New animal welfare fund established to aid pets being exploited for monetary gain

Naturewatch Foundation, a leading UK charity, is making a new Pet Rescue Grant available to support the rescue and rehabilitation of animals affected by the illegal pet trade. The grant, worth £5,000, will be open for applications from UK charities and community interest companies (CICs) starting on 24th January 2024.

According to statistics, more than half of UK households own a pet, with 50% of puppies being supplied by illegal sources. This has a devastating impact on animal welfare and owners, and the involvement of organised criminals in the illicit pet trade is increasing.

Naturewatch Foundation has been campaigning for better pet welfare protections and investigating tip-offs from the public about the illegal pet trade. The charity recognizes the crucial role of the rescue sector in providing care and support to animals who have been abused and exploited. The Pet Rescue Grant aims to assist these selfless organizations in their efforts to save and rehabilitate animals impacted by illegal breeding and selling.

Natalie Harney, a spokesperson for Naturewatch Foundation, expressed their concern for the welfare of animals and the need to support rescue organizations. “As an animal-loving nation, it’s a tragedy that so many of our beloved pets are the product of the illicit pet trade. We’ve been campaigning and investigating to end illegal breeding for years, but we know that without the rescue sector, many abused and exploited pets simply wouldn’t get the loving care and specialist support they deserve. The Pet Rescue Grant is our small way of helping those selfless organisations that pick up the pieces.”

Interested rescue organizations can apply for the grant by visiting or by emailing The application period will be from 24th January 2024 to 21st February 2024. The grant is a step towards addressing the challenges faced by the animal rescue sector, including the cost-of-living crisis and rising abandonments.

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