Danaher Animal Home, near Wethersfield, is playing a key role in a nationwide project to help children in care learn about animal welfare.
The centre’s first Animal Action Day, held on October 29, is part of the RSPCA’s Generation Kind programme.
Danaher’s chief executive officer, Deborah Satchell, said: “We were thrilled to take part as we believe the education of future generations is the best way forward in helping to improve kindness to animals.
“This is a really important initiative and it gave our young visitors the opportunity to learn about animal behaviour, to realise that animals have feelings too, and to understand what they need to feel happy and healthy.”
During the event the six children, who were all accompanied by carers, spent time making up enrichment toys for small animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs; visited the cattery and kennels; and enjoyed a tour of the educational facilities. It was also an opportunity for them to hear stories about some of the animals brought into Danaher, to listen to the experiences of the animal care staff and to hear from an RSPCA inspector.
It is hoped that further similar events will be held at Danaher in the future.
Hannah Mehta, the RSPCA’s Regional Prevention and Education Adviser (South-East), who attended the event, said: “The Danaher team was keen to become involved in Generation Kind and we were very grateful for their enthusiasm and support in helping children in care in learning about animal welfare.
“The Animal Action days are part of an ongoing project with the overall objective of creating a world that’s kinder to animals. Being able to interact with animals, especially pets, can represent a powerful opportunity to promote self-esteem, encourage the development of empathetic concerns and positive social interaction.”
Originally set up as part of a two-year pilot programme funded by the National Lottery, the Animal Action Days were so successful that they are now funded by the RSPCA Generation Kind budget.
Although Danaher, which helps over 700 animals a year, is affiliated to the RSPCA, it is completely self-funding and relies entirely on donations and fundraising to cover its annual operating costs of around £800,000.
For information on Generation Kind, visit https://www.rspca.org.uk/whatwedo/education
Photo shows Hannah Mehta (left) and Deborah Satchell promoting the five welfare needs of animals as part of the Generation Kind programme.