Thousands of dogs and cats across the UK have been enjoying nutritious meals at no cost to their owners, through a programme set up by leading animal charities and the UK’s biggest food waste charity.
The Pet Food Partnership, comprising Battersea, Cats Protection, Dogs Trust, RSPCA and FareShare, and supported by Petplan, recently passed the significant milestone of one million meals provided to dogs and cats in England, Scotland and Wales.
To date the programme has provided the equivalent of 1,043,095 meals, approximately 154 tonnes of pet food donated by pet food manufacturers across the UK, during a time when many owners are having to cut costs wherever they can, including what they spend on their beloved pets.
Over the last year the cost of living crisis has continued to have an impact on pets and the animal welfare sector, with many dogs and cats being brought to rescue centres by heartbroken owners no longer able to afford to care for them. FareShare has also seen skyrocketing demand for food, with more people needing support to feed themselves and their families as they struggle to make ends meet.
As the nation prepares to head into another cold winter, facing higher energy bills, the charities fear that many owners will be struggling to cover their living costs. With the programme’s pet food continuing to be distributed to those that need it the most, the partnership hopes that this will give pet owners one less expense to worry about.
A spokesperson for the Pet Food Partnership, said: “We know how important pets are to the people that love them, and that many owners would rather go hungry themselves than let their pet go without a meal. We believe no one should ever have to make that choice. That’s why we started this programme – to offer struggling owners a helping hand and fill pet food bowls across the UK.
“While reaching the million meals milestone is a great example of how effective working together can be, it is also a sad indicator of how many owners continue to struggle as a result of rising costs. From the dog owners up in Aberdeen, to the people with cats down in Plymouth, we’re here to help keep pets well-fed this winter.”
The partnership was created at the end of 2022 with the goal of helping owners struggling to feed their pets during the cost of living crisis. With the animal charities working together to secure pet food donations from leading suppliers including Mars Petcare, Lily’s Kitchen, Pets at Home and Purina, plus additional support from trade industry body UK Pet Food to help co-ordinate and bring in further donations, the food is then distributed to the people and their pets who need it via FareShare’s network of over 8,500 community groups and charities across the UK, supported by a generous donation towards transportation costs from Petplan, the UK’s number one pet insurer.