Closing Date
May 31st 2017

Animal Welfare

We love our pets. All of us involved in this competition are totally in love with our animals. With this in mind we are really keen that when we enjoy loads of wonderful funny pet photos, we also use this superb opportunity to encourage us all to be better ‘owners’ if you can call us that, ‘parents’ perhaps, to the creatures in our care.

Bearing that in mind we have partnered with an excellent animal welfare organisation called the Animal Welfare Foundation and this is who they are and what they have to say:

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) is a fundraising and grant giving charity directed by vets and vet nurses, which uses veterinary knowledge to improve the welfare of all animals including working and livestock animals, wildlife and pets.

We do this by providing grant funding to projects which have a direct impact on animal welfare through research, education, advice resources and by providing a forum for discussion to highlight and debate welfare issues and promote animal welfare best practice.

By working directly and proactively with the veterinary profession to identify pressing animal welfare issues we are able to use expert knowledge to advance animal welfare providing evidence to enhance animal welfare best practice for generations to come.

As a small charity we rely entirely on donations to support our work, you can get involved in our work both as an individual and as an organisation, please contact us at enquiries@animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk or visit www.bva-awf.org.uk for more details.

Just to make sure that we are being as kind to animals as possible we also have, as a judge, Emma Milne, one of the UK’s leading vets, authors and animal welfare specialists. We are incredibly lucky to have her on board and so without further ado let’s hear from Emma:

The whole subject of animal welfare is overwhelming. Just when we think we are getting on top of something you suddenly realise that ten other problems spring to mind. In the world of pets, even in countries that see themselves as leaders in welfare there are many problems we need to tackle.

Major welfare issues are caused through simple ignorance or traditional beliefs. As a vet we see so many animals that are bought on an impulse and they are totally unsuitable for the household or family. It’s not because the owners were being stupid or cruel, it’s simply lack of research. For example, with traditional beliefs we still have thousands of rabbits kept on their own in a small hutch. Rabbits are social animals, they need company. They need room to run and jump. Our understanding of animal behaviour has advanced so much even since I qualified in 1996. I’d love owners to really think about the happiness of their pets as well as their healthiness. We need to know the things our animals LOVE to do or feel compelled to do and we need to let them indulge their natural behaviours. Denying animals some of these fundamental social and behavioural needs because it is inconvenient for us is just no longer acceptable. If every current and prospective pet owner learnt, and provided for, all their animals’ needs pet welfare would improve overnight!

Sometimes, and sadly at an alarming rate now, pet animal welfare is also compromised by love and guilt. Busy people don’t have time to interact with their animals or walk their dogs so they give them tasty treats to alleviate their guilt, show their love and make the animal happy. We now have an enormous issue with overweight pets and obesity. It’s really dreadful and obesity is just as bad as malnutrition.

So in the course of this brilliant photo competition let’s focus our cameras on our beautiful, funny pets and focus our minds on making animal welfare better!

Emma Milne

You can find out more at www.emmathevet.co.uk or follow her on Twitter @emmamilnethevet and Facebook @emmamilnevet.

 

We are also very lucky to be partnered with The Humane Society of the United States. You can find them online by clicking their link on their logo and here is a little bit about them:

The Humane Society of the United StatesThe Humane Society of the United States is the nation’s most effective animal protection organization. Since 1954, The HSUS has been fighting for the protection of all animals through advocacy, education and hands-on programs, is rated the top animal organization by our peers, and receives high marks from charity evaluators. Together with our affiliates, we rescue and care for tens of thousands of animals each year, but our primary mission is to prevent cruelty before it occurs. We’re there for all animals, across America and around the world.