RSPCA marks 200th birthday amid busiest week of the year

The RSPCA is set to mark its 200th birthday amid its busiest week of the year – with the charity using its landmark anniversary to issue a rallying call to the people of Wales to join a million-strong movement for animals.

Last year, across England and Wales, the charity took an astonishing 31,947 calls to its emergency line during its birthday week (12-18 June) – more than any other week of the entire year.

The charity’s rescuers also dealt with 5,573 incidents in that week alone – 352 of these in Wales – with its dedicated frontline teams responding to countless pets, wild and other animals subjected to cruelty, neglect and mistreatment. Officers throughout the year dealt with a mighty 19,679 incidents in Wales alone.

Animal rescuers are now braced for another busy period this year – as they prepare to celebrate 200 years of the RSPCA working with the public to change animals’ lives for the better.

It has already been incredibly busy for RSPCA officers throughout their 200th year – with 330,415 calls from across England and Wales received by the charity’s emergency line (up to 27 May) even before the busiest summer months begin; and rescuers dealing with a whopping 116,512 incidents of concern.

Earlier this year, a young badger cub who had fallen onto rocks at Porthlysgi Beach, St Davids, was released back into the wild after a period of RSPCA specialist care.

RSPCA Inspector and Wildlife Officer Keith Hogben attended the location – a rural cove off the Pembrokeshire Coast Path – to collect the badger and take him to a place of safety.

A video taken by Keith spotted he was hidden amongst the rocks. On this occasion a specialist bag designed for wildlife was used instead of a cage due to the difficulties accessing the location safely.

“The cub was found directly below a larger badger sett so we knew where he came from,” said Keith.

“Luckily he was spotted and we were able to find him amongst the rocks and able to get to him before anything happened to him. He would have been very vulnerable out in the open and in the daylight.”

The badger cub was then assessed by Keith and RSPCA Wildlife Officer Ellie West who provided specialist care for the cub. Once the badger was fully recovered from his ordeal they were able to return him to his sett.

Elsewhere, a goose was found with a can stuck on its mouth in Aberdare earlier this year. The Canadian cross greylag goose was spotted in a small pond behind the Lakeside area, near the Dare River, with the can wedged at the top of the beak and in its mouth, so the goose was unable to eat or drink.

RSPCA Animal Rescue Officer Paula Milton was able to track down the goose and using her net she managed to catch him successfully so she could release him from the can.

“I took him away from the water and put a blanket over him to keep him calm,” she said. “I then got to work by carefully cutting the can off his mouth. Luckily it was aluminium so was easy to cut off.

“I checked him over and thankfully the can had only been on him for a maximum of 48 hours so hadn’t done too much damage and I was able to let him go straight away. He swam off and started to drink straight away.”

Thankfully, there was a happy ending in this case, however, the RSPCA say the incident is another reminder as to the dangers everyday objects can pose to animals – and the importance of ensuring waste and litter is always disposed of correctly.

Now – the charity is urging people to join its million-strong movement with animals facing “some of the biggest threats in our history” – including the cost of living crisis, the growth of intensive farming and climate change.

RSPCA chief executive Chris Sherwood said: “Our dedicated rescue teams are so busy on the frontline for animals, and – as we celebrate our landmark 200th anniversary this week – we’re expecting to be as busy as ever.

“Our birthday week was the busiest week of the whole year last year – and we’re proud that, working with the public, we’re continuing to help animals across Wales.

“But we know we can’t do this alone – and the support of our friends in the animal welfare sector, and the public, is set to be more important than ever as we all look to work together to create a kinder, better world for all animals.

“To keep creating a better world for every animal, we need more people to take action. That’s why, in our 200th year, we want one million people to join our movement – and to share in our vision for every kind.”

Sunday (16 June) marks two centuries since the animal welfare organisation – then the SPCA – was founded at Old Slaughter’s Coffee House in London, by a London vicar, Arthur Broome, and 22 founding members, including the MPs William Wilberforce and Richard Martin.

By 1840, Queen Victoria had given permission for the Society to add ‘Royal’ to its name – and this Royal link was recently maintained with HRH King Charles III confirmed as the charity’s new patron.

In the 200 years since its formation, the RSPCA has worked to change industries, laws, minds, and animals’ lives – and believes working with the public, and education, will be key with animals now facing a raft of new challenges.

The charity has launched a new tool on its website to help people understand how they can help an animal in need as quickly as possible.

Chris added: “We’re so proud that – in so many ways – animals’ lives have changed beyond recognition over the last two centuries.

“But we know animals are now facing some of the biggest threats in our history, from climate change to intensive farming, the cost of living and the ongoing effects of the pandemic.

“And the fact that we expect our birthday week to again be one of our busiest of the year for our officers highlights how the RSPCA cannot do this alone – animal welfare is for everyone.

“That’s why we’ve launched a new tool on our website, to help the public understand the best and quickest way of helping an animal they think needs help – like those which may be sick, injured, lost, or abandoned.

“Whether it’s transferring animals to the vet, sharing advice online, or contacting our rescuers to respond to cruelty and neglect, we can all do our bit for animals. Because a world that is better for animals, is better for us all.”

To find out more about how you can join the RSPCA’s million-strong movement for animals visit:


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