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"Animals are not gifts": on the eve of Christmas, Club 4 Paws calls to stop giving animals as presents in a new campaign

Shelters and social initiatives promote animal adoption. However, engaging in placement and addressing the root causes of homelessness is essential.

The festive season is another reason to remind people about the responsible treatment of animals and that giving an animal to someone likely not ready for it is a bad idea.

Therefore, on the eve of Christmas, Club 4 Paws has launched a pre-New Year campaign reminder that an animal is not just a gift, not only for Christmas but for any holiday.

Ukraine is currently among the top 10 countries facing the most acute problem of stray animals. 

The number of animals in Ukrainian shelters has increased from 20% to 100%, especially in the conflict zones, according to the data from the Save Pets of Ukraine organization. At the same time, 77% of Ukrainians consider the issue of stray animals to be the most significant problem in our society (Postmen research), and 40% are willing to adopt an animal from a shelter (MZ Hub research for Kormotech). Globally, according to the information from the FOUR PAWS Stray Animal Care Programme, there are over 600 million stray animals.

Shelters and social initiatives advocate for animal adoption. However, one of the significant problems they face is the return of animals. Even pedigreed cats and dogs purchased from breeders have a high chance of ending up in shelters or on the streets if their pet parents still need to appreciate the responsibility of companionship with the animal fully. Kormotech, in collaboration with LKP Lev, conducted research revealing that approximately 80% of stray animals are former pets. 
The problem intensifies during the Christmas and New Year holidays, as animals are often brought home as gifts. At some point, potential pet parents realize they are not ready for a four-pawed friend's responsibility and adaptation period, and the animal ends up back in a shelter or on the streets.

Festive dates are another reason to emphasize responsible animal upbringing and that giving an animal to someone likely unprepared for it is a bad idea.

The reason is that Club 4 Paws, a premium pet food brand from the Ukrainian cat and dog food manufacturer Kormotech, launched the Look 4 Paws responsible adoption project in May 2022. The initiative works specifically with shelters, helping place animals and increasing the number of responsible guardians by spreading valuable information.

On the eve of Christmas, Club 4 Paws launched a pre-New Year reminder campaign that an animal is not a gift for Christmas but any holiday.

Watch the video clip 

"Importantly, it's not just about adoption but also about addressing the root causes of homelessness. This is the focus of the national Club 4 Paws campaign: 'No holiday is a gift for an animal,'" says Club 4 Paws brand manager Halyna Tsegelyk. "By spreading information about this issue, we reduce the desire to give animals without careful consideration and encourage weighing all 'pros' and 'cons.'"

In November 2021, Ukraine implemented an animal welfare law prohibiting giving away pets as prizes, rewards, or incentives. However, giving animals as gifts during holidays, especially to children, is still widespread. Animal welfare experts emphasize that despite the undeniable positive effects of companionship with animals, the decision to become a pet parent must be responsible and thoughtful. It is necessary to consider one's and the animal's lifestyle, breed characteristics, and temperament, budget, anticipate the ability to feed and care for the animal and provide for its training and veterinary care. There is no room for impulsive and poorly thought-out decisions.

Collaborating on the campaign's creative concept were [isdgroup] and Panic Studio.

"At first glance, giving a kitten or a puppy may seem innocent and even touching, but not everyone receiving a pet as a gift is ready for the responsibility. As a result, this increases the likelihood of animals ending up on the streets or in shelters," says Serhiy Pronkin, head of projects at the creative agency [isdgroup].

Over the 20 years, Kormotech has implemented over ten social projects, from humane education for schoolchildren to the rescue of animals affected by war. The company's social mission is to change attitudes toward animals throughout Eastern Europe, viewing them not as property but as companions and family members. 85% of Kormotech employees are pet parents, owning either a cat, a dog, or both.

Support the idea of responsible pet ownership!

Learn more about the event on the official Club 4 Paws channels: