UK Managing Director Damian Guha calls for Government, businesses and NGOs to work together to help the UK enjoy the health, social and economic benefits of responsible pet ownership
Here at Mars Petcare, we’re pet people. Our passion for pets is at the heart of everything we do, and that’s because we know that pets make our lives better. It’s not just the companionship they offer, but they also make us happier and healthier.
Although we’ve always known that pets are good for us, there’s now the science to back it up. Studies show not just the positive impact pets have on our health but also the social and economic benefits they bring
This year, we’re committed to making people aware of the power of pets.
That’s why we recently worked with Battersea Dogs & Cats Home (BDCH) to take “Pet Power” to Westminster - bringing together a group of MPs, NGOs, veterinary scientists and Government representatives to talk about the true value of pets in the UK. In particular, we wanted to encourage them to think about the role of business, government and individuals in promoting responsible pet ownership.
Guests were welcomed to the event by Mars UK’s Managing Director Damian Guha alongside co-host Claire Horton, the Chief Executive, Battersea Dogs & Cats Home.
Claire outlined the important work Battersea does in matching pets with the right homes and introduced Professor Daniel Mills of the University of Lincoln, who talked through his recent report, which quantifies the economic benefits of UK pets. The report - Companion Animal Economics - concludes that because pet owners tend to be healthier, pets could save the NHS up to £2.45 billion a year through reducing the number of doctors’ visits. To supplement the economic research, Dr Sandra McCune, Human Animal Interaction (HAI) expert at the Mars Petcare’s WALTHAM® Centre for Pet Nutrition, highlighted the ways in which interactions between pets and people are mutually beneficial – from improving mental health and physical activity levels to providing therapy for the most vulnerable in society.
This in-depth discussion of the scientific research helped attendees to think about how HAI science, and pets, can contribute to public health, mental health and social care policy making.
Sandra said: “It is clear that education about the day-to-day benefits that pets can bring, particularly for older adults and for those with increased need, is gaining importance. We want research like this to encourage places like schools, workplaces and other public spaces to be more welcoming to pets – because of the proven impact they bring to these environments.”
Damian Guha ended the event by calling on Government and businesses to collaborate in order to break down the barriers to responsible pet ownership and promote animal welfare. He commented: “We know from this report and other research that pet ownership brings significant health, social and economic benefits to the UK. We want to work with policy makers and our partners, many of whom attended this lively discussion, to make it easier for people to enjoy life with their pets through greater education and incorporation of pet programmes within workplaces, schools and hospitals.”
Mars Petcare is committed to raising awareness of the power of pets throughout 2017. As well as hosting a similar event in Brussels in May and continuing to expand the science in the area with research from WALTHAM, we will also bring the power of pets to life in our local community with an exciting initiative to be announced very soon.
Watch this space!
And in the meantime, join the conversation on Twitter @MarsNewsUK using the hashtag #PetsForGood.