Donations of pet food continue to pour in for animals injured and displaced by the catastrophic Australian bushfires. As of this writing, approximately 150 fires continue to burn across Australia’s most populated areas, Victoria and New South Wales (NSW), keeping nearby animal shelters busy accepting affected animals and donations of pet food and supplies as well.
Mars Petcare Australia is pledging over AU$1 million (US$686,221) worth of donations to aid communities and wildlife affected by the current bushfire crisis in the country. With its head office in Wodonga, a city on the Victorian side of the border with NSW, the company said it is acutely aware of the devastation the fires have brought upon its partners, suppliers, customers, communities and associates.
“We are devastated by the destruction of the local environment and wildlife we hold so dear, and our hearts go out to all those affected,” the company said in its Facebook announcement of the pledge.
Mars Australia, in conjunction with the Mars Wrigley Foundation, will also be providing over AU$130,000 (US$89,209) in funding to support impacted Australian communities and wildlife conservation efforts through the Australian Red Cross and WIRES (Wildlife Emergency Fund). In addition, Mars associates have been busy donating over AUS$900,000 (US$617,599) worth of products through Foodbank, Foodshare and other local charities, including food, gum, mints, confectionery, water and pet food.
“As we've always done, we’re also continuing to provide paid leave to all Mars Petcare associates serving as volunteer firefighters. We continue to be thankful for the tireless efforts of volunteers, rescue organizations and emergency services and will provide ongoing donations in the coming months so that communities receive the long-term support needed as they rebuild,” Mars said.
Pet food banks like Pets of the Homeless Australia are also fully participating in the relief efforts. The first pet food bank in Victoria, the two-month-old volunteer-led charity said they are quietly working behind the scenes to help those affected by the fires in cooperation with the Community Fire Authority.
Meanwhile, Foodbank Australia included pet food among the essential non-perishable food and grocery items such as bottled water and tinned food that are in high demand at its warehouses across Australia.
The Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) in NSW is also experiencing a deluge of donations for pets and wildlife. In one of its recent Facebook posts, the group said they have been “so overwhelmed by donations of goods and supplies that we aren’t able to accept anymore at this time. We appreciate everything we have received so far and will let everyone know via our social media pages should we need any further items.”
RSPCA Australia estimates that 62% of Australian households own pets, and the total pet population is about 24 million, with dogs (4.8 million) the most common pet (20 dogs for every 100 people).
The unprecedented Australian bushfires have so far claimed the lives of 26 people and half a billion animals. Over 2,000 homes and about 25.5 million hectares of land, parks and forests have been destroyed since September 2019. It is a catastrophe bigger than the recent fires that devastated the Amazon Rainforest and huge parts of California last year. Authorities say it will take several more months before the Australian bushfire season is over.
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