The rising cost of living has resulted in many pet owners surrendering their animals due to lack of funds.
It is a leading factor when it comes to people surrendering their companion animals and the decision between treatment and euthanasia.
The reality of COVID pets (companion animals purchased at the start of COVID) has started to dawn on not just the pawrents who bought or adopted these animals but also on the vet industry, animal rescues, dog trainers, doggy day cares, pet supply companies and the community in general.
According to the RSPCA, there's even been a 20-30 per cent increase in pet surrenders post-lockdown.
Real Insurance states that in a dog's first year you can be spending between $2,000-$5,000 in care (and that is without the purchase/adoption price).
Ongoing care for a dog averages around $2000 per year.
So is there a way to make caring for our companion animals realistic?
Last month Andy Meddick from the Animal Justice Party proposed a ‘Veticare’ bill to the upper house.
It has been dubbed the Medicare of animal care.
It is an interesting concept that could hold a key component to lowering surrenders, lowering cases of neglect due to financial hardship and making it affordable for pensioners and concession card holders to adopt a companion animal.
As well as providing subsidised and means tested care the proposal also looks at increasing wildlife only centers (to relieve vets looking after the bulk of wildlife cases) and upskilling vet nurses so that vets can concentrate on more complex cases.
For those of us who live in metro areas and the inner city we take for granted the ease of visiting a vet, however in regional areas this is not the case.
For years the industry body has been calling out for investment within the vet industry including the training of more vets for rural and regional towns.
It is disturbing to think that many animals are going without care when they are in pain or distress and what their fates are without access to vets, let alone affordable vet care.
It is not going to solve every issue, we know that since the end of 2021 animal rescues are full (with COVID purchased pets) with many having to close their books.
The reality of renting with a fur kid has been near impossible (hopefully this will change with new state legislation) and the behavioural issues of badly bred and isolated dogs in particular continue to put a strain on the limited trainers/day cares and behaviourists that exist.
I do think there is hope in this scheme and the reality is if we don’t do something now the vet industry will collapse in a very short space of time.
We need more vets, we need an industry overhaul to make sure we are leaders in the field of not only animal care but animal education.
Most of us would agree that if you are in pain, distress or need medication you should be able to see a doctor, with Medicare we can.
For the living beings that we say we love, that we care for and who give us unconditional love in return, don’t they deserve the same?
Veticare will give them this.