According to horrifying figures from the RSPCA—a charity that looks after the welfare of animals and strives to end animal abuse—Essex has been named as one of the cruellest counties in the UK when it comes to animal abuse. The organisation receives around 84,000 calls across the country to its cruelty hotline every month and around 1,500 of those incidents are of deliberate animal cruelty.
However, in the summer quarter these figures skyrocket to alarming levels, with an increase of about 400 calls every month—averaging to roughly 47 calls per day, or two every hour, making for some extremely upsetting figures.
In 2021, approximately 292 reports of animal cruelty to the RSPCA came from Essex, putting it in the top ten most cruel counties. It placed ninth on the list for worst places in the UK for animal abuse, with Kent coming in 5th place, and Greater London obviously taking the top spot with 996 intentional harm incidents reported.
Chief Inspectorate Officer for the RSPCA Dermot Murphy explained to Essex Live the potential causes for case rises during the summer: “The longer sunny days could mean people are out and about more and likely to see and report abuse. Hot summer days can also lead to more people drinking alcohol in the sun which in turn can be a factor causing violence.” Murphy went on to mention how worsening financial situations in the current economic climate could also play a role in neglect.
“This year, we are also concerned that the recent rise in pet ownership coupled with the cost of living crisis could see people really struggling to care for their pets which may lead them to lash out or could see more animals than ever being abandoned or given up,” the officer explained.
In 2021, the RSPCA’s cruelty line received over 1.8 million calls in total, with reports of 1,094 animal killings, 623 mutilations, 7,857 beatings and 38,087 abandonments. For a nation of supposed animal lovers, that is a truly disturbing set of statistics.
“These figures are shocking and deeply upsetting and show why we need your help to save those animals who need us the most now more than ever […] we are bracing to tackle a summer of suffering but we cannot do this without your help,” Murphy added.
As of 10 July 2022, the RSPCA has launched its Cancel Out Cruelty campaign to help raise funds to support its rescue teams and help raise awareness on how we can put a stop to animal cruelty once and for all.