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VAT Rise Will Hurt Animal Rescue Centres

by Andrea Gamby-Boulger
Wetnose Animal Aid

I find it so sad that many Animal Rescue Centres are really struggling around the country and have done for the last 18 months, but with more animals ending up as strays or being handed in, it means many Centres are full up which is costing more.

First we had the credit crunch which saw a drop in donations, then we had one of the worst winters for over 30 years, which meant high feed bills.

Then to top it all we had the recession which saw a 40% drop in donations. All this has had a really big impact on the people that run these Centres even the bigger ones are now feeling the pinch!

Wetnose Animal Aid has been visiting and talking to some of the Rescue Centres to ask just how bad things are right now.

"Carolyn Trevivian, Chairwoman of “Safe Haven 4 Donkeys” commented that their 10th Anniversary dinner in September 2010 has had to be postponed due to a poor uptake in tickets. Carolyn feels all charities will have to step up their fundraising efforts in the coming year to counteract the effects of the current economic climate, “but with hard teamwork and the loyalty of our wonderful supporters we know we can meet the challenge."

Barby Keel, who is founder of the Barby Keel Animal Sanctuary in Sussex, said “Around 18 months ago we saw a small drop in donations, last year we got only a few donations in each week, now we are lucky to see one donations in weeks and that does worry everyone. Why can’t animal sanctuaries have VAT relief? If it goes up top 20% we’re going to be hit even harder, and that’s in the Winter too”.

Stacey McSpirit from Paws Animal Sanctuary said “Yes it’s been bad this year, donations are definitely down on last year but not only that, everywhere is full of kittens, this has been one of the worst years ever for kittens, maybe is was the warm Spring and hot weather, but its crazy, the sad thing is only the lucky ones end up in Rescue Centres!”.

There has been a rise in the number of baby lambs left in fields to die, as farmers can’t afford to treat them and horses being starved or left to die in fields. This is a terrible situation for everyone including the animals.

So why it then that is when VAT goes up in January 2011 it applies to animal feed, vet’s bills, repair bills, everything. Why can’t animal sanctuary be exempt from this VAT rise, it’s these rises that will push some of these Centres over the edge and will have to close due to lack of funds. So why isn’t more done to help these Sanctuaries and the people that run them.

There’s relief on children’s clothes, so why not relief for stray or injured animals? Once again animals are forgotten about and left behind. I know I am not alone in thinking there should be more animal rescue centres with a much fairer system in place. Remember it’s very hard work running one of these Centres as well as being very emotional there’s always a financial worry, similar to being a vet or nurse, so I for one think it’s about time we gave these people better recognition and more rewards for their work and a VAT freeze would certainly be a step in the right direction.

On a lighter note take a look at our Rescue Centre and Best Pet Competition which ends in October 2010, winners invited to our awards ceremony in March 2011.

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