We are excited, and are gearing up for, our second official awareness day – World Animal Road Accident Awareness Day.
Our campaign centres around cats due to our own experiences, and the lack of legislation protecting cats as opposed to dogs on UK roads. PetPlan figures reveal that 630 cats are hit by cars every single day in the UK, with 25% of these incidents being fatal.
We challenge UK law and continuously work with the Government/DEFRA on this, and have so far succeeded in ensuring cats being microchipped is set to become law in England, so as cats can first be identifiable one reported, and generally aim to change mind-sets and spread awareness to enlighten people on the best ways to help an injured animal. One good way we thought of doing this was to establish a national remembrance and awareness day which we will use to commemorate, promote and further mobilise action. Our RTA awareness day will be recognised internationally and will be a period to observe the pressing issues of concern and raise awareness, as well as being a day to remember the fallen and pay tribute to lost beloved pets.
Although our campaign centres around cats, we fully appreciate this is an issue affecting all animals and we are, of course, huge animal lovers all round. No animal deserves to be hit by a car and left in the road alone, scared, in pain, or worse! Our pets are lucky. With human owners who love them as family, people often say to us things such as, ‘owners deserve closure’, ‘someone will be heartbroken’, or ‘I would want someone to help my cat’. Although these are very true, our primary focus is the animals themselves, regardless of human emotion and heartbreak, which should be secondary to animal suffering. What then about wild animals who don’t have the luxury of being loved by a human, or have a nice warm bed to go back to every night and food on tap? Do they not matter because there won’t be an upset human behind their death? Of course not. all animals matter and every single one of them deserves a chance at survival should the worst happen. All us drivers have a moral obligation to help all living creatures they injure while driving.
In Britain, annual road casualties are estimated to account for 100,000 fox deaths, 50,000 badgers, 50,000 deer, 30 million birds and Hedgehogs once topped the death table with 29% of them being killed by cars… that was until they entered on the critically endangered list. Based on statistical analysis of those potentially unrecorded, the realistic death rate is estimated to be around 70 million animals. Highways England states 2,143 dead animals were found on just 4,300 miles of motorway – accounting for just 1% of the UK’s entire road network. More stats in detail can be found here.
Worldwide, Brazil alone recorded 1.3 million animals die every day after being struck by cars, that’s 475 million animals every single year in one country alone – about 15 animals every second. The USA acknowledges that one million animals die every single day on roadways, including 26 million cats annually. A waste of life summed up in numbers that are hard to comprehend.
Don’t get us wrong. We don’t want to demonise drivers whatsoever. Yes, some drive distracted without being vigilant, others tend to use our streets like Brands Hatch, but the majority on our roads will sadly find themselves in the position of hitting an animal through no fault of their own. Unfortunately, animals are incapable of learning the green cross code, and they can dart out in front of cars, on occasion leaving little time for a driver to react. What we ask of drivers is that they do the right thing and simply stop to check on the animal. Should the animal be injured but alive, they will need to see a veterinarian immediately. Deceased domestic pets should also be taken to a vet so as they can scan for a microchip and alert the owners.
By the creation of an awareness day, we hope to coordinate a message which will be shared internationally, for all animals. We can’t stop roads being built, or stop animals wandering on to them, but what we can stop is the needless suffering and pain these animals go through, simply by highlighting the issue and bringing it to the forefront of drivers minds.
Our awareness day is held each year on October 10th. Of the UK seasons, August is the time vets tend to see more cats who have been hit by cars. For this reason, we wanted an autumn date. The specific day marks the day Mosh lost his fight to stay alive. Mosh, who was our cofounder Mandy’s childhood cat, was hit by a car who fled the scene. He bravely managed to drag his paralysed body to a nearby bush, where he awaited help for 4 days. After an extensive search, he was finally found by his family who rushed him to the vet. He fought as hard as he could, but it was eventually determined vets could do no more for him, leaving his family devastated.
You might see the above figures as ‘just numbers’, but you should see each and every number as an individual soul. Each number had family, friends, and a life. Each number was also able to feel excruciating pain. Most of these numbers would have died a slow, painful and lonely death. This is one thing we can stop! We can help put a stop to the millions of unnecessary and avoidable deaths happening on our roads each year. Driving with that extra due care and attention will save many lives but accidents can, and always will, happen – even to the very best animal loving drivers! What is then hoped is that the drivers will do all they can to help the animal they have just hit. There is never an excuse to be so morally bankrupt as to flee the scene without checking on an animal.
The wonderful team at Starlight Trust have helped us ensure we provided the very best advice in terms of wildlife rescue, which differs slightly from that of domestic pets. When helping wildlife, you will need to approach the situation differently, both to potentially protect yourself from injury, and causing further stress or injury to the animal. Your nearest wildlife rescue should be the first port of call as they will be trained specifically in the care and rehabilitation of certain species. Instant life saving treatment by a vet may be a good option initially, but informing the local wildlife rescue also is advised. Vets are only obliged to administer pain relief to relieve suffering which could lead to wildlife casualties being unnecessarily euthanized, as is the case of RSPCA Collection Officers. You can find your nearest wildlife rescue here.
The reason we contact you, is simply to ask for your support in helping us raise awareness. This could be in the form of an article, blog or simple social media post highlighting the day to your followers. Last year, vets and rescues from all around the world also used the day to raise awareness of the most common road accident victims in their country, and inform people of how they can help, from squirrels in the channel islands, to dogs in Belarus. If by us sending you this email, and you taking time to commemorate the day is some way, saves just 1 animal somewhere around the globe, surely it’s all worthwhile.
We have attached a few images. Please feel free to use these on social media, or of course any link in this email you see fit to mark the day.
More detail of what people can do to help both domestic pets and wildlife, as well as current laws and what different groups around the world are doing to lower animal road causalities, can be found here.
Thanks in advance,
Tiya, Mandy & Carlie