Purina has joined forces with national animal charities, other food companies and FareShare to help owners in need to feed their hungry pets in the face of the cost-of-living crisis.
Dogs Trust, RSPCA, Battersea and Cats Protection are working together with industry body UK Pet Food to secure food from pet food manufacturers, which is then distributed all over the UK through FareShare, the UK’s largest charity fighting hunger and food waste.
To date, the programme has received 43,621 kilograms of pet food, the equivalent of more than 304,000 meals for hungry pets across the UK, who might not otherwise have been fed a proper meal that day.
Petplan, the UK’s number one pet insurer, is covering the cost of distributing food to pets in need.
The alliance will help redistribute pet food to FareShare’s network of 9,500 charities which, as well as providing food banks, also provide wraparound services that help tackle the root causes of poverty, including homelessness shelters, women’s refuge centres, older people’s lunch clubs and after school clubs. This pet food will help owners most impacted by the cost-of-living crisis.
Paul Cardwell, 55, from Preston in Lancashire, has had eight-year-old cat Lucky since she was a kitten. He started using the local food bank in the town in 2020 and also volunteers to help with deliveries.
He said: “The food bank makes a huge difference to my life as my food and pet food keeps going up in cost. Getting food from the food bank means we have enough for both of us and I don’t have to choose between cat food and my own food.
“The cost of living has made life much harder. I’ve never considered giving Lucky up as she is my life, my family; she is my sole source of company. It doesn’t matter what happens in life, we will always be together.
“The staff and volunteers at the food bank are all fabulous and the help I get from them means a lot to me and Lucky.”
Lindsay Boswell, CEO of FareShare, said: “The cost-of-living crisis is having a disproportionate impact on people already struggling to make ends meet. We’re incredibly proud to be working with these animal welfare charities and their pet food partners so that people won’t have to choose between feeding themselves or their pets during what is a challenging time for many.”
Owen Sharp, CEO of Dogs Trust, said: “It’s a privilege to be able to join forces with our fellow charities and work hand-in-glove with the corporate sector to make sure our cherished family pets don’t have to go hungry. Dogs Trust continues to receive record-breaking numbers of calls from people who need to give up their pets, so huge thanks to everyone involved in this much-needed project.”
John May, CEO of Cats Protection, said: “The cost-of-living crisis represents a huge issue for cat welfare, with many owners facing impossible choices as costs continue to rise. No one should be forced to give up a beloved pet and no cat should be left hungry. We are proud to be working with our colleagues across the sector to get donated food into the bowls of cats in need.”
Peter Laurie, CEO of Battersea, said: “As leading animal welfare charities, we want to do everything within our power to support the thousands of pets being affected by the cost-of-living crisis. No one should have to worry about where their pet’s next meal is coming from, and we want to reassure any struggling owners that help is available. Battersea is proud to be working alongside our rescue colleagues, pet food partners and Fareshare to ensure pets across the country can continue to be well-fed and much-loved.”
Chris Sherwood, CEO of the RSPCA, said: “Sadly, we know the cost-of-living crisis is a real worry for pet owners. We are so grateful to the suppliers currently on board with us and the FareShare network but to help reach even more struggling pet owners we really need more manufacturers to come on board and help more animals and owners through these extremely tough times.”
Nicole Paley, Deputy CEO of UK Pet Food, said: “Our members are responsible for feeding 90% of the nation’s pets, so we have been delighted that many have signed up to the scheme and donated pet food for those in need.”