Animal rescue charity Battersea has overhauled the search function on its website to encourage more people to put ‘personality before breed’. The charity has launched a new campaign called Rescue is Our Favourite Breed, which aims to encourage those looking for a new pet to consider a rescue dog or cat and not search for a specific breed. To support the campaign it has removed the search by breed filters on its website. The move has been made after tests showed that when online visiters were not given an animal breed search option they then viewed more animal profiles. In addition, a higher percentage of them then went on to apply to rehome a dog or cat. The campaign is also being promoted on social media using #RescueIsMyFavouriteBreed, which aims to encourage people to visit the charity’s website. It is also using short videos on social media to promote the campaign.
According to the charity almost all (92%) of people think that owning a rescue pet is the right thing to do when looking for a new dog or cat. But the public is becoming too focused on breed. For example, there have been an average of 165,000 monthly searches online for ‘French bulldogs’, says the charity.
“Even though one in four dogs and cats are rescue, you’re still more likely to hear about French bulldogs, or labradors being the nation’s favourite pets,” said Claire Horton, Battersea’s Chief Executive. “Our preoccupation with breed is fuelling a ruthless pet trade based on looks alone – one that can sadly put profit before animal welfare.” “Battersea is setting out to increase the visibility of rescue animals, to show they’re more common than you think, and are in homes across the nation. They’re the most rewarding, responsible choice for a pet, and we’re hoping to bring them front of mind – to get all generations of animal lovers to think rescue first.”