Heartbreaking latest figures from the RSPCA show an alarming increase in intentional cruelty against animals including 220 reports in Somerset last year - an increase of 40% compared to 2021.
Overall, the number of reports made nationally to the charity’s cruelty line about intentional harm to animals - including beatings, mutilations such as ear cropping, poisonings and even killings - has increased by 14%, with 12,582 reported last year compared to 11,012 reports in 2021.
In Somerset, there were 220 reports of intentional harm against animals made to the RSPCA last year, compared to 157 in 2021 - an increase of 40%.
As a result, the animal charity is bracing for one of its busiest summers this year as it expects another summer of suffering, with more people reporting cruelty to animals from July to September. The charity has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, to raise funds to help its frontline rescue teams continue to save animals from cruelty and abuse and to raise awareness about how to stop cruelty to animals for good.
The national figures, exclusively released today by the RSPCA, shows:
● In 2022 the charity saw a 22% increase in reports of beatings (9,658 in 2022, compared to 7,857 in 2021) that’s 26 every day.
● The number of beatings reported to the RSPCA in 2022 peaked in August, when 1,081 reports were received - a staggering 35 a day.
●The number of animals killed in ‘suspicious circumstances’ increased in 2022 by 15% from by 2021 (891 in 2022, compared to 775 in 2021).
● 77% of all cruelty complaints reported to the charity 2022 were beatings.
Jenny Ride, RSPCA chief inspector for Somerset, said: “Right now, animal cruelty is happening in England and Wales on a massive scale and rising - and sadly the number of cruelty incidents in Somerset are also too high. It is heartbreaking that we are seeing figures which show animal cruelty is, very sadly, on the rise.
“While we don’t know for certain why there has been an increase in reports of cruelty, the cost of living crisis and the post-pandemic world we live in has created an animal welfare crisis with more people getting pets with potentially less time and money to care for them.
“Each year, these reports of cruelty reach its terrible annual peak in the summer months – when nationally we receive a report of an animal being beaten on average every hour of every day.
“The cost-of-living crisis also means the cost of rescuing animals is at an all-time high and our vital services are stretched to the limit.”
It is not known why reports of animal cruelty peak in the summer months although factors like animal abuse being more visible as people are outdoors more, could be one factor.
The RSPCA is the only charity rescuing animals and investigating cruelty in England and Wales with a team of frontline rescue officers, specialist vet teams and a network of animal care centres and 140 branches providing rehabilitation to animal victims.
Jenny added: “Together, we believe we can and will cancel out cruelty to animals by replacing violence with kindness. We are urging people to donate to our Cancel Out Cruelty campaign, every donation will help animals.”