The British love for their animals is tested by the cost of living

At the pet cemetery in Holywell in North Wales on August 12, 2022 (AFP/OLI SCARFF)

Forced to appeal for dog cremation donations: Many Britons like David Mcauliffe are torn between their love for their pets and the rising cost of living.

“The flow of goods, gas, electricity, grocery prices, petrol, everything is difficult,” said Mr Mcauliffe, sitting next to his friend Julie Fielding at the animal cemetery in Holywell, North Wales.

The two, who are on social assistance, launched a fundraiser on Facebook to pay for the cremation of their dog Khan. They cannot do it alone, because of the rising costs.

“The dogs rely on us for everything, and we have to do what’s necessary for them, at the end of the day,” Mr. Mcauliffe continued.

The inflation rate in the United Kingdom jumped in July to 10.1%, and may exceed 13% in October, a rate not seen in 40 years.

Pet food and veterinary fees have increased, as have the costs of cremations, tracking the price of oil.

“An individual cremation is when an animal is completely cremated so that the ashes can be returned to their families so they can scatter, bury or place them in their homes,” said cemetery director Jason Ward.

The price of an individual cremation depends on the size of the animal, but reaches 200 pounds (237 euros) for a medium-sized dog.

Otherwise, “the corpses are treated by other pets”, he continues: “usually, they are collected by trucks with waste from veterinary clinics, to be thrown in landfills”.

A difficult outcome for many Britons, whose attachment to their four-legged friends has become even stronger during the confinements due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

– “Family member” –

At Pet Cemetery in Holywell in North Wales on August 12, 2022

At the pet cemetery in Holywell in North Wales on August 12, 2022 (AFP/OLI SCARFF)

The United Kingdom has about 34 million domestic animals, including 12 million dogs and as many cats, for about 67 million inhabitants.

Holywell Cemetery testifies to these very strong links: many plots are placed with the remains of animals and their owners.

The ashes of Mr Mcauliffe’s mother and Ms Fielding’s sister have been laid to rest with those of Khan and their former dog, Flash, and the couple want to join them “when the time comes”.

Rising veterinary care prices have also resulted in higher costs for health insurance.

“Whether we make a statement or not, every year the contributions increase”, summarized Mr. Mcauliffe, calling on the British government to take more action against rising prices.

“It can be a problem, especially if you only get social benefits,” he said. He and his partner have two other dogs.

Often, it is at the end of their lives that animals need more veterinary care: with funeral costs, it is a double blow for grieving families.

At Pet Cemetery in Holywell in North Wales on August 12, 2022

At the pet cemetery in Holywell in North Wales on August 12, 2022 (AFP/OLI SCARFF)

And some have no choice but to give a funeral.

Dogs, cats and other “members of the family, they contribute a lot to our well-being, and during the pandemic everyone spent more time with their animals”, described Mr. Ward.

“So the time comes when they die, and the owners are not able to say goodbye to them with dignity. This is an additional cause of sadness,” he said.

© 2022 AFP

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