Ideal Queen's Speech: Older people should not have to choose between pets and housing
Ahead of next week's Queen's Speech, the National Office of Animal Health calls for legislation preventing older people being forced to give up their pets.
"My Government will introduce a Bill to... change the law so that 140,000 older people every year are not forced to give up their pet when they enter supported accommodation."
This would ensure that older people are no longer forced to choose between the housing that they need and the companion animal they love.
NOAH, the National Office of Animal Health, has called on the new Government to enact housing regulations which would let people keep their pets and to allow the presence of companion animals in care and residential centres.
This would protect older people and their animals, supporting the health, wellbeing and quality of life of older people and prevent the unnecessary relinquishment and euthanasia of their animals. The UK would also benefit from considerable associated health costs savings – pets, in the many roles they play in society, have been estimated to save the NHS £1.6bn each year.
For example, pets reduce blood pressure and increase activity rates – just stroking pets or watching fish swim in an aquarium leads to reduced blood pressure and lower anxiety. Older people that own a dog visit their doctor 15% less often than non-dog owners.
Pets increase social engagement – in care homes pets ease loneliness, dogs in social settings encourage interactions, and aquariums have been found to improve patient care in dementia units.
As well as what animals can do for us; it’s also what we can do for them. Our pets deserve our very best care and to be kept in the best possible health. The medicines and vaccines researched, developed and marketed by members of NOAH provide safe and effective care for all pets to enable them to enjoy life to the full and bring value to our society.
In addition NOAH will be looking to the new Government to:
• Support new EU regulations and changes that will increase availability of medicines for animal health and welfare
• Ensure future decisions are based on robust scientific evidence and not myths about the use of animal medicines in the food chain
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