Christine GrahamE MSP, Milton SPCA minder and dog, Humza Yousaf and, top of page, dog lover Jane Heaney and her pet chihuahuas.
By Bill Heaney
“I am afraid to say that, sadly, the often callous approach by the Conservative Government, which is failing to help people, communities and charities to cope with unacceptably high inflation levels, is all too pervasive.
“Charities such as the Scottish SPCA, which are on the front line of the impact of the cost of living crisis, are no exception.
“I share Christine Grahame’s concerns. I have asked officials to liaise with the Scottish SPCA to provide support and to fully understand the issues that it faces.”
Marjorie Henley Price, left, was a leading dog lover and the founder and honorary life president of the charity Canine Concern Scotland Trust.
Christine Grahame said family budgets for pet food had been cut to the bone. This was very worrying — “Companion animals in particular play a huge role in helping people’s mental well-being, but inflation has put huge pressures on the cost of providing them and caused heartbreak for those who find that they simply do not have the resources to keep them.
“That puts more pressure on the Scottish SPCA and other animal welfare charities. At the same time, those charities have to cope with inflation themselves. For example, it costs £56,000 a day to run the Scottish SPCA, which is 14 per cent up on last year.
“Will the First Minister, following the discussions that his officials are having with the charities, report back and let us see where those discussions have gone?”
The First Minister said: “While I was giving my response to Christine Grahame’s initial question, I heard the Conservatives mumbling, “What has this got to do with the UK Government?”
“If they have not figured out what the cost of living crisis has to do with the Conservative Government, I suspect that they will find out in a pretty brutal fashion when it comes to the next general election.
“Nobody should have to give up a loved family pet. Keeping pets and people together is the best way to protect animal and human welfare. I therefore take the opportunity to highlight the work that is delivered by the Scottish SPCA’s pet aid scheme.
“That initiative aims to support people and pets who are struggling by providing essential food supplies for animals through a network of food banks across most of Scotland.
“Officials hold regular meetings with the Scottish SPCA to discuss current issues and to provide support, where appropriate, through policy advice and the sharing of wider communications. I will update Christine Grahame on the latest discussions that I have asked officials to have.
“Finally, I urge anyone who is struggling to care for their pet to call the animal helpline in the strictest confidence, because help, advice and support are available.”
Marjorie Henley Price was a leading dog lover and the founder and honorary life president of the charity Canine Concern Scotland Trust.
For a number of years she was secretary of the Scottish Boxer Club and edited the club’s newsletter. She became increasingly concerned about the hostility in some quarters towards dogs.
She was one of the earliest members of PRO Dogs network and in due course became chairman of the south of Scotland branch, which became extremely successful. She was vigilant in her fight against the anti-dog publicity that prevailed in the 1980s and developed a schools educational programme that was used throughout the UK.