The UK’s largest cat and dog welfare charities, Cats Protection and Dogs Trust, have joined forces to launch National Neuter Day.
The launch took place in London at Victoria Tower Gardens, Parliament Square. Ben Bradshaw, DEFRA Minister for Animal Health and Welfare and Derek Conway MP, along with 50 parliamentary colleagues, joined Cats Protection and Dogs Trust throughout the morning to launch their National Neuter Awareness day.
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 last month shows that more awareness is required on the benefits of neutering.
The survey of over 1,000 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 nine per cent 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, commented: ‘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.’
Heather McCann, Cats Protection’s Interim Chief Executive, commented: ‘Awareness campaigns such as this play an important role in highlighting the need to neuter, especially when you consider that just one un-neutered female cat can produce up to 20,000 descendents in five years.
Although overpopulation is a problem that cannot be solved overnight, we hope this campaign will encourage more owners to get their pets neutered, thereby reducing the number of unwanted and abandoned pets in the future.’