The cost of living crisis is affecting more of us – including our pets

Coralie Farren, Chief executive of Bristol animal rescue centre posing with a dog in front of a wall with graffiti.
Today’s blog is from Coralie Farren, Chief Executive, Bristol Animal Rescue Centre

This winter is going to be challenging for everyone, as the rising cost of living continues to affects us. Pets might also suffer, as families struggle to afford their care.

Bristol Animal Rescue Centre has been helping, healing, and homing the city’s pets and wildlife since 1887, but our 135th year – has presented us with new challenges to overcome as the cost of living crisis, combined with a rising numbers of animals in need of our care, continues to impact us.

We’ve been working hard to ensure Bristol’s vulnerable animals receive the care they deserve, but we’re faced with many obstacles as we strive to deliver these vital services. From offering free and low-cost access to vet care for low-income pet owners at our Outreach Clinics, to donating pet food to local foodbanks, or caring for pets whose families are forced into the heart breaking decision to sign them over to us – our community needs us now more than ever.

Marvin Rees standing with Bristol Animal rescue Centre employees.

A recent national RSPCA survey found that 78% of pet owners think the cost of living will impact their animals, while 68% expressed concern that the cost of care was increasing. In addition, 19% were worried about how they’ll afford to feed their pets.

Here in Bristol, we’re seeing that this is a reality, from January to May this year, the number of consultations our Outreach vets & nurses did was 1,529, up from 990 for the same period in 2021. Our team is forecasting an even bigger leap over the winter months as the knock-on effects of the cost of living crisis further affect pet owners across Bristol.

Our own energy bills are estimated to go up by around £17,000 this year – a figure which could have been so much worse had we not fixed our tariffs earlier in the year. But who knows what the figure will be next year?

Ultimately all of this will put more pressure on our already stretched team. As we are a charity that relies almost entirely on donations from the local community to keep going, fundraising is tough for us in the current climate, when everyone is feeling the pinch.

A cat being cared for at Bristol Animal Rescue Centre.

For us, the welfare of our animals comes first, so we will do everything we can to continue to offer the exceptionally high standard of animal care that we already do. We’ve been supporting animals in Bristol for 135 years and weathered all sorts of challenging situations in the past. We are determined that we will continue to do so – but we need support to do it.

Anyone wishing to support our work can make a donation here: