Animal neglect spirals as economic crisis hits home

The number of complaints about infringement of animal welfare legislation has soared threefold in only five years. Most of the victims are not pets, but horses and other agricultural animals.

The number of animals that the animal welfare authorities seized in 2010 is 17 times higher than in 2005.

The complaints centre on infringements of animal welfare regulations. In some cases animals have been abandoned. Elsewhere they are not being cared for properly or are not being fed.

In 2005 there were 612 complaints. By last year this figure had ballooned to 1,518. The number of animals seized by the authorities rose from 143 five years ago to 2,495 last year.

The animal welfare authorities identify two reasons for the big surge in the number of complaints. The public at large is more familiar with the existence of the animal welfare authorities and consequently are more prepared to contact the service.

In addition many people are hit by the economic crisis and have trouble feeding animals and providing adequate care. Horses are the first victims. The price of acquiring a horse has fallen, but horse feed has shot up.