"Without the animal food bank I would have to eat less because my dogs come first”

For many of us pets are part of the family and we do our best to care for them as best we can. However, looking after a dog or cat isn’t cheap and those on low incomes often struggle. 4 October is World Animal Day and to mark this annual event VRT News visited a food bank in Beveren (East Flanders) that is dedicated to pet food.

 

The food bank enables those with few meagre financial means to keep their beloved dog(s), cat(s) or other pets fed correctly.  The Animal Food Bank in Beveren is one of a number of such initiatives at various locations across Flanders. It is run by the not-for-profit group 4voeters in nood (4paws in need). Needy pet owners can visit the Beveren food bank twice a week. The food bank in Beveren has only been open for 7 months. Nevertheless, around 50 people already use its services. The food bank’s Pascale Van Gysel told VRT News. "There are 500 family that live from the normal food bank and many of those people have pets. By providing this support they have more money left for themselves”. 

Peter goes to the Beveren food bank every week to collect food for his two dog and one cat. He has to survive on 900 euro/month. Food for his pets can easily cost between 150 and 200 euro month which is a big chunk out of his budget. However, Peter says that his pets are more than worth it because of the friendship he gets from them. Babs too regularly visits the animal food bank.

 

She has to make it through the month with just under 1,000 euro. Babs told VRT News that she is happy that she can visit the food bank to get food for here 4 dogs. "The Social Services Department as often asked me to get rid of my dogs. But you don’t give a child back do you? I choose to have them and I will care for them until they die. If the food bank weren’t here I would have eat less myself because my dogs come first”.