Pedigree® & Whiskas® join battle against overcrowded animal shelters

With their ´Animals For Animals´ campaign, Pedigree® & Whiskas® wish to promote animal welfare together with ambassadors Geena Lisa & Julie Taton through sensitizing & collecting meals.

Brussels, 5 June 2014 – The number of pets that are simply dumped at the start of the summer period is huge, and those figures haven’t been falling in recent years. As leading brands in the pet food segment, Pedigree® and Whiskas® place great importance on animal welfare. With their joint ´Animals For Animals´ campaign they are striving, together with ambassadors Geena Lisa & Julie Taton, to prevent neglect by raising awareness and encouraging people to adopt shelter animals.
At the same time, they hope to collect 400,000 meals for shelter animals of the Blue Cross. ´Animals For Animals´ begins on June 16th and will run for three weeks in supermarkets everywhere.

32,000 dogs and cats abandoned between May and September

Around 24,000 dogs and 31,000 cats were abandoned in 2012[1]. Of these 55,000 dogs and cats, 32,000 were abandoned during the peak period between May and September. In reality, however, the figures are substantially higher, since the FPS Environment study covers only 79 of the 140 recognised animal shelters. The Blue Cross, which with three shelters in three different provinces constitutes a good barometer for the national average, notes no improvement in its own figures for 2013, and thus is looking forward to the coming summer holiday period with a certain trepidation.

Three-quarters of shelter animals dumped on the street

Guy Adant, chairman of the Blue Cross, explains:

“We see a significant increase in the number of neglected or abandoned animals as soon as the summer period begins. These days people are leaving on holiday over a more spread-out period, and we see an increase in the number of abandoned animals in May already. So over the 5 months until September we see half the total number of dogs on an annual basis. For cats this figure even amounts to two-thirds (!) of the annual total. A harrowing fact, especially when you realise that three-quarters of these abandoned animals aren´t even actually placed in the shelter, but rather simply found along the public roads.”

Animals For Animals 2014: from 150,000 to 400,000 free meals

On the basis of their philosophy “pets make our world better, so let´s make the world better for pets”, Pedigree® and Whiskas® have been devoting themselves to animal welfare for years now. For example, this year is the eighth time that the brands are organising their ´Animals for Animals´ collection campaign, where for every purchase amount of €10 they will contribute one meal to shelter animals. What began in 2007 with 150,000 donated meals had already evolved in 2013 to 350,000. This year they hope to make that over 400,000 meals.

Kathy Heungens, Corporate Affairs Director at Mars Belgium:

“We’re concerned by the fact that the statistics on abandoned animals aren´t falling. This means that we have to do more to make people aware of the problem and get them to understand that holiday arrangements for a pet don’t necessarily have to be expensive or time-consuming. We also hope to get people interested in adopting a shelter animal, because that too is part of our philosophy of creating a better world for pets.”

Geena Lisa & Julie Taton want a worry-free summer too

In their quest to dramatically reduce the number of abandoned pets, Pedigree® and Whiskas® have found a fervent ally in animal lovers Julie Taton & Geena Lisa. Geena is even the proud owner of no fewer than seven dogs:

“Honestly, I was shocked when I learned about these figures. I’d always just assumed that everyone who keeps a pet at home is also truly committed to treating their animal as well as possible - even when they go away on holiday! I have 7 dogs, and if I can manage to arrange proper care for them, then anyone can do it! Moreover, I hope that the animals which nevertheless do end up in a shelter, or those who are already there, will find a new home quickly. No living creature can be happy looking out through the bars of a cage all the time, can they?”

Tips for easy holiday arrangements

Pedigree® & Whiskas® have assembled a wealth of tips for holiday arrangements in the digital brochure ´a worry-free summer´. People who wish to take their pet along on their trip learn about the preparations they should make before leaving, how they can ensure that the trip goes smoothly and what can be done on site once they’ve arrived at their destination. People who prefer to take their holidays without their animal will find tips on how to make the life of their pet as pleasant as possible during their absence. The folder can be downloaded at &, where one can also click through to the Blue Cross website.

[1] Study of the FPS Public Health & Environment - Number of animals received in shelters in 2012



About the Belgian pet food market
Pets are important for Belgian families: more than 1 out of every 2 households in Belgium includes a dog or a cat - 24% of the families have a dog, 32% of the families have a cat, and 13% have both. The number of dogs and cats in Belgium is estimated at 1.3 million dogs and 2 million cats*. The food for dogs and cats that is sold in Belgian supermarkets represents an amount of €306 million** (of which dog food represents €113M and cat food €193M). 62.5%*** of Belgian families with a dog and/or a cat use a product from Mars Belgium at least once a year. Private label represents 39% of the sales of food for dogs and cats in Belgian supermarkets.  
*source: TNS 2010, FPS
** Nielsen, December 2013
*** GFK, Household Penetration, Q4 2013

About Mars Petcare, Whiskas & Pedigree
With a market share of 37%, Mars Belgium Petcare is the leader* in pet food sold in Belgian supermarkets, with such familiar brands as Whiskas®, Sheba®, Catisfactions® , Perfect Fit® and Catsan® for cats and Pedigree®, Cesar® and Frolic® for dogs. The knowledge that lies at the basis of these quality products is developed in the “Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition”. Whiskas® was launched in Belgium in 1967 and 55% of Belgian cat owners use a Whiskas® product at least once a year*. Pedigree® was launched in 1973 as Pal® and 45% of Belgian dog owners use a Pedigree product at least once a year*
* GFK, Household Penetration, Q4 2013

About Mars Belgium
Mars Belgium is part of Mars Inc, one of the world’s fastest-growing food companies. Worldwide Mars Inc has 72,000 employees in 73 countries, spread over 5 continents. Mars Belgium is active in three market segments, including chocolate products such as M&M´s®, Snickers®, Twix®, Mars®, Balisto® & Bounty®; Uncle Ben´s® rice; and the dog foods Pedigree®, Cesar® & Frolic® and cat foods Whiskas®, Sheba® & Perfect Fit®. Mars Belgium has 277 employees and in 2013 achieved an annual turnover of €285 million euros. Mars has two sites in Belgium: the headquarters in Sint-Stevens-Woluwe, which is also home base for the three international hubs where an additional 74 people are employed, and the production site for Uncle Ben´s® rice in Olen.


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Kathy Heungens

Corporate Affairs Director, Mars

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