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Survey reveals a nation of pet owners and animal lovers

THE TRUTH ABOUT CATS, DOGS AND OTHER ANIMALS

Survey reveals a nation of pet owners and animal lovers

---------------------------

It's no longer just sheep who outnumber people in New Zealand.

A groundbreaking survey, released today, places our companion animal
population at approximately 5 million, compared to a mere 4.4 million for
humans.

The survey, published by the New Zealand Companion Animal Council (NZCAC),
shows 68% of New Zealand households own at least one pet, a higher
percentage than in any comparable country.

And the survey carries a clear message for politicians and lawmakers,
pointing out that 43% of our pet-loving nation thinks animal welfare and
protection should receive more attention.

New Zealanders are also revealed as the world's biggest cat owners, with a
feline population of 1.419 million.

According to the survey 28% of New Zealand households own a cat and a
further 20% of households own two or more. These figures contrast with
Australia's, where a total of only 23% of households are cat-owning.

Conversely, New Zealand's 29% of dog-owning homes compares to 36% in
Australia. Even so, our canine population stands at an impressive 700,000.

But dogs and cats are not the only companion animals to have found their way
into Kiwi homes and hearts. In addition to 88,000 rabbits and 527,000 birds,
we've made houseroom for 1.678 million fish, making them our most populous
companion species.

The NZCAC survey was conducted online with a representative sample of 1,570
adults from across New Zealand between 7th and 11th April 2011. The survey
also draws on data from a range of sources, including the Ministry of
Agriculture and Forestry.

"Our survey is a document of considerable significance, providing us, for
the first time, with a detailed, statistical break-down of the number and
variety of companion animals owned in New Zealand," says the NZCAC's Patron,
Bob Kerridge

"Considerable light is also thrown by the survey on the reasons we acquire
companion animals, how much we spend on them, the products and services we
purchase on their behalf and many other areas of interest.

"It's clear from the data we've assembled that most New Zealanders care
about animals and enjoy having them in their lives and homes, typically
regarding them as members of the family," he adds.

"This is good news both for the animals and for ourselves, as there's now a
considerable body of evidence pointing both to the therapeutic and
physiological benefits of having animals around and to how those who connect
emotionally with them tend to have a larger capacity for love, empathy and
compassion towards their fellow humans.

"In addition, animals can play a key role in helping children develop
respect, a sense of responsibility, cognitive skills, sensitivity and self
esteem," says Mr Kerridge.

According to the survey, New Zealanders spend $1,583.8 million a year on
their companion animals, with food expenditure of $766 million representing
the largest cost item, followed by $358 million for veterinary services and
$166 million on healthcare products.

Cats turn out to be less expensive to keep than dogs, with 48% of all
companion animal expenditure going on the nation's canines and only 43% on
its far more numerous felines.

The New Zealand Companion Animal Council is an organisation that links
welfare bodies, veterinarians, academic researchers, animal control
agencies, breeder organisations and others involved with companion animals.

A key NZCAC focus is on understanding, promoting and celebrating the
human-animal bond and the benefits of companion animal ownership. The survey
is expected to provide a benchmark for further research and a reference
source for policy makers and others involved with animals.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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