Today, LetterOne is excited to announce it has published the latest journal in its Global Perspectives series – ‘The Pet Factor’ – which examines the economic and health benefits associated with pet ownership.
The Pet Factor has collated the perspectives of leading academics, scientists, economists and animal experts on the subject of pet ownership and the positive impact pets can have on individuals, society and the economy. It also specifically aims to unpack how our relationships with our animals have changed during the COVID-19 crisis, with our research showing that ownership is on the rise.
This journal also includes an extensive meta-analysis project, taking into account a multitude of global data sources and existing work, that provides insight into the worth of pet ownership to economies and savings to healthcare infrastructures. Using 139 data sets, the analysis found that, for example, pet owners are typically 60% more physically active than non-pet owners.
The journal also takes a look at some of the less easily measured benefits of the bond we have with animals. It considers how a dog can make people feel less lonely or isolated; it hears how soldiers in the British Army develop long-lasting emotional bonds with the horses in their care; and explores the intense and often complex bond between pets and those experiencing homelessness through a contribution from veterinary charity, StreetVet.
The journal coincides with the release of a new survey by Ipsos MORI carried out on behalf of LetterOne. The research shows that Britain is more besotted with pets than ever. The headlines include:
- A staggering 41% of current pet owners got a new pet during lockdown, of which 95% were existing pet owners who got another animal and 5% did not previously own a pet before the lockdown.
- Overall, 80% of those polled with dogs in their household agree that their dog keeps them physically active. Around 4 in 10 dog owners agree that as lockdown restrictions are lifted, they will take their dogs for more frequent and longer walks.
- As a consequence of lockdown, 37% of pet owners who have worked from home say they now have a closer relationship with their pets than before, with 87% seeing their dog as a companion.
- Among pet owners who expect spending on their pets to change as a result of lockdown restrictions being lifted, the majority anticipate spending more. 30% of dog owners say they would spend more money on dog walking services in the near future.
The journal is part of a wider movement championed by LetterOne to move beyond the reductionist account of economic value that exists presently. At LetterOne, we believe that society’s progress is best understood when all forms of wealth are considered, fully accounting for natural, social and human capital alongside our financial assets.
Rethinking how economies work has never felt more pertinent as the world looks to rebuild following the pandemic. As this journal shows, our pets may have an important role to play in healing society by contributing a lot more to the health of our nations than many might expect. Whatever the scale of their impact, it is vital that countries account for the power of pets in a post pandemic world.