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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Pets R Us

A fascinating pamphlet arrives in the office promoting the virtues of pet ownership. It is produced by an organisation called ProPets who say that they were formed by key pet membership organisations to provide a strong, united voice to promote responsible pet ownership.

The geek in me though is intriqued by the many facts that are available. It seems that a wide variety of pets are owned in the UK, at least 10.5 million dogs, 10.3 million cats, 100 million fish, 7 million reptiles and amphibians, 2.3 million small mammals including rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, 1.6 million birds incluidng aviary, poultry and pigeons and 2.7 million others.

Latest figures show that there are nearly 50,000 people working in the pet care sector and that pet owners spend an average of £87 million a week on pet care. That is nearly £4.7 billion a year in turnover, which nets Government about £1.6 billion per annum in tax.

They say that pet owning pensioners make up to 21% fewer visits to the doctor. Dog owners make 8% and cat owners 12% fewer visits to the doctor than non pet-owning people. Children from households with pets have stronger immune systems and take fewer days off sick from school, receiving up to 18 extra half-days schooling per year.

In addition exposure to pets in the first year of life lowers the prevalence of allergic rhinitis and asthma in school children. Pet ownership is associated with lower levels of stress whilst pet owners have lower blood pressure, triglyceride and cholesterol than non-owners, which cannot be attributed to differences such as cigarette smoking, diet, weight or socio-economic profile.

In all they claim that owning pets saves the NHS £1.4 billion a year. Taken with the tax take this makes the economic value of pet ownership to the Exchequeur as in excess of £3.1 billion a year, the equivalent to nearly 1p on the basic rate of income tax.
That's why the PDSA is such a good charity to support.
"....7 million reptiles and amphibians..."

Unfortunately, most reptile owners have little idea how to look after reptiles since they require specialist UVB lighting and calcium supplements.

Would agree with FHS that the PDSA is a good charity to support, ditto the Dogs Trust and Retired Greyhound Trust.
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