Monday, 26 September 2011
So what can we do? Well, we’re one of thousands, if not tens of thousands, of people who’ve decided to keep their own chickens. They make such great companions, I’m just surprised more people don’t do it.
But there’s the joy of watching an ex-battery hen which has never seen earth before instinctively start to shimmy and bathe contentedly in the dust. You also get to see a bird, initially so bald that it looks like it’s come from a supermarket shelf, return to full-feathered splendour.
And of course there’s the never-ending supply of eggs, great for neighbourly diplomacy, and which you also know have come from happy and healthy animals. It means you can always ‘go to work on an egg’ – not to mention the child-like joy of discovering a freshly-laid warm egg, especially comforting on a cold autumnal morning.
With our last brood, there was even a hint of friendship – one day we came home to find hen and cat lying down in the grass beside each other and enjoying the sunshine together.
The joy of hens. We’d recommend it to anyone.
So go on, give some chirpy chooks a good home.
Henry Macaulay, RSPCA head of press
Thursday, 15 September 2011
One of the big problems facing RSPCA branches and centres every summer is the deluge of unwanted cats and kittens which fill every space in catteries and in foster homes.
Now we are seeing this year round and, as more cats are abandoned, less people come forward to give them homes. 10,610 were reported as abandoned 2010, compared to 8,310 in 2009.
If I could ask for one thing it would be to urge people to get their cats neutered or spayed – many RSPCA branches and other organisations run discounted programmes for those who might struggle to afford it. It really is the kindest thing to do and helps prevent the heartbreaking situation of cats and kittens being dumped.
The big story of the last week was the rescue of more than 400 Manx shearwaters which had blown off course in strong winds as they migrated to Argentina. The shearwaters were leaving the islands of Skomer and Skokholm off the coast of Pembrokeshire, which are home the largest known concentration of the birds in the world, when they ended up being stranded in the surf on the Welsh mainland.
West Hatch Wildlife Centre in Taunton, Somerset to be rehydrated and fed so that they would be strong enough to survive their migration. They are now being released in groups of around 30 at twilight (as they are drawn towards daylight and may veer inland) off the south coast so they can continue their journey to South America.
The awards were given to some of our own inspectors for their exceptional hard work in many areas, as well as to individuals like Jill Robinson from Animals Asia for her incredibly effective efforts to end the cruel practice of farming bears for their bile, and to Danny Penman, a journalist who has covered countless exposes of animal cruelty, such as Canadian seal hunts and the shipment of monkeys in Asia to European laboratories, to the public’s attention through his tireless undercover work.
And, finally we’d like to say a big thanks to Simon Pegg. The Shaun of the Dead and Run Fatboy Run star popped into an RSPCA charity shop in Crouch End, London, to donate a bundle of clothes. The clothes included a Versace suit and the money raised will go towards helping the thousands of animals cared for, treated and neutered by the Central and North London branch of the RSPCA.
*Xabi was rehomed from RSPCA Block Fen in Cambridgeshire six years ago. She doesn’t shed hair so needs regular grooming as she gets very furry, hot and uncomfortable, especially now she’s getting older!
by Sophie Wilkinson, Regional Media Manager
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
If you’re a member or a supporter of the RSPCA you may already have read her story in Animal life magazine. If you missed it, you can read her rags to riches tale here.
You can also listen to a podcast including interviews with some of the wonderful staff – all of them unsung heroes - at the RSPCA’s Felledge Equine centre who cared for and rehabilitated her, and watch a slideshow of photos of Polly.
I was lucky enough to spend time at the equine centre and watch the grooms working with horses at various stages of their training.
I was struck by the incredibly caring, nurturing environment and the obvious trust the team there had in each other and were gradually building with the horses in their care.
Friday, 2 September 2011
How do we do this? Well, by demonstrating, just as Martin and Wilberforce demonstrated, that improving farm animal welfare begins with the greatest ideas and the smallest actions.
I have worked as the RSPCA press officer for farm animals for three years and am proud of the work these guys do – largely behind the scenes. These are knowledgeable, passionate but pragmatic people, who care very deeply.