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October 15, 2021 2 min read

Photo by Thomas Park on Unsplash

For many people, the idea of animal rescue is a romantic one. They envision themselves saving abandoned animals from dire circumstances and giving them the best life possible.

Most people don’t know that there are many misconceptions about what it means to be an Australian animal rescuer. Here are five common myths about this noble profession

1. Small and medium animal rescue workers are often paid

Not true.

In most cases, they are volunteers and work a 9–5 (or shift work) job on top of their rescue volunteering.

They are volunteers because of their love and passion for the animals. They see an absolute necessity to care for them, and they will do anything to save even more lives.

And the idea of taking a wage is the last thing they consider possible, as much as they would love to because that’s money taken away from the animals they are saving.

2. Farm animal rescue? What’s that?

Again, not true. These organisations are few and far between, but they do still exist and need as much love and support as any of the other many animal rescue organisations out there. They save a lot of lives too! Often farm animals are neglected just like pet animals, so there must be people looking out for them.

Parts of the farm industry can also lead to lots of orphans out there. So rather than having them euthanised, many farmers will call their local small farm animal rescue to take on those orphans and save their lives.

3. Animal rescues are set up by philanthropists with lots of free time and money

Wrong, if you haven’t worked this one out already.

Usually, one or two people set up an animal rescue with their own money off their backs.

And through the whole ordeal, they work a full-time job each, maybe have families and other responsibilities too.

They don’t receive government funding — much. If they do, they are trying to find the time to make applications for government grants for their rescue. Or private grants. Against the other hundreds of rescues, charities or non-profits who compete against them for that particular grant.

4. A small or medium animal rescue serves the same purpose in the community as the RSPCA

Wrong. Small and medium animal rescues, for a start, have a vastly different financial makeup.

The RSPCA serves an essential purpose in Australia — they investigate animal welfare offences and run a lot of shelters where animals are kept and advertised for rehoming.

The RSPCA works with some smaller rescues, asking them to take animals that the RSPCA can’t keep because of overcrowding. Without these small rescues, who still have to pay fees to the RSPCA to ‘adopt’ that animal, that animal might be put down.

In Summary

The public often misunderstands Australian animal rescues.

Misconceptions about their financial status, purpose in the community and how they operate are common.

But we can clear these misconceptions up just by encouraging a little research on your part and everyone you know. That way, everyone can understand what it means to volunteer for an Australian animal rescue organisation.

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