The aim of this report is to raise awareness of the importance of research concerning the economic impact of companion animals on society. This report was inspired by the seminal Council for Science and Society (CSS) report Companion Animals in Society (1988), and updates and extends its evaluation of the value that companion animals bring to society. Data available from the UK are used as examples throughout, but many of the points raised relate to industrialized nations globally. It highlights potential direct and indirect costs and benefits of companion animals to the economy, and the value of exploring these further. There is currently a lack of high quality data for some aspects of this evaluation which needs to be addressed to enable a more confident analysis; however, given the scale of the potential impact (added economic value and savings possible) the matter should not be ignored for this reason. When evaluating the contribution of companion animals to the UK economy both positive and negative aspects should be considered. Employing a conservative version of methods used in the best study of its kind to date examining healthcare savings through reduced number of doctor visits, it is estimated that pet ownership in the UK may reduce use of the National Health Service (NHS) to the value of 2.45 billion/year. The cost of NHS treatment for bites and strikes from dogs is estimated as 3 million/year (i.e. approximately 0.1% of the health savings). It is concluded that research into companion animals that relates to their potential economic impact on society should be supported by government.
|Pages||ix + 82|
|Author Address||School of Life Sciences, University of Lincoln, Brayford Pool, Lincoln LN6 7TS, UK.|