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Melton Mowbray teams up with Mars to create pet friendly town

Melton Mowbray is bidding to become the UK’s number one pet friendly town. It aims to transform the lives of its residents through a variety of projects that bring pets and people together.

Melton Mowbray is planning the activity in response to a newly published report revealing that pets bring a range of economic, health and social benefits. In becoming more pet-friendly, they aim to improve the wellbeing of its residents – both human and animal.

Melton Borough Council is working with local business Mars Petcare to unveil a range of pet-friendly initiatives that will focus on encouraging pet friendly tourism, improving the mental and physical health of the town through pets. They hope to show how pets can build stronger communities and help pet owners to care for their furry friends in the best way.

Mayor Councillor David Wright of Melton Borough Council said: “The residents of Melton are already fond of their pets but the news that they can help improve our health and the local economy means that becoming more pet friendly is an initiative we certainly endorse.

“The Council welcomes this opportunity to work with Mars Petcare – a business that has been at the heart of our community for more than 70 years – to become the number one pet friendly town in the UK.”

Damian Guha, managing director of Mars Petcare UK explained why the business is getting behind Melton Mowbray’s bid: “We’ve always known that pets make our lives better so we’re thrilled to be helping Melton Mowbray become a place where pets can thrive and making residents happier and healthier as a result.”

Melton Mowbray’s activities

  • The Melton PAW-Some Scheme – Helping owners find out which local businesses are pet-friendly – or ‘PAW-Some’. Successful businesses will receive an official PAW-print sticker and be added to a new guide that will help pet owners find pet-friendly businesses in the town.
  • Pets as Therapy – Bringing the benefits of pets to local residential care and nursing homes by taking Pets as Therapy volunteers and their pets to the residents.
  • Pet Ambassador Programme – Inspiring the next generation of responsible pet owners, the programme will reach every primary school in Melton Mowbray. Children will explore four learning zones including ‘Pets as Superheroes’ and ‘Poo Corner’, and learn all about how to keep their pets happy and healthy.
  • Melton Country Park – Melton Country Park is becoming even more pet friendly with the creation of new exciting activity trails for both pets and owners to enjoy and increase their physical activity.
  • The Melton Mowbray Pet School – Giving local pet owners expert advice on how to keep their pets happy and healthy through evening seminars.

Mars Petcare are setting out this year to raise awareness of the benefits pets bring to our lives. Damian Guha said: “We’ve been making pet food in Melton Mowbray since 1951 so we already feel part of the community. It makes sense to start here but we also want to raise awareness all over the country and encourage all businesses, schools, care homes and communities to think about how they can be more pet friendly.

“We’re talking to government representatives and NGOs about how to incorporate pets into policies. If we all work together, the economic, health and social benefits of pets could be felt all over the UK.”

Through its global scientific centre WALTHAM, a leading global authority on animal health and nutrition, Mars Petcare is an expert when it comes to the benefits of human-animal interaction and the science behind this.

Dr Sandra McCune, Scientific Leader for Human-Animal Interaction at the WALTHAM Centre said: “The day-to-day benefits that pets can bring to our lives are becoming more widely understood but there is work to be done to raise awareness of just how beneficial pets can be, particularly for older adults and for children.

“We hope that by combining our research at WALTHAM with amazing initiatives like this one by Mars Petcare and Melton Mowbray, we will encourage places like schools, workplaces and other public spaces to be more welcoming to pets – because of the proven impact they bring to these environments.”

A recent study[1] estimated that pet ownership in the UK reduces the use of the NHS to the value of £2.45 billion per year. On top of this, research has shown that pets benefit us in a variety of ways, from protecting us from illness to reducing loneliness.

 

Mars Petcare will ensure it promotes responsible pet ownership and interactions with pets by using its expertise from WALTHAM and working to help non-pet owners consider what owning a pet will involve and helping to educate pet owners to make it as easy as possible for them to look after their pets.

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