What do animals charities do?
Animal charities come in a variety of species - some are large & international (e.g. the WWF) while others are very much your local charity set up by someone who simply cares about animals & wants to help them. Use the term "animal charities" fairly loosely - as well as animal rescue, they also cover things such as conservation, wildlife protection etc.
Many will be involved in animal welfare - the RSPCA in England and Wales for instance - while others have a different reason for being.
Animal charities may have a number of roles - here are a few examples:
One species focus
Some organisations or charities represent & campaign for a particular group of animals & their interests, such as Compassion for World Farming for pigs, sheep, goats, horses, or the Marine Conservation Society for sealife, or World Horse Welfare for horses. Charities may unite to tackle various issues, such as those involved in ENCAP (the welfare and protection of wild animals in captivity). Another example is the RSPB which works with Birdlife International in Indonesia to protect rainforest (where millions of birds live, not to mention the orangutan & Sumatran tiger). Birdlife International which consists of 117 conservation organisations
Habitat Conservation charities
If we want to look after animals at all, we need to leave them plenty of space in which to live. Conservation organisations such as Fauna and Flora, the World Land Trust, the Woodland Trust, the National Trust, the RSPB and the Marine Conservation Society all have a key role to play in wildlife conservation. But so do you and I, and we'll have lots of ways in future in which we can make a difference.
These charities may provide emergency rescue care for any pets or wildlife (they may deal with pets or wildlife or both), such as the Wildlife Rescue & Ambulance Service in Sussex, or Noah's Wish in the US
Providing very specialist support to animals charities
An excellent example is Snip International which promotes neutering programmes aimed at stray and feral animals, mostly cats. Over 15 years it has donated specialist catching, trapping and holding equipment to animal welfare groups in almost 60 countries. They may look to fulflil a particular project, such as getting fencing put up in Africa (that's Rhino Ark) to protect the animals inside it.
Animal rescue & re-home
Charities solving problems
Some charities focus on a particular issue or a range of particular issues e.g. the Cinnamon Trust who help uphold the unique bond between animals & the elderly by providing pet care to the elderly & finding home which will take the elderly & their pets.
The Animal Human Bond
In the UK, the Society for Companion Animals Studies supports and promotes the health and social benefits of interactions between people and companion animals. In the US, Pet Partners (previously known as the Delta Society) helps people live healthier and happier lives by incorporating therapy, service and companion animals into their lives. Other examples are the Assistance Dog charities, all of whom come under the umbrella of Assistance Dogs UK. Assitance Dogs International has regional chapters. We are putting a section together on these.
There are many opportunities to get involved, either by working for animals charities in paid employment or by volunteering for animals charities, on a regular basis or now and again. Thanks to the internet with social networking, you can help animals while online in a cafe in Swindon UK right over the other side of the world.