Humane Society of the United States launches campaign to address pet poverty crisis exacerbated by inflation

Image by Helena Sushitskaya of pixabay

The More Than a Pet campaign will raise awareness and provide solutions to keep pets happy, healthy and in their loving homes.

May 8, 2023 – WASHINGTON—As inflation drives up prices, many families across the country are struggling to pay for veterinary care, food and supplies for their beloved pets. Nowhere is this more acute than for families that were already experiencing systemic poverty. According to the latest consumer price index, the cost of pet products and services is increasing more than 9% year over year. With more than 20 million pets living in poverty, three times the number of pets entering shelters each year, this is a long-overlooked national crisis. People are often forced to choose between meeting their own needs and the needs of their pets, all too often completely lacking access to veterinary care, pet boarding, and other vital pet resources like food and supplies. No family should be in this position.

To address this issue, the Humane Society of the United States has launched a new campaign called More Than a Pet, with the help of five campaign partners. wdm, little ones, Ollie, Motel 6 and TQL. The campaign’s mission is to raise awareness and provide solutions to increase access and keep families and their pets together, happy and healthy. Grammy Award Winning Musician Mya she also supports the campaign along with her dogs Tango, Jemma and Jax and her cat Journey.

Kitty Block, President and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States, said: “Everyone deserves to experience the love and companionship of a pet. But the well-being of companion animals is inseparable from the well-being of their families, and unequal access to pet care and resources is an overlooked national crisis.” By helping people access the pet care they need, we embrace the human in ‘human.’ We believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience the joy, love and comfort that pets bring, and every family should be able to get the food, supplies and medical care your animal needs.

Over the past 20 years, the HSUS has helped nearly half a million pets and their families by providing free veterinary care and supplies through its pets for life and Rural Area Veterinary Services programs Families like Janis and her two dogs in Idaho rely on the services of local Pets for Life partners like Better Together Animal Alliance. Janis’s oldest chihuahua, Baby, saw a vet several times for serious eye and ear problems. Her poodle mix, Freeda, received a much appreciated bath and grooming.

As Janis shared, “Sometimes it takes a community. I’m so thankful for Pets for Life. I don’t know what I would do without them.”

Without these services, families like Janis’s are often forced to make difficult decisions about sacrificing their own necessities, including food and medicine, in order to prioritize caring for their pet. More Than a Pet will build on the legacy of Pets for Life and Rural Area Veterinary Services to help more families like Janis’s.

As part of More Than a Pet, the HSUS offers these tips for people to support their communities:

  • Advocate for keeping pets and their people together signing the HSUS petition to close the pet equity gap. Your voice can have a huge impact for all animals.
  • Volunteer at the Humane Society of the United States’ pets for life and Rural Area Veterinary Services programs, which increase access to pet care for underserved communities.
  • Donate pet food to your local shelter or pet food pantry.
  • If you know a neighbor in need, offer to help drive them to a vet appointment, take care of their pet temporarily, or provide a bag of their pet’s favorite food to help bridge the gap in access to pet care.
  • The HSUS invites the public to show their support for this campaign by sharing why their animal companion is #MoreThanAPet to them, at campaign partner little ones is donating a bowl of food for every photo shared, up to $1 million, to pets and their families in need.