Victoria announces first pet census for data on health, costs and social benefits

The Victorian government has announced the state’s first pet census to gather crucial information about owners and their furry, feathered and scaly friends.

Local governments collect and store most information about pet ownership and registration, so there is a lack of up-to-date data that is reliable and statewide.

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The $610,000 census, to go ahead online next year, will ask questions about the pet owners and their animals, as well as pet health, how much it costs to take care of a pet, and the social and wellbeing impacts of pet ownership.

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“We are delivering the state’s first ever pet census to better understand the important role pets play in the lives of Victorians,” said the agriculture minister, Mary-Anne Thomas. “The pet census will help us ensure we’re best supporting our furry friends and their owners with the services they need.”More Victorians are welcoming pets into their homes than ever, and pet ownership rates nationwide have increased by about 8% in the past two years, to 69%.RSPCA Victoria’s chief executive, Dr Liz Walker, backed the census, which comes after the state government announced $18.6m to support animal care and protection in the budget this month.

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“Pets matter to people, so we support the implementation of a pet census knowing it will provide vital data to support targeted initiatives that will help Victorians better care for their pets,” Walker said.