Government Support Needed for Animal Sanctuaries!
Updated: Apr 16, 2020
Animal Sanctuaries like ourselves, Rescues, and Zoos across the UK are currently at ever-increasing risk of closing. This is due to the loss of fundraising opportunities, inability to furlough staff (animals continue to need our round-the-clock care), and lack of emergency funding available to us at this time. Many of these organisations may close if the Government does not step in; resulting in countless animals becoming homeless, having no rescue to take them in, or worse still being euthanised - a zoo director in northern Germany has even admitted that some animals might soon have to be fed to others, if the zoo is to survive (we absolutely will not let this happen at Brockswood). Please help by joining the plight to urge the Government to step in and help during this desperate time!
Please send an email or letter to your local MP to urge our Government to step in to help organisations like Brockswood Animal Sanctuary survive COVID-19. You can write your own email/letter in your own words or feel free to use the letter that we sent to our local MP, Marco Longhi, as a template. Mr. Longhi has kindly responded to us, and we would love to see more of his colleagues join our fight.
You can find your local MP and contact them directly by searching for them here: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mps/
Please SHARE with as many people as you possibly can to get our message out there to the people that can make a difference, and ensure that animals are considered at this difficult time!
Our letter to Marco Longhi, MP:
Copy & Pastable Version for you to edit as required:
RE: Additional Support Required for UK Animal Sanctuaries & Rescue Centres.
As our local constituency Member of Parliament, Brockswood Animal Sanctuary would like to raise our concerns with you regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the UK animal care sector.
We are encouraged by the various help packages the Government has put in place to help businesses and organisations through this very difficult period. However, it appears that the unique challenges that face animal sanctuaries and rescue centres have been overlooked. In common with more mainstream business and organisations, income during COVID-19 lock-down has ceased due to fundraising events being cancelled and their charity shops closing etc.
The packages outlined by the Government so far are in the main directed towards mainstream businesses that can go into a period of dormancy more easily than animal care facilities can for the following reasons:
Smaller animal facilities have a higher proportion of staff that work directly with the animals, unlike some larger facilities like zoos that have a higher proportion of ancillary staff that can be furloughed to help with overall running costs.
Businesses that are closed do not have ongoing costs of stock replenishment. Animal facilities do; we still have to feed the animals on a daily basis and change bedding etc.
Businesses that are closed are not using utilities such as electric, gas and water. This does not change for animal facilities as the day to day work is continuing as normal. Those facilities that deal with exotic animals such as reptiles use high levels of electricity to keep vital heat lamps functioning which are required to keep these animals alive.
You can see from the above that although income has ceased outgoings for these facilities remain at the same level, which is just not viable or sustainable. Therefore we would ask that:
The current Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme be extended to include the salaries of essential animal care staff or alternatively allow furloughed essential staff to volunteer some time back into the organisation.
The banks reviewing an application for a Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan are flexible with regard to the mechanisms by which smaller animal facilities create an income as not many will fit into the parameters set by most banks when considering the viability of a loan.
Support is put in place for animal sanctuaries and rescue centres that will not receive the Coronavirus Small Business Grant because the properties they occupy do not meet the Small Business Rates Relief or Rural Rates Relief requirements; or they operate from a part of a larger property and the grant goes to the landlord or owner of that property.
We fully understand that the Government are not going to be able to save every single business and organisation and as the Chancellor pointed out, some will unfortunately fall by the wayside. However, it would seem that the animal care sector has fallen between the gaps in the Governments support packages. This could potentially result in a disproportionate amount of animal sanctuaries and rescue centres facing possible closure, compared with other sectors where business can more easily go into ‘hibernation’ during this crisis.
We are looking for your support to help us make representations to the Government to ensure that the animal care sector will be considered as the COVID-19 policy continues to be revised and developed. Yours sincerely,
Neil Swann Director – Brockswood Animal Sanctuary