animal Hospital

The trend looks to have begun again this winter, as only last week the RSPCA took in a dog suffering from such a severe untreated skin condition, she has virtually no fur left. The dog, now named ‘Ivy’ (pictured right) is at RSPCA Harmsworth Animal Hospital and is responding well to treatment.


RSPCA superintendent Simon Osborne said:

“It’s a sad fact that every day at work throughout the year can be tough for our inspectors and animal welfare and collection officers, but winter really does come with its own challenges and issues. In fact, we expect to take in somewhere in the region of 19,000 animals this winter alone.

“The fact that every four minutes during winter somebody calls us to report neglect to animals is shocking, especially when you add that to all the other calls we receive at the same time about other welfare issues. It really hits home just what we are up against.

“Issues such as animals not been provided with a suitable environment to shelter from the harsh weather and not being given enough food and water to keep them healthy despite the cold and damp are common complaints made to us.”

Along with highlighting the winter issues faced by inspectors who are out on the ground tirelessly tackling animal neglect and cruelty, the national charity is also reminding people that it’s not all doom and gloom – as a nation of pet lovers, it’s important to celebrate the love we have for not only our pets, but wildlife and farm animals too.

You can help the RSPCA to continue rescuing, rehabilitating and rehoming animals in desperate need of care. Support their winter Love Animals, Hate Cruelty campaign and visit the RSPCA Winter Campaign


Posted in Animal Welfare, RSPCA | Leave a comment

Committee On Climate Change Advice On Climate Targets “Very Disappointing”

Friends of the Earth has criticised the Committee on Climate Change (CCC) for advising ministers that it is too early to adopt stricter targets for tackling climate change. The advice is contained in a report on UK climate action following the Paris agreement.

Friends of the Earth chief executive Craig Bennett said

“This is very disappointing. The Committee on Climate Change should offer advice on carbon budgets based on the scientific evidence, not what it feels politically expedient.

“What sort of message will this send to the rest of the world if Britain, once a climate leader, offers only delay on one of the central tenets of the Paris Agreement less than twelve months after it was signed?

“It’s no surprise that the government’s approach to climate policy is failing. A child could tell you that building new runways, allowing new open-cast coal mines, and forcing fracking on local communities, while doing precious little to support renewables or energy saving, isn’t going to help us limit temperature rises to 1.5 degrees.

“But it’s Government policy that needs to change and fast, not just the targets”.

The Committee on Climate Change also published reports today on the implications of Brexit on climate policy and the next steps for UK heat policy.

On Brexit, Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Simon Bullock said:

“Neither hard nor soft Brexit will stop increasingly intense floods, storms and droughts. We need to get on with cutting pollution and making our economy more energy-efficient, whatever the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. Keeping existing EU policies at least as strong as present is the lowest bar for UK action.

“In the EU or out, it is only by cutting our use of gas, coal and oil that we can reduce the growing risks people face from more intense floods and storms.”

On Homes, he said:

“The CCC is right to highlight the crucial importance of stronger action on homes. Unfortunately government policy on decarbonising our homes is so inadequate it should be condemned for demolition.

“Helping people insulate their homes would cut bills and pollution, and should be a top-priority for climate and health action.”

Posted in Climate Change, Friends of the Earth | Leave a comment

It’s 1 Year Since The Plastic Bag Charge, Should It Apply To Disposable Coffee Cups?

The popularity of the plastic bag charge also means that ministers should now extend the scheme to include convenience stores, says Friends of the Earth. Disposable Coffee Cups are a prime example of excessive waste items that could be managed so much better.

Andrew Pendleton, Friends of the Earth’s head of campaigns, said:

“The massive reduction in plastic bag use shows that just a small change in everyday habits can make a meaningful difference. Plastic waste is very good at finding its way into our waterways and countryside, so it’s been a boon for nature and wildlife too.

“Attention is now rightly turning to the estimated 2.5 billion non-recyclable coffee cups that end up in landfill every year, and other by-products of modern life like the completely oversized boxes and excess packaging that results from online shopping. The success of the bag charge shows that there is a huge appetite from consumers and forward-thinking businesses to radically reduce waste.

“By pushing for chains to offer a discount if people bring their own cup, consumers are rewarded, and waste is reduced. To that end, why can we not ban all coffee cups that can’t be recycled?”

There were similar charges on bags already in place across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland before England introduced the 5p charge. In Wales the charge was introduced in 2011, and a reduction in plastic bag consumption of 79% was achieved in the first 3 years.

It’s now time to look at what else can be done to change consumer behaviour, and help cut needless, harmful waste.

Posted in Friends of the Earth, Recycling | Leave a comment

Green Light For Fracking In Lancashire Slammed

The Secretary of State Sajid Javid, has decided that fracking should be allowed to proceed at Preston New Road, Lancashire. He has delayed making a decision on the Roseacre site to allow time for further evidence on highway safety and any other representations before reaching a final decision on the appeal. The letter released from CLG this morning states that the Secretary of State “is minded to allow Appeal C and grant planning permission, subject to conditions”.

Naturally, today’s decision has rightly been slammed by local communities and Friends of the Earth.

In June 2015 Lancashire County Council voted against shale gas drilling following over 18,000 local objections. But, fracking company Cuadrilla appealed against the council’s decision. Despite this mass of objections, just one minister made the final decision on whether fracking is allowed at Preston New Road, and Roseacre Wood.

Pat Davies, Chair of Preston New Road Action Group, said:

“This is a sad day as it is clear to all that this government neither listens nor can it be trusted to do the right thing for local communities.

“It is deplorable that an industry that has been rejected on every level has inflicted itself on Preston New Road.

“Westby Parish Council, Fylde Borough Council and Lancashire County Council planning committee all said no to this application. These reasons were based on facts and knowledge, they rejected the site as unsuitable.

“Dismantling the democratic process to facilitate a dirty fossil fuel industry when only months ago the UK committed to climate change targets in Paris is another example of saying one thing and doing another.

“Profit clearly comes before people. This decision will be scrutinised by many, not just the people of Lancashire and this travesty of justice will not be accepted. This is not the end. We will challenge this.”

Barbara Richardson of Roseacre Awareness Group said:

“If fracking goes ahead in Roseacre, it would devastate our community. We are allowed to make decisions over wind turbines or solar farms, which have far less impact, but not fracking.

“We are not scaremongers, just concerned residents. These are totally inappropriate greenfield sites, situated in the very heart of rural Fylde, for an industry of this nature.

“So much for our government saying they want local people to have control over their own destiny. Even our own MP urged his own ministers to respect local decision makers.

“We will continue to work with our friends at Preston New Road, and other threatened communities, to stop fracking from happening. It has been a David and Goliath battle. Unfortunately we don’t have the resources of Cuadrilla and the oil and gas industry.

“Fracking is not the solution. It is a backward step in energy policy. Ours is a small and densely populated country, unlike the wide open spaces of the US, which cannot support such an industry without devastating results. Be assured this is about money not people.”

Friends of the Earth north-west campaigner, Helen Rimmer, concluded:

“This is bad news for Lancashire – the community have been fighting fracking for more than five years. This fight continues until this unproven and unpopular industry disappear for good.

“Instead of shoving us down a dangerous path that inevitably leads to climate change, the government should invest in renewables and energy efficiency, an emerging industry that could create 24,000 jobs in the north west alone.”

Friends of the Earth will be looking closely at this decision and we continue to support the community in their campaign to make sure all of Lancashire stays frack free. Only 19% of people support shale gas compared to 81% support for renewables.

Posted in Fracking, Friends of the Earth | Leave a comment

Next Government must champion community energy

Ahead of a major green energy conference in Manchester, Friends of the Earth stated that the next Government must remove barriers to the development of the UK’s huge community renewable energy potential and make this sector a top priority.

The environmental charity said that despite introducing the UK’s first community energy strategy in January 2014, too many Government policies were actively discouraging local people and businesses from developing green power sources – such as solar power, hydro and wind. For example:

  • New rules have made it harder for communities to establish green energy co-operatives. New co-ops are now being turned down because they sell the electricity they produce to the grid, and not to their members.
  • The Chancellor used his most recent Autumn Statement to remove financial incentives for community energy schemes.

In Germany over 25 gigawatts ( 27%) of the electricity generated in the first nine months of 2014, came from renewable sources, and over half of this was supplied by communities and small businesses. In the UK less than half a gigawatt is from communities or small businesses.

Friends of the Earth says that community energy could and should be the driving force behind the UK’s transformation to a low-carbon economy. It has issued a seven point action plan ahead of the general election, which it is asking political parties to support to encourage communities and small businesses to invest in clean energy.

The call for greater support for community energy schemes comes as local organisations and public sector representatives gather in Manchester to take part in ‘Powering Up North’. The conference will feature successful community energy schemes and will look at the opportunities and challenges of developing community renewable energy.

Anna Watson, Friends of the Earth renewable energy campaigner, said:

“Community energy should be the driving force behind a UK green energy revolution, but not enough is being done to give power to the people. Despite all the barriers, local organisations and small businesses are doing fabulous work, but if the Government and local authorities really got behind them community-owned renewable energy schemes could really take off.”

Kate Gilmartin from Greater Manchester Community Renewables said:

“Giving communities the opportunity to invest in renewable energy is really key to helping us secure a sustainable future. It brings real benefits such as raising awareness of energy issues, reducing fuel poverty, providing local funds for local projects and tackling climate change. National and local government must listen to community energy groups, and help them realise their full potential in the fight against climate change.”

Friends of the Earth is calling on all political parties to show support for community energy by:

  • Pledging to have fitted six million domestic solar rooftop systems by 2020;
  • Introducing measures to enable every school in the UK to go solar – including allowing schools to borrow money to install panels;
  • Allowing renewable energy investments to be included in ISAs;
  • Making it easier and cheaper for communities to buy and sell electricity generated locally at a fair price;
  • Giving communities the right to invest in nearby large-scale renewable developments – with a mandatory community share offer of at least 20%;
  • Guaranteeing grid connection for communities at an affordable cost;
  • Giving local government a duty to reduce carbon emissions; and plan for, and actively support, the development of community-owned renewable energy.
Posted in Friends of the Earth | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Compelling evidence for pesticide ban

According to Friends of the Earth, the scientific evidence linking neonicotinoid insecticides to bee decline is compelling. Their statement follows DEFRA Secretary Liz Truss telling the NFU conference in Birmingham that the Government had “told the EU Commission that decisions on pesticides must be proportionate and based on science”.

Friends of the Earth Nature campaigner Sandra Bell said:

“The scientific evidence linking neonicotinoid insecticides to bee decline is compelling, and there’s no evidence so far that restrictions on these chemicals have affected crop yields. If pesticides are having a negative impact on our health or environment, they must be withdrawn from use.”

“The worrying decline of our bees is a threat to the future of British food security. To feed a growing population we must look after our pollinators better – along with our soil and earth worms. Public subsidies should be used to help farmers ensure that we have good quality, plentiful food and a thriving natural world.”

Posted in Friends of the Earth | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sky Lanterns – RSPCA Pushes For Ban

While sky lanterns may be pretty they pose a serious danger of injury or even death to animals and now the RSPCA is pushing for a ban.

Owl dead in sky lantern

Owl killed by sky lantern

Sky lanterns (also known as Chinese lanterns) can harm wildlife, livestock and other animals by causing injuries that lead to suffering and a slow painful death.

The RSPCA is urging New Year partygoers to forego using sky lanterns and instead opt for more animal-friendly options.



David Bowles, director of communications for the RSPCA, commented:

“Sadly, many people are unaware of the potentially deadly consequences the release of sky lanterns can have for wildlife and other animals.

“Their sale has already been banned in countries such as Austria, Germany, and Malta and we would like to see local authorities up and down the country ban their use so this needless suffering can end.

“Sky lanterns – along with fireworks and balloons – may seem like innocent ways to celebrate the New Year, but if used carelessly they can terrify, injure and kill all animals – wildlife, livestock and pets.

“I think most people who saw the kind of injuries or fatalities we have would think twice. Cattle have died after bits of sky lanterns have fallen into their feed, baby birds abandoned after their parents are spooked by a fireworks explosion and scraps of balloons landing in a field could be eaten by any animal from a horse to a pet dog with fatal consequences.

“There are so many ways that people can have fun on New Year’s Eve which will not cause problems for animals, and sometimes the extra thought and care can end up making the event even more special.”

Anyone who would like to take action and urge their local authority to join the growing list of councils that have banned their release should visit

Posted in RSPCA | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

EU action on air pollution and waste under threat

Fears are growing that the EU may be on the verge of scrapping crucial plans to clean up our polluted air and cut waste.

According to reports coming out of Brussels, some business organisations may be successful in lobbying the EU to drop these key areas of work – which are crucial for our health and the long-term efficiency of our economies.

Friends of the Earth Senior Economics and Resources Campaigner David Powell said:

 “Protecting our health and scarce resources should be a central plank of EU policy-making – caving in to short-term, industry lobbying on these crucial issues would be shameful.

“If the EU’s vision of a new Europe isn’t long-term, green and focused on wiping out waste, it’s not fit for purpose in the 21st century.

“Mr Juncker must give the green light to desperately needed proposals which put people, the planet and our future economic health first – or face a backlash.”

Posted in Friends of the Earth | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

RSPCA issue weather bomb warning

As the weather bomb hits the UK and temperatures take a turn for the worse the RSPCA is offering advice to animal lovers. 

Severe weather can sometimes leave people with little time to prepare but there are some things which people can do to try and reduce the risk to their pets and help wildlife.

From wiping off a horse after exercise to reduce the risk of chills and providing a tray of grass in your house for indoor rabbits, to some very simple things which wildlife lovers can do – these small steps could make a big difference.

Winter can also be challenging for birds, hedgehogs, squirrels. Every year between one and two thousand wild animals are brought into RSPCA wildlife centres in December, January and February suffering from dehydration, hunger and cold.

But there are things you can do. From making your garden wildlife-friendly; maintaining your garden pond and leaving out food and fresh, clean unfrozen water can make all the difference to how well wild animals survive the colder months. Lisa Richards, RSPCA companion animal scientist, says:

“Taking action early really can make the difference to animals. We are mostly a nation of animal lovers, and many people will happily go that extra mile.”


Horses and ponies need extra care and attention during snowy weather.

To ensure your horse is happy and healthy during the cold snap, owners are advised to visit your horse as early as possible each day.  This way, if there are any problems, you can seek assistance during the daylight hours. It is also important to make sure your horse has dried off properly after exercise as sweat can lead to chills.

If rabbits or guinea pigs are usually housed outdoors, it’s best to bring them indoors or into an unused garage or shed while it is snowing, but they will still need free access to a secure exercise area.

If keeping rabbits’ outside, their home should be placed in a sheltered position, facing away from the prevailing wind, snow and rain.

In the case of cats, the RSPCA suggests providing enough litter trays, filled with the cat’s preferred litter, indoors at all times of year. During the cold snap the ground outside may freeze, and cats who usually toilet outdoors may be put off from doing so, so it is very important they have suitable toilet facilities indoors.

Dog owners should dress them and their dogs in reflective coats when out on night-time walkies, to help you both stay safe and seen.

RSPCA wildlife expert Nicola White said:

“Sometimes it is the small things that can make all the difference. A little bit of extra food left out for a hungry robin or badger may be the help it needs to last through a spate of frosty weather, and just melting a small hole in your garden pond can make all the difference.

“We can all struggle when the weather takes a turn for the worse, and our wildlife friends are often the most vulnerable to the extremes the elements take. They just need a bit of a helping hand sometimes.”


Ways to help include:

If your garden pond freezes over, make a hole in the ice. Otherwise toxic gases can build up in the water of a frozen pond, which may kill fish or frogs that are hibernating at the bottom. It is important to do this by gently melting a hole by carefully placing a pan of hot water on the surface.  Never break the ice with force or tip boiling water onto the pond, as this can harm or even kill any fish that live there.

Birds may have difficulty finding natural foods such as berries, insects, seeds, worms and fruit. Any alternative extra food you can put out during these cold months will help – try giving a range of seeds, fresh unsalted peanuts and table scraps, cheese and fruits like apples and pears.  Garden birds love dried mealworms or waxworms, which can be bought from bird food suppliers.

Although badgers do not hibernate they do sleep through most of the severe weather, and have a tough time finding their favourite food of earthworms when the ground is frozen.  Nibbles such as lightly cooked meats, cheese, peanuts and fruit would be welcomed.

Squirrels also do not hibernate – instead they ‘cache’ (store) food when it’s in good supply to eat when food is scarce.  To help squirrels survive the coldest times of year offer nuts such as hazelnuts, walnuts and almonds, plus some chopped apple, beans, carrots or spinach.

Farm animals can also be affected by severe weather. They need good sources of drinking water and extra food available if necessary. If it is not possible to bring animals such as sheep inside, be extra vigilant and if possible keep them away from frozen water where the risk of falling in is great.

If you would like to help the RSPCA, you can give £3 now by texting HELP to 78866 (text costs £3 + one standard network rate message). They are a charity and rely on public donations to exist.

Posted in Animal Welfare | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Flood defences: Plans wholly inadequate to keep pace with rising flood risk

Government plans to invest over £2bn in flood defence project is not enough to protect homes and businesses from the impacts of climate change, Friends of the Earth warn.

Earlier this week Friends of the Earth revealed that the budget for flood defence spending over the next Parliament is short by at least half a billion pounds, according to confidential plans obtained by the environment charity.

Commenting on today’s announcement, Friends of the Earth climate campaigner Guy Shrubsole said:

 “Whatever happened to ‘money no object’? These flood defence plans simply don’t hold water and are wholly inadequate to keep pace with rising flood risk.

“Failing to tackle climate change comes with a heavy cost, and it’s not right that the government makes flood-risk households pay the price for its failure to do so.

“All parties must, as a matter of national urgency, rethink how we protect the country from climate change – and do far more to prevent it getting worse.”

Posted in Climate Change | Tagged | Leave a comment