Dr Chris Brown calls for pet owner tax credit to stimulate furtherbenefits

To help relieve the pain of ballooning healthcare budgets, well knownveterinarian Dr Chris Brown is prescribing pets to Federal and Stategovernments.

On the back of new data1 released today showing that pet owners deliver amassive $2 billion in public healthcare savings across Australia, Dr ChrisBrown is encouraging policymakers to consider tax rebates or offsets thatencourage pet ownership to stimulate further savings.

While the individual health benefits of owning a pet are widely known, TheHealthcare Economics of Pets1 report determined that every pet owner saves thehealth system $700 per year1 in reducing the number of doctor visits andassociated health costs, such as fewer specialist appointments and hospitalvisits.

“This research is a wakeup call for policy makers to acknowledge the broaderbenefits of pet ownership, which even extend to the public purse. If ourgovernments can recognise pet owners for making smart choices for their healththrough incentives like a tax rebate or offset, the return on investment couldbe huge,” said Dr Chris Brown.

The calculations are based on previous studies by academics at the Universityof Melbourne that showed pet owners visit the doctors 11% less than non-petowners2.

The economic projections indicate that if pet populations increased by 10% ayear the public health system could stand to save over $200 million annually.

“This report shows that keeping Australia pet friendly is an issue of nationalimportance. I hope the government can see the value in spending a little, tosave a lot,” said Dr Chris Brown.

The Healthcare Economics of Pets was commissioned by Mars Petcare as part ofthe Keep Australia Pet Friendly campaign which Ambassador Dr Chris Brown hasbeen championing since 2015. Dr Chris Brown has been working to highlight themany benefits of pet ownership with stakeholders, pet owners and policy makersto stress the need to build a more pet friendly nation into the future,focusing on accommodation, open spaces and transport as priorities.

John Bishop, Co-Founder and Joint CEO of national animal welfare charityPetRescue, has voiced his support for the proposal.

“We really need policies like this to encourage more Australians to discoverthe benefits, and the joy, of pet adoption. The fact that pet ownership alsohas such a huge positive impact on our economy, it makes me wonder why thishasn’t been implemented sooner. It’s a win-win for both humans and the manythousands of pets looking for a new home,” said Mr Bishop.

Supporters can follow Keep Australia Pet Friendly on Facebook, Twitter andInstagram using the hashtag #KeepAusPetFriendly. To find out more visitwww.petpositives.com.au.

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