Prevention - the most important word in our name

As part of the Society's 2017-2021 strategy, the RSPCA wish to engage with younger people to understand and benchmark key attitudes and knowledge about the RSPCA and animal welfare.

In order to help us achieve this, we conducted a survey of 1,500 10-18-year-olds asking them questions on their experiences with animal cruelty and how they view animals in regards to their needs and emotions.

One thing that we found was that unfortunately, just under half say they have witnessed some form of animal cruelty. Most of the cruelty witnessed has been local and tends to involve dogs.

One child said when asked if they'd witnessed animal cruelty

Dog being left out chained with no water I reported to the RSPCA and they took the dog from the owner after no change was found with the help of the police.

The majority surveyed are worried about the amount of animal cruelty they have seen on social media. 21% of people questioned mentioned social media being somewhere that they've witnessed animal cruelty. The two main channels mentioned were Facebook and YouTube. The survey suggests that pets much more likely to be seen via YouTube and Facebook whereas wildlife is mentioned through Instagram and Snapchat. There's evidence that 10-12-year-olds are more active on Snapchat and WhatsApp.

Boy outside with his greyhound ©RSPCA


One of our main objectives is to increase the understanding of the five animal welfare needs among the general public and children. From this sample, 60% gave 5 needs of which 72% got 2 correct, but less than 1% got all 5 right!

Most answers related to tangible examples of needs such as food and shelter and fewer answers were focused on emotions. 45% of people questioned didn't know what sentience in animals meant.


Encouraging children to embrace the animal world in a positive way builds stronger communities and a kinder world. Preventing animal cruelty, understanding what animals need to enjoy life and teaching animal empathy forms an integral part of the RSPCA's five-year strategy.


Generation Kind is a set of ambitious, innovative projects that aim to nurture and encourage the values of kindness and compassion towards all animals within children and young people of today. In this way, we can create a future society that is truly kind to animals.

With your help, we can promote kindness towards all animals to the next generation.