The public are being urged to bin their rubbish rather than dump it, in a new campaign to protect animals.

The public are being urged to bin their rubbish rather than dump it, in a new campaign to protect animals.

cow in washing machineWith litter responsible for the injury and death of thousands of animals each year, the RSPCA is supporting a campaign by Clean Up Britain Campaign urging people to bin unwanted wrappers, cans and other rubbish.
Annually, the RSPCA alone receives more than 7,000 calls about wildlife, farm animals and pets that have been hurt, trapped or killed by carelessly dumped rubbish.

Many pet and farm owners go directly to vets, and many injured wild animals are never found, so it is thought this figure is just the tip of the iceberg.
A cow with its head stuck in a washing machine, a fox cub trapped in a hubcap and a seal entangled in a net are just some of the preventable incidents the RSPCA has dealt with.

Elastic bands can get caught around animals’ necks and birds’ beaks or be swallowed; fishing hooks and broken glass can pierce and tear skin; and plastic bags can suffocate animals that crawl into them and choke those that eat them.

Helen Ball, sustainability and social responsibility manager for the RSPCA, said: “What makes this issue so frustrating is that it is so avoidable.
“Animals are dying or being really badly hurt, just because people prefer to hurl things out of their car window or drop them on the ground rather than wait until they get to a bin.
“A simple tin can or elastic band can be a death trap when left in the street or in the countryside, where many people walk their dogs and wildlife lives. Yet so much trash is left lying around due to pure thoughtlessness.
“The message here really is stark but simple – litter is lethal. All it takes is for people to throw rubbish away properly for such needless destruction to stop.”
Here are some top tips for simple ways to help:

  • Balloons – Once balloons burst, animals can mistake them for food and can choke. Avoid balloon releases, as the balloons can land anywhere, and cut used balloons into pieces before binning them.
  • Glass – Bottles and jars break easily, leaving sharp edges. Recycle at a bottle bank.
  • Plastic bags – Animals can climb inside and suffocate or eat them and choke. Tie a knot in all bags before disposing of them, or recycle or reuse.
  • Fishing tackle – Line can get caught around legs, wings, necks and beaks, and hooks can pierce skin and muscle or be swallowed causing internal injuries. Take unwanted line home and cut into small pieces before putting it in the bin. Wrap hooks in newspaper before binning.
  • Small containers and cans – Attracted by leftovers, animals will forage inside and get their heads trapped. Larger animals may get their tongues caught or damaged by sharp edges. Cats often rummage in rubbish bins. Remove lids and cut in half or squash canse. Recycle where possible.
  • Plastic can holders – Animals can get entangled, causing deep sores and wounds. Always cut the loops before putting them in a bin.
  • Elastic bands – Can get caught around the necks of small animals and beaks of birds. They can be swallowed and cause an animal to choke. Whenever possible, reuse bands and cut them open before putting in the bin.

For more about Clean Up Britain Campaign, click here.

Photo: RSPCA

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