The RSPCA has expanded its pet food bank into Greater Manchester as a result of the cost of living crisis.
The Food Bank Project aims to provide help to the public and reduce animal abandonment.
The scheme was first set up in December of 2021, a consequence of the financial pressures during the pandemic – now, combined with the rising costs of living, the need for food banks has risen even more.
More than 20 RSPCA centres and branches have now teamed up with their local food bank across the north of England, aiming to reach 110 food banks by the end of next year.
Deborah Beats, inspector for Manchester and Food Bank Project officer, said: “We are in desperate need for pet food donations at the minute as the current demand for the food bank scheme is very high.
“Sadly, it seems as though the cost of living increase means that more people are struggling to afford to feed their pets and are relying on the food banks more and more.”
The number of people who have had to put their pets into shelters, unable to afford the costs involved in properly caring for them, has risen greatly as a result of the pandemic and increasing living costs.
Helen Chapman, Animal Rescue Officer and Manchester Food Bank Project officer, added: “We are now bracing for an influx of abandoned pets or owners who have to give them up because they can no longer afford to keep them but we hope that through the food bank we will be able to provide some support to people and their much-loved pets.”
This follows as the RSPCA has released its inaugural report – the Animal Kindness Index – which looks at the nation’s attitude towards animals.
The report, based on a YouGov survey of over 4,000 adults in the UK, revealed that the ever increasing price of living may be threatening people’s ability to care for their animals.
Almost 70% of those who took the survey expressed concern that the cost of care for animals was increasing, and a fifth worried about how they will afford to feed their pets in the future.
Other research from the animal welfare charity in April 2021 showed that there were roughly 4,400 online searches per month about ‘giving up pets’ – in April 2022 this figure had risen to 6,600.
Beats said: “The scheme was set up because we understood that many people were falling on hard times during the pandemic and we wanted to make sure that those who were struggling could still stay with their pets whilst they got back on their feet.”
In light of this, between January and May of this year the Food Bank Project has delivered over 1000 pet food bundles to its partner food banks across the north of England.
Yet, more food is desperately needed – for more information on how to get involved with the Food Bank Project, visit the RSPCA website or call the donation line on 0300 123 8181.